When it comes to betting on a big fight with a short-priced favourite, there is a maxim that usually holds true: the underdog takes the most frequent number of wagers, but the favourite takes the big bets. This seems to be true for Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20KO’s) vs Joseph Parker (24-0, 18KO’s), with the former reported to have taken a huge number of bets since the fight was announced.
The odds, however, do not make good reading for the Parker team. Joshua is available at odds of 1/8 with William Hill, but as short as 1/25 currently with Betfair. Parker is priced at 13/2 to win the fight. While that may not seem like a huge disparity, it certainly suggests the New Zealander has a bit of a mountain to climb.
Heavy betting expected on both Joshua and Parker
Of course, those odds are just for the winner of the fight and you may find much more value in any number of the large number of markets available. Everything from round betting to knockdown specials are available for the fight on 31st March. Freebets.co.uk Joshua v Parker betting tips page gives a thorough breakdown and expert analysis on those fight betting markets, not to mention links to some excellent betting offers for the fight.
So, to what extent have the bookmakers called it correctly? Does Parker have a chance of taking the IBF, IBO and WBA (Super) heavyweight titles from Joshua? Certainly, odds of 1/25 seem a little miserly for the Joshua win. The Watford-born fighter has had an excellent professional career so far and it is hard to believe that he is still just 28-years-old. Backers will point to his 100% knockout record as evidence that the former Olympic Gold Medallist is the real deal.
Takam and Klitschko showed some of Joshua’s weaknesses
However, one can see chinks in the Joshua armour. His most recent fight, against Carlos Takam, was stopped in the 10th when many thought that it could have went on. The referee was loudly booed by fans at the Principality Stadium, who felt that Takam had plenty left in reserve. In the Klitschko fight, which Joshua won by TKO in the 11th, the Ukranian knocked down Joshua twice in the 6th. One the three judges had Klitschko marked 95-93 at the time of the stoppage. Incidentally, Ladbrokes offer 6/1 for Joshua to be knocked down against Parker and still win the fight.
Parker too has had his fair share of ‘screwy’ finishes, with his fights against Andy Ruiz (in which he won the WBO heavyweight title) and Hughie Fury both ending in scoring controversies. But he has many redeeming qualities in the ring, including enough hand speed to cause Joshua some serious problems. Good footwork and stamina are two other qualities possessed by the Kiwi.
Media may be guilty of underestimating Parker
The British media have framed the fight as a stepping stone in Joshua’s quest to unify all the belts in the division, with the fifth title (WBC) held by Deontay Wilder (who fights Luis Ortiz on 3rd March). The problem is that they may have undersold the role played by Parker in this storyline. Joshua could, and perhaps should, win easily. However, Parker could spoil the party and ruin the fairy-tale. We have seen that plenty of times in the past.