Deontay Wilder vs Joseph Parker heads a massive heavyweight card for the ages in Riyadh on Saturday night, and we have all the betting analysis you need for the huge Saudi showdown.
All roads lead to Riyadh this week where boxing fans are being treated to a festive feast courtesy of the ‘Day of Reckoning’.
This sizzling eight-fight card features some of the sport’s biggest names, including American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Wilder held the WBC heavyweight title from 2015 to 2020, and was a busy champion by modern day standards as he racked up 10 successful defences and a string of highlight reel KOs.
The Alabaman takes on another former heavyweight champion in Joseph Parker in one of the biggest heavyweight fights of 2023. The plan is to match a victorious Wilder against Anthony Joshua in 2024, if AJ aces his own test against Otto Wallin.
However, in a sport containing as much peril as boxing, particularly within the precarious landscape of the heavyweight division, the word ‘if’ cannot be easily dismissed.
The unexpected can, and often does, happen when it comes to heavyweights. There was the infamous 42/1 shock when James ‘Buster’ Douglas stopped a seemingly invincible Mike Tyson all those years ago.
More recently we only have to look at how close novice Francis Ngannou came to derailing that Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk unification match for proof that there are no certainties when it comes to the old glove game.
Deontay Wilder analysis
Joshua and Wilder have been on a collision course for years, and we are told that if both come through on Saturday that fight is a done deal for March 9. Thanks to Saudi money, the heavyweight division is alive again.
Wilder vs Joshua is the biggest fight in the division outside of Fury vs Usyk (which goes down on February 17, with all of the heavyweight marbles up for grab).
If the fights on December 23 are as good as the Hollywood-style trailer for this mega boxing event, it should be a great night. In the ‘Day of Reckoning’ promo – set in a post-apocalyptic city full of zombies – Wilder careers a van around a corner before mowing down an unfortunate zombie. In the passenger seat – as a maniacal Wilder cruises the streets – Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren is hanging on for dear life. It is quite the watch, and even though this card has been put together at relatively short notice, it feels quite historic.
Fans will want to know how much Wilder – who is 43-2-1 (42) – has left at the age of 38. He has had less than one round of action since October 2022, when he stopped Robert Helenius in his first fight since suffering back-to-back stoppage defeats to the ‘Gypsy King’.
Widely considered the hardest puncher in the division, Wilder has ended 42 of his 43 professional wins inside the distance. Opponents need to be switched on for every second of every round against him, while Wilder often needs only a few seconds to switch off an opponent’s lights.
The Helenius win is his only victory since that Fury trilogy. The world now wants to see him against Joshua, but Parker will fancy ripping up the script.
Joseph Parker analysis
The New Zealander, trained by Andy Lee, has won three on the trot since losing heavily to Joe Joyce in a lung-busting heavyweight contest 15 months ago.
One thing you can say about Parker is that he has been active. Indeed this will be his fourth fight this year. Parker’s three professional defeats have all come against top guys. Yet it would be inaccurate to say that every time he has stepped up in level he has lost. As for every loss against Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Joe Joyce, there have been wins over Andy Ruiz, Derek Chisora and Carlos Takam.
In short, they don’t give WBO heavyweight titles away, and Parker reigned as WBO champion from 2016 to 2018.
Parker 33-3 (23) is durable and was the first man to take a peak Joshua the distance back in 2018. At 31 he is seven years younger than Wilder and might be a bit fresher. Inactivity is not great for a fighter at any stage of their career, but at 38 and having been out of the ring for as long as he has, who knows how much ‘The Bronze Bomber’ has left?
Wilder tells us he has never left the gym, and he looks in great shape, but there is no substitute for actual combat so it will be interesting to gauge where he is in the early going on Saturday.
DAZN PPV and TNT Sports Box Office will broadcast the event (start time 1600 UK, 1700 CET, 1100 EST, 0800 PST), which in an early Christmas present for the fans has been priced at £19.99 by both platforms in the UK. DAZN and ESPN+ will stream in the United States for $39.99.
There’s an argument that Parker is the more skilled boxer than Wilder, and he was a very good amateur. Highlights of Parker’s amateur career include gold medals in the 2011 China Open and Arafura Games in the same year. He picked up a silver medal at the Youth Summer Olympics in 2010 and won bronze at the Youth World Championships in 2010.
Training in Morecombe with Irishman Lee, Fury and his team will have been on hand to provide the blueprint to the New Zealander regarding how you solve the Wilder puzzle. Whether he can execute the gameplan under the brightest of lights however is another matter.
His best chance is to perhaps keep the fight at range, setting a fast pace, and moving away from Wilder’s destructive right hand. That said, the American will always be capable of a one-punch KO.
Indeed, there are plenty of top names who have outboxed Wilder down the years, only to come unstuck when caught clean. However, he has been floored and he has been knocked out in his career so is not infallible and that will give Team Parker hope.
The inactivity is clearly an issue. But if you are doing the right things in the gym, sparring often and hard, and living the right life like Wilder appears to be doing, it isn’t always quite as crucial. And having seen him confidently stride around Riyadh this week fulfilling the inevitable press obligations, he looks in great condition.
Wilder vs Parker verdict and tips
In terms of how this will go, Parker has the experience and the physicality not to be overwhelmed. He is not a huge puncher but does most things well and will not be under the same pressure as his opponent as this chance has almost come out of leftfield.
We feel Parker will try to make this fight close – and probably rough – over the first few rounds or so. There is a feeling he has to take it to Wilder, as if he stays on the outside he is likely going to be knocked out.
It could be a bit untidy for the first few rounds, with Wilder showing some ring rust. However, at some point the American unleashes either the dynamite right hand or the equally dangerous left hook.
Six of Wilder’s last 10 stoppage wins have come in rounds 7-12. It is so rare for him to go through a whole fight and not land that big right or that left hook. He is going to land at some point. It feels inevitable. A case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.
The American is experienced enough in his own right to know there is no rush. He is the kind of fighter who is happy to lose rounds before he lands his honey punch. With this in mind, backing Wilder to win via stoppage between rounds 7-12 could be the way to go.
Tip: Wilder to win in rounds 7-12 at 11/5 (Coral)