Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev betting odds, preview, and pick
The march towards one of the biggest fights in heavyweight history begins when Anthony Joshua (23-1) faces off against Kubrat Pulev (28-1) on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Sat, December 12 2020, 10:00 PM
Pulev finds the nerve
Three years ago, Pulev seemed less than thrilled when he was made a mandatory opponent for Joshua, and didn’t seem too heartbroken when he pulled out of their scheduled fight with an alleged injury. He’s fought awful competition since signing with Top Rank and now, at 39, doesn’t have any other options for a big fight besides Joshua.
Pulev has always been a middle-of-the-pack heavyweight, and doesn’t have any qualities that stand out. Against Joshua, a fighter needs to have a strong inside game, high work rate, and a good chin. When Pulev lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, he hit the deck three times before getting stopped in five. He showed nothing at the time that suggested he would ever be ready for the big time.
Joshua hopes to look impressive
The big question here is how Joshua reacts to being inactive and if he’s confident enough to take Pulev out. Joshua dominated Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch, but did himself no favors by fighting so conservatively against an overmatched opponent. Maybe it was fear of Ruiz playing possum, but Joshua can’t carry another man the distance again and still expect to make fans happy.
The 31-year-old Joshua holds advantages in every physical category, he has a more dynamic fighting style, and he is still in the prime of his career. He can opt to work either behind a strong jab or smother Pulev with sharp combinations. The champ’s body punching should serve him well here, especially if he aggressively pursues a knockout.
No upside for Pulev
There's no reason Joshua won't stop Pulev. Even if Pulev tries to stink him out, Joshua’s punch selection and pure athleticism will close the gap and break Pulev down. There’s a good chance that when Joshua does knock Pulev down, Pulev will opt to stay down.
Joshua will win big here, and he will do it inside the distance.