In his return to the ring last week, Jose Pedraza looked strong in beating up Mikkel LesPierre. Now, the man who defeated Pedraza last September gets his chance to shine on Tuesday night. The headliners of this week’s two ESPN boxing cards include Jose Zepeda vs. Kendo Castaneda and Carlos Takam vs. Jerry Forrest, and, at least according to the betting odds, they’ll be the two of the most closely contested main event bouts we’ve seen yet since the pandemic began.
Zepeda is a top-10 junior welterweight, and Takam once challenged for the heavyweight championship of the world. They’re both legit fighters, and neither will have a walkover opponent this week. It should be fun to watch and tougher to figure out on whom to bet.
Here’s what you need to know about the week in boxing odds.
Boxing odds: The 3 most interesting wagers this week
-Carlos Takam (-164) vs. Jerry Forrest +128: Originally, this was supposed to be Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller’s spot, but after he failed a drug test (again!), the veteran Takam will step in to face Forrest on Thursday night. Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs) has faced some of the best heavyweights in the world, losing to Anthony Joshua in 2018 and Joseph Parker in 2017. Takam has a couple of decent wins on his resume (Tony Thompson and Frans Botha), but he’s never beaten an elite fighter. At this point, it doesn’t appear Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs) is one of those. Maybe, just maybe Forrest has a chance to knock him out—Takam has been stopped three times—but I wouldn’t wager on that.
-Jose Zepeda (-365) vs. Kendo Castaneda (+295): Originally, Zepeda was supposed to meet Ivan Baranchyk in what would have been an interesting showdown (and where Zepeda was the slight underdog). But Baranchyk suffered an injury, paving the way for Castaneda (17-1, 8 KOs) to get a shot at his most dangerous opponent yet on Tuesday night. Castaneda is coming off the first loss of his career to prospect Yomar Alamo, and other than that, his resume looks thin. Meanwhile, Zepeda (31-2, 25 KOs) beat Pedraza 10 months ago and put a real scare into Jose Ramirez before losing by majority decision 17 months ago. At only a 3/1 underdog, I wouldn’t like Castaneda’s chances enough to put money on the upset victory.
-Brad Foster (-700) vs. James Beech Jr. (+450): If you’re fascinated by the idea of watching two undefeated Englishmen fight for the British Commonwealth junior featherweight title, Foster (12-0-2, 5 KOs) vs. Beech (12-0, 2 KOs) is the boxing match for you on Friday night. The two have been sparring partners in the recent past, but it seems tough to bet against Foster—who’s defended his belt three times and who, despite his unimpressive knockout percentage, has won five of his past seven victories by stoppage.
What happened last week?
-Despite having fought only one round in the past 19 months after having lost a 140-pound title shot to Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo looked strong in his return to the ring vs. Sonny Fredrickson. And if you put money on Saucedo winning a decision, you earned a little bit of cash. Overall, Saucedo was a -750 favorite, but he was +130 to win by decision (and -125 to win by KO, TKO or DQ). As I wrote last week, “Saucedo has good power—he, after all, is coming off a first-round knockout of Rod Salka—but I’m not sure I’d wager my money on him stopping Fredrickson.” Hopefully you took that advice as Saucedo won by unanimous decision.
-The first time two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez faced Adan Gonzalez, Ramirez suffered an embarrassing loss in his pro debut. Last Thursday, Ramirez got another chance. Despite his loss to Gonzalez only 11 months ago, Ramirez was still about a 16/1 favorite heading into the contest with Gonzalez at about +700. Turns out Ramirez was up to the challenge. He won a shutout unanimous decision.
-This came from Hall of Fame writer Graham Houston before featherweight prospects Jose Vivas and Carlos Jackson fought last week.
Turns out Houston was right. Vivas won by unanimous decision.
Tracking boxing’s future bets
-When boxing returns to DAZN on July 24, Golden Boy Promotions will present one of its best prospects in Vergil Ortiz Jr. He’ll face veteran Samuel Vargas, but according to the early odds, Ortiz shouldn’t have much of an issue. According toBetting Inside Journal, Ortiz is a -1200 favorite (win $100 on a $1,200 bet), while Vargas is +900.
-The odds for Dillian Whyte as the favorite vs. Alexander Povetkin in their Aug. 22 showdown have tightened a bit. At first, Whyte was a -360 favorite, and Povetkin was +290. Now, though, Whyte has dropped to -310 and Povetkin has moved to +260.
Gambling tweet of the week
How will Kanye West affect the presidential election if he actually runs (I’m guessing he won’t)? BetOnline’s sports book brand maker has a theory.