Boxing Betting Preview For April 3rd

It's been awhile since I've done a boxing card betting preview, and there's a pretty good card this weekend in the UAE. The nice thing about UAE cards is that there's no real risk of home-fighter bias on the part of the judges, a phenomenon that, in my unofficial observation, seems most pronounced in the UK and least pronounced in Russia (perhaps ironically, given how happily the Russians will dope to gain an advantage in other sports).

The action starts at 2 Eastern on ESPN+, and includes a world title fight as well as three minor title bouts.

All lines accurate as of Tuesday afternoon at

Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Heber Rondon (20-0, 13 KOs)

This is for the WBC International Super Welter Title. The term "international" means this is something of an auxiliary title (see my earlier reference to minor titles), because the boxing sanctioning bodies love to invent and give out new belts.

You may notice that Kulakhmet, who hails from Kazakhstan, only has two pro fights, so for him to already being fighting for even a minor title means that important people think he's really good.  

He did indeed win a bronze in the 2019 Boxing Championships, and for the most part, all medalists in World Championships and the Olympics are expected to be solid pros. He's also 27, somewhat old for a new pro, but the two guys he already beat had a combined record of 20-1-1.

Rondon's almost the opposite story. His 20-0 looks impressive of course, but all those fights took place in Venezuela, which is a scene probably not as high-quality as the amateur world scene Kulakhmet cut his teetch on. Last February, he beat a guy 14-0. Other than that, the opponents he has beaten have a combined record of 3-57-1.

In other words, this is a fight Kulakhmet is expected to win. He's still early enough in his pro career that he could end up being less than what is expected of him, but this fight is being set up for him to work his way up the super welterweight ladder, not for this to be some sort of intriguing, close fight.

All of that said, Kulakhmet is a -5910 favorite. You would have to bet $59.10 to win a single dollar on him.

Rondon is a +2490 underdog - bet a dollar on him, and win $24.90 if he wins.

Rondon therefore, is actually the play. I don't think he'll win, but I think he has about twice as much of a chance at winning than the roughly 4% chance +2490 implies. It's just Kulakhmet's third pro fight. He lost 17 times as an amateur. Strange things happen. I make these kind of small bets on heavy underdogs a lot in boxing, because you don't need them to come through that often for it to be profitable.

Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) vs. Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16 KOs)

Nietes, if you don't know, is a former four-division world champion whose loss came early in his career, well before he was a champion, so he's basically never lost a meaningful fight.

But he is 38, he hasn't fought in nearly three years, and in his penultimate fight, against Aston Palicte, he drew with a guy who has struggled mightily since.

That might open the door for Carrillo. Obviously, 7 losses is not great, but he's fought all over the world, beat some decent guys, and holds a minor title.  

Nonetheless, they aren't putting Nietes in there to lose, and I have him at about -1000. On, he is a -842 favorite; Carrillo is a +528 underdog. At those prices, that means I think Nietes is the better bet, but I'm not seeing much value here. Instead, I might parlay Nietes as part of a larger card, and/or wait until odds are released on an over/under number of rounds, as I strongly believe this fight is going to go the distance.

Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6 KOs) vs. Zhankosh Turarov (21-0, 14 KOs)

This is the most intriguing fight of the undercard. McKenna is coming off of a close loss to O'Hara Davies, but is ranked by BoxRec as the 19th best super lightweight in the world. Turarov is unranked, having been out of action for over a year, which is a BoxRec mandate to be ranked.
Sometimes, as in the case of Rondon above, it is easy to spot an inflated record, but with guys like Turarov, it's hard to tell. On one hand, McKenna is far, far, far and away the best boxer Turarov has ever faced going by rankings. On the other hand, Turarov has won in five countries on four continents, and the bookmakers LOOOOOVE him; he's a -482 favorite. Clearly they strongly believe he is the real deal.

Myself, I just can't resist passing up McKenna at +353. He's a far more accomplished boxer at a great price.

Jamel Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) vs. Carl Frampton (28-2, 6 KOs)

This is for Herring's WBO World Super Feather Title, an actual, not minor, world title. The Cincinnatian has already defended it twice. Frampton, who hails from Belfast, is ranked higher in the weight class by BoxRec (5th. vs. 8th) and is a favorite by a razor-thin margin by (-115 for Frampton, -105 for Herring).  

I think I'm going with Herring, though. Maybe a bit of American bias here, but not only has Herring defended his title twice, include against a very game and very good Lamont Roach, but Frampton has coming up short in his last two title fights (not counting two "interim" title fights that both took place in Belfast).

Herring is going to have a big reach advantage, and to quote the indispensable Scott Christ of, "Herring has obvious physical advantages and Frampton is probably pushing it fighting small at 130, but Carl's a terrific fighter at his best. The question is if he's at his best anymore."  

Enjoy the fights, everyone!

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