Saturday night on HBO, former Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev looks to rebound from his back to back losses to Andre Ward when he takes on Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. Here are the current odds, courtesy of Bovada:
Sergey Kovalev -1600
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy +800
With a record of 30-2-1 with 26 KOs, it’s no surprise that Kovalev is the favorite. He’s a former world champion, one of the hardest punchers in the sport today, and still sits in the Ring Magazine pound for pound rankings at #5. His return to HBO is designed to showcase him and get him back to his winning ways, while also putting one of the vacant world titles around his waist (the WBO belt he lost to Andre Ward is up for grabs here).
At the same time, there are reasons to pause before making an immediate Kovalev pick. Sergey is 34 years old, and it’s been a year and a half since he fought someone other than Ward. He’s coming in off, on paper, two losses, though both are controversial affairs. But he’s responded to those losses somewhat poorly, with some dubious decisions, including releasing longtime trainer John David Jackson. Shabranskyy is 19-1 and coming in off a loss last December to Sullivan Barrera. He should be easy pickings for Kovalev, but that may depend a bit on how Kovalev is today.
Is that enough to make a +800 pick for the underdog tempting? Maybe, though your chances of collecting on that bet are small. It’s certainly reason enough to steer clear of a -1600 pick on the Krusher.
Join Bloody Elbow Saturday night for live fight night coverage of Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on HBO.