Undefeated Anthony Yarde (18-0 17KO) heads to Chelyabinsk, Russia, this weekend as he takes on WBO Light Heavyweight Champion, Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1 28KO).
The two fighters are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to age and experience and although Kovalev has been at the top of the sport for a long time now, it has been suggested that he is not quite the fighter he once was. For Anthony Yarde, this jump up in levels is huge, he has been impressive up to this point but his fights have been against opponents that are nowhere near the level of Sergey Kovalev. This whole dynamic of age and experience, makes the fight so intriguing for the fans.
From a betting perspective, this fight has been priced up with Kovalev as the expected favourite, generally around 8/15 and Anthony Yarde priced at 13/8. Yarde is certainly a lot shorter than people would have expected before the fight was made official and money has consistently come during for the Londoner, during fight week.
The price for Kovalev looks a generous one considering he is an established world class fighter and has shared the ring with some of the best names the sport has to offer and he is coming up here, against a man who has never fought for a world title or against anybody even remotely close to being considered a world class fighter, so with it being close in the market, there is definitely some value backing either fighter outright.
The interesting angle for us, is looking at the method of victory markets with Kovalev being priced at Evens to stop Yarde and it is easy to see why people would take a bite at this. Twenty-eight of Kovalev’s thirty-three victories have come inside the distance and a couple of years ago, he was considered by many, to be the hardest punching fighter in the world, pound-for-pound.
The power is still there, but what is often under appreciated is his general boxing ability and his jab, in particular. Yarde will have to show something very special to outbox his Russian counterpart and it would be fair to suggest, at this point, that Kovalev is not only vastly more experienced as a professional but also the more well-rounded fighter, technically, of the two.
If Kovalev was to stop Yarde, it would not come as a huge surprise to many people but with huge fights being touted for him should he come through this test, it could be a case of him getting the job done over the distance and minimising the risk, as Yarde’s best chance to win is by knockout, considering the fight is taking place in Russia.
For Yarde, this simply looks to good an opportunity to turn down and he will undoubtedly come out of this fight with a heightened reputation, win lose or draw. Kovalev has been hurt and stopped before, which will fill Anthony Yarde with confidence and he is young enough, fresh enough and good enough to give a very respectable account of himself on Saturday night but the jump in levels is so big that it would be one of the biggest shocks in the modern era, if he was to bring the WBO Light Heavyweight championship back to London.
Therefore, all things considered, the bet for us this week will be Kovalev to win on points @ 7/2 which looks a really fair price. Kovalev may not carry the feared reputation that he once did, but his experience at the top level and his boxing ability mean that he should beat Anthony Yarde over the 12-round distance.
SERGEY KOVALEV TO WIN ON POINTS @ 7/2