We’ve got two world titles and a grudge match today in New York, plus the eight-man MTK Golden Contract light heavyweight tournament kicks off in England.
Here’s a look at the odds for the fights.
New York, NY (ESPN, 9:00 pm ET)
Terence “Bud” Crawford headlines at Madison Square Garden, defending the WBO welterweight title against Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, unbeaten but coming off of a highly disappointing draw, and seen as a big underdog against the Nebraskan star.
How big of an underdog? Big — big-big. Crawford’s mean odds are about -2220 right now, and a few weeks ago were “just” about -775. The closer the fight has gotten, the more it’s become: everyone expects Crawford to win, and probably not just win, but dominate.
Kavaliauskas, for what it’s worth, has gone from about +525 in late November to +1080 now.
The much more interesting fight for pretty much everybody involves an underdog titleholder in Richard Commey, who will defend the IBF lightweight strap against Teofimo Lopez, seen as a rising star and promoted as such pretty much since turning pro with Top Rank three years ago.
Lopez is the favorite here, listed around -280; like Crawford, the odds have gone wider in his favor over recent weeks. About a month ago he was sitting at -125 or so. Commey, who is dangerous at worst in this matchup, was actually about -110 last month, and is now listed around +220.
The third big fight on ESPN airwaves tonight will be the likely-overhyped “rematch” between Michael Conlan and Vladimir Nikitin. These two famously met at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Russia’s Nikitin was the recipient of some incredibly controversial scores over Ireland’s Conlan, leading to a viral televised rant from Conlan.
Conlan should’ve beaten Nikitin three years ago, and he’s expected to do so tonight, too. The Belfast native is around -1650, with Nikitin at about +875, which is deserved if you’ve seen the two fight as pros. Featherweight prospect Conlan still has some doubters, no question, but when we last saw Nikitin on St. Patrick’s Day, he was struggling to scrape out a six-round majority decision over club fighter Juan Tapia. Nikitin is game and comes to fight, but it really looks like he just doesn’t have impact ability as a pro, or really close to it.
Brentwood, England (ESPN+, 3:00 pm ET)
Here’s the odds rundown for the quarterfinal matchups in MTK’s 175-pound tournament:
- Hosea Burton (-175) vs Bob Ajisafe (+150)
- Andre Sterling (-240) vs Liam Conroy (+190)
- Steven Ward (-190) vs Ricard Bolotniks (+155)
- Serge Michel (-210) vs Tommy Philbin (+165)
No, these aren’t superstar fighters, but every fight is well-matched on paper, and pretty much any combination of the eight fighters would’ve been pretty well-matched. We could see some fun stuff here; the MTK tournaments at 126 and 140 have been solid with similar enough lineups.