Boxing betting: Risking it on Rolando Romero to KO massive favorite Gervonta Davis

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·Combat columnist
·3-min read
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Gervonta Davis is one of boxing’s rising stars. The 27-year-old has won all 26 of his professional fights, 24 by knockout, and has won world title belts at super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight.

He’s also been a consistent ticket-seller, filling arenas around the country.

Sportsbook operators have gotten the message, as well. Davis is a massive favorite to defeat Rolando "Rolly " Romero on Saturday at the Barclays Center in New York for the WBA lightweight title in the main event of a pay-per-view card on Showtime.

At BetMGM, Davis is a whopping -1000 favorite. Romero, who is 14-0 with 12 knockouts, is +550. Davis by KO/TKO/Technical Decision/Disqualification is -400, also a massive number to lay. Romero by KO/TKO/Technical Decision/Disqualification is +900.

It’s almost impossible to bet Davis at those prices. Davis is known for his power, but it obscures a better-than-average boxing ability. He’s not overly quick, but he’s a sharp and accurate puncher.

Davis can be a slow starter and against a fighter like Romero, who has legitimate punching power, that could be a problem for him.

There’s no way it makes sense to lay -1000 on Davis, whose best win was his title-winning effort in 2017 over Jose Pedraza. He’s never again risen to that level that he showed in that fight.

If he’d gotten better each time out, that would be a reason to lay that kind of money, but the number seems to be based more on reputation than performance.

Romero’s boxing skills are in question — he insists he’s a better boxer and told Yahoo Sports he’d knock Davis out in the first — but his power is not.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 21: Gervonta Davis and Rolando Romero face off during a press conference ahead of their WBA Lightweight Championship fight on December 5, at Staples Center on October 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Rolando Romero has the punching power to make things interesting against Gervonta Davis on Saturday. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The likely scenario is Davis outboxing Romero and either winning a decision or stopping him late after wearing him down. But the fact that Romero is so heavy-handed provides another legitimate option, particularly considering the odds.

The play thus becomes Romero by knockout at +900. It’s not much of a risk, if you lay one unit on him. If you lose that bet, you’re out $100. But if you take Davis to win and lose the bet, you’re out $1,000. That’s a massive difference.

Given Davis’ propensity to start slowly and get hit early in fights, it makes the Romero-by-knockout proposition look a lot better. This is Romero’s first time in an event of this magnitude, and he knows he has a lot to prove. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see him come out hard early.

So I’ll lay the $100 and bet on Romero to win by knockout at +900. I’ll also lay a half-unit on Romero to win by decision, which is +1800. So I’ll risk $50 to potentially win another $900. That’s by far the most unlikely scenario, but I’ll cover myself there in case Romero hurts Davis and perhaps drops him more than once but doesn’t finish him.

If I’m being honest, I think Davis wins the fight. It’s just way too much to lay, and Romero does have the ability to win by KO.

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