Boxing: Yuniel Dorticos vs. Mairis Briedis preview and pick

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March 4th, 2020

The World Boxing Super Series is coming to its conclusion, and the Muhammad Ali Trophy, as well as cruiserweight supremacy, awaits the winner of the Yuniel Dorticos-Mairis Briedis showdown March 21.

These elite competitors have handled their business and will come to blows in Latvia, for a battle that is too close to call. Let's take a look at this high-stakes clash between the world’s best cruiserweights.

Yuniel Dorticos vs. Mairis Briedis odds

Yuniel Dorticos
Mairis Briedis

Boxer vs. puncher

The battle between Briedis and Dorticos in a classic boxer-versus-puncher scenario, where the tactician should win, but the puncher can catch him at any time and end the fight. We’ve seen more versatility in Briedis’ game over the course of his career, but Dorticos’ power makes him extremely dangerous in the early part of the fight. Though the fight seems close on paper, there is enough to suggest the boxer has the edge. 

Briedis hasn’t looked spectacular throughout the tournament, but he still comes in with a well-rounded skill set, excellent conditioning, and a proven chin. He can stand his ground against the heavy-handed Cuban when he needs to. However, Briedis needs to utilize his movement and keep Dorticos from getting set to throw his best shots. We’ve seen Briedis give former cruiserweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk all he could handle in the last tournament, but Usyk doesn’t hit anywhere as hard as Dorticos.

Dorticos needs to mix up his approach

Dorticos has a 5-inch advantage in reach, but his reliance on power could be his undoing. When Dorticos fought Murat Gassiev, by far the best opponent he has faced, Gassiev worked him over and stopped him in the 12th round. In that fight Gassiev landed 50% of his power shots, including the three-knockdown sequence in the 12th.

A leaky defense and one-dimensional offense does not carry fighters to the highest mountain in any division. Dorticos has a six-round window to land a big shot, and if he doesn’t do that and can’t stop Briedis from exploiting his poor defense, there is no way he’ll win a decision in Briedis’ backyard. Once Briedis establishes he can handle Dorticos’ power, expect him to target the body and get on his bike in the later rounds, with a tired Dorticos unable to give chase.

Expect Briedis to build up a big lead early

Though Briedis isn’t out of harm’s way at any point during the fight, he is going to build a big lead going into the late rounds, and Dorticos may not have enough in the tank to pull off a win. There’s a good chance Briedis will tee off on his opponent in the same fashion Gassiev did, but the tactical fighter making the tactical choice of playing it safe is the likely play.

Briedis will pull ahead early and never look back for a big win on the cards.

Boxing free pick: Briedis (-220)

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