Rarely has a world-title fight been perceived to be more of a formality than Deontay Wilder’s fourth WBC heavyweight defence against fellow American Chris Arreola.
It is easy to understand why he is such a strong favourite: in addition to winning all 36 of his career contests, 35 of those have come by knockout, and his more experienced opponent has just one upheld victory to show for his four scraps since the start of 2014.
However, he deserves a little more respect than to be presumed incapable of hanging in there for more than half of the regulation 12 rounds, and there are at least three reasons to believe that the 3/1 on the fight being stopped in rounds 7-12 is a smart investment:
The circumstances of the fight
Owing to the cancellation of his proposed May skirmish with Alexander Povetkin, this is the longest that Wilder has gone without fighting in his career – six months exactly – increasing the likelihood that it will take him some time to find his rhythm. Additionally, this showdown was only arranged a month ago, so he hasn’t had as long to prepare as usual, while there is also a threat of complacency given his attitude that Arreola isn’t worthy of the title opportunity that he is receiving.
Wilder bouts are getting longer
The favourite might be an absolute knockout machine, with all but one of his 36 encounters ending due to his adversary being unable to continue, yet the four since 2015 have all gone beyond half the advertised distance. Wilder required a decision to defeat Bermane Stiverne, needed nine rounds to shut down Eric Molina, 11 to best Johann Duhaupas and nine again to dismiss Artur Szpilka.
Arreola isn’t easy to KO
The 10/1 outsider should consider the 1/10 odds on Wilder achieving a KO, TKO or disqualification triumph to be an affront. Even though he has been in poor form recently, he has lost a mere four times in a 43-fight professional existence. Only twice has he been beaten before the judges were asked to intervene and just once did that stoppage come before halfway (in round six precisely against Stiverne). In the other such reverse, he hung in there with Vitali Klitschko for 10 rounds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.