Backing the Bomber?
Sky Bet's Jamie Casey on where the money's going ahead of Tony Bellew's bout with Isaac Chilemba.
By Jamie Casey - Twitter: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 28/03/13 9:21pm
Light-heavyweight Liverpudlian Tony Bellew takes on, in his own words, the "toughest fight" of his career in Isaac Chilemba on Saturday night at the Echo Arena.
The 30-year-old aims to use the fight as a stepping stone towards a title fight against WBC champion Chad Dawson, perhaps later this year, and the home crowd will be eager not to witness another shock.
The last time the Echo Arena staged a major bout, odds-on favourite David Price suffered a second-round knock-out at the hands of 8/1 underdog Tony Thompson, and Bellew has been well-backed to please his fans, taking in over double the amount of bets than Chilemba.
However, an upset this time around would not be as big a surprise as Chilemba (2/1) is far from a fighter who's seen better days - as Thompson was portrayed - although Bellew remains the odds-on favourite, with Sky Bet making him 4/11 to win.
Malawian-born South African Chilemba is quick, has a good defence and a strong heart, which he displayed against Russian Maxim Vlasov, who he got off the canvas to defeat in 2011.
Bellew, though, is sure to be a lot stronger than the 25-year-old, which is the biggest asset the home favourite can use in his favour, but the fiery Scouser needs to keep his cool when wearing Chilemba down.
If Chilemba is at his best, Bellew may be forced to out-think and, ultimately, out-box him, rather than put on a show for the crowd as he has been known to do in the past when his heart ruled his head - he's a 40/1 long shot to win the fight in the opening minute.
Bellew is growing stronger in a professional sense and is coming into his prime now, and with that comes a maturity he perhaps lacked earlier in his career, most notably when he lost to Nathan Cleverly.
Bellew must utilise his solid jab well and control the fight, as he is more than capable of doing, and he mustn't panic should he find himself floored, which is a 2/1 shot in Sky Bet's knock-down specials.
Both fighters have climbed off the canvas and gone on to win in the past, but I'm not convinced there'll be a knock-down on this occasion, so I'm backing a steady, if uninspiring, points victory for Bellew at a reasonable 13/8.
Sky Bet do have a handful of knock-down specials on offer though, such as Bellew to be knocked down but go on to win the fight (9/2) while he's 9/1 to be floored in the opening round.
Odds are subject to change.