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Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev Preview

Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) vs. Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) Preview and Pick to Win
When: Saturday, October 28. 2017
Where: Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
TV: Showtime
Weight Class: Heavyweight
by Scott of Predictem.com

Betting Odds: Anthony Joshua (-3000), Kubrat Pulev (+1500)

Fight Analysis:

From the cavernous Principality Stadium in Cardiff Wales, IBF and WBA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua defends his belts against once-beaten contender Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria. The 80,000 person audience will be one of the bigger ones seen in a modern heavyweight title match. Joshua, 27, a former Olympic gold medalist, is 19-0 in his pro career with all of his wins coming by stoppage. Pulev really has his hands full and he was a massive disappointment in his only other title-challenge against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. In his last fight, Joshua was able to rise from the canvas and battle back from what looked like certain defeat when be stopped Klitschko in round 11 to score his biggest ever win as a pro.

In a lot of ways, one needs to be really nit-picky to call out anything about Anthony Joshua. And when being critical, it should be done in the spirit of acknowledging his accomplishments. It's not easy to win Olympic gold and knock out every pro opponent, especially as he has risen up in class over the last few years. But he's a 30-to-1 favorite for crying out loud. Those are numbers we saw on Mike Tyson in his prime. And at the end of the day, Joshua has shown himself to be something less than that. He's a very good fighter and could end up being the champion for a long time. But what is it about him other than hype and speculation that would warrant him being such a gargantuan favorite over a quality heavyweight like Pulev?

Joshua definitely has the look, a well put-together 6'6" with a body sculpted from granite. Fighters often react like they've been shot when he connects with that howitzer of a right hand. Against Klitschko, he showed he is more than a frontrunner and that he can overcome adversity and that counts for a whole lot. In his first real crisis moment as a pro against a longtime ex-champ, he weathered the storm, took time to re-compose himself, and then sprung the late-rounds TKO. That shows progress and growth, to go along with his other assets. He's a real handful—don't get us wrong.

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But when we lay -3000 on a fighter, we're looking for the total package. Those are the only fighters who deserve such a quote when facing legit contenders like Pulev, who does in fact have skills. If we're just yapping about boxing, it might ring as being overly-critical to carry on about Joshua's shortcomings, But as a 30-to-1 favorite? It's only fair.

Joshua can be ragged at times. He is a bulky guy and not all that quick. He is very available to hit and as Klitschko showed, he can be hurt. He doesn't move his upper-body that well, with his head somewhat available. He's a little bit stiff. Though a champion, he has never been afforded the chance to get real pro seasoning, somewhat imprisoned by his championship-status when ideally, he should be taking on more fights and developing his chops. The bottom-line is that he has beaten a small handful of good fighters, while emerging victorious in a two-way battle against a 40-year old ex-champ in his first real test where he barely avoided a KO defeat. Again, this is in he context of being a 30-to-1 favorite.

At 36, Pulev is running out of chances. He has nice size at 6'4" and works behind en educated jab. He has some good amateur credentials and has beaten some decent contenders in his career. But he has never really been able to turn the corner in his career, despite abundant skills. He moves well and conveys good ring generalship. He also has an air of toughness about him, just looking like a guy who knows how to handle himself. Other than Klitschko, he probably commands more respect of any of Joshua's previous opponents.

At the same time, anyone who saw Pulev get destroyed by Klitschko in '14 will be hesitant to take a stand on him in this fight. The one-sidedness of the fight and the utter lack of success for Pulev in his title challenge made people wonder why there were so many voices fancying him against Klitschko in the first place. He seemed to melt under the pressure and froze in a lot of ways. And when about to fight a guy with a 100% KO ratio in a giant soccer stadium, it's fair to wonder about the lack of poise he showed in his first title try several years ago.

Still, Pulev is a capable guy who deserves more respect than the odds suggest. If asked to pick a winner, the nod obviously goes to Joshua. But again, at 30-to-1, those odds shouldn't be laid on anything but the most invulnerable fighters who are leaps beyond their underdog opponent. To like Pulev at +1500, and for it to have good value, you merely need to project that he would do better than win once for every 16 times they fought. And we do think that. We're taking Pulev on a high-value angle.

My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I'm betting on Kubrat Pulev at +1500. His actual chances of winning might not be that great, but they seem to surpass the quote being offered here. Joshua's immense punching power could very well end up being the deciding factor, but for a +1500 underdog, a reasonably-good path to victory is viable for Pulev if he has a good night and takes advantage of a champion who has far too many weaknesses for a +3000 favorite. Bet your pick and all your sports bets at discounted odds at the web's best betting site: 5Dimes Sportsbook!

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