Gassiev vs. Dorticos: Now There’s a Fight

Jason Lake

Thursday, February 1, 2018 11:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 11:17 PM UTC

Saturday’s cruiserweight bout in Russai between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos should be a lot more competitive than most matches these days. Who belongs in our boxing picks?

Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier DorticosFree Boxing Pick: Under 9.5 rounds (–171)Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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It was worth a shot – two shots, actually. With little chance of getting paid, we went ahead and recommended the underdogs in last week’s title fights at the Fabulous Forum: Mercito Gesta (vs. Jorge Linares), and Tewa Kiram (vs. Lucas Matthysse). The favorites won, surprise surprise, but check out those boxing odds. We had Gesta at +1533; he was +944 by the time they touched gloves. And Kiram’s odds moved from +825 to +525. Nice.

But enough about these jabronis. How about a competitive fight for a change? IBF cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev will put his title on the line Saturday in Russia against WBA “Regular” champ Yunier Dorticos. Gassiev is the –182 favorite (mean odds) at press time after opening at –164 nearly three months ago. Let’s dig deep, peel back the layers and see whom we should put in our boxing picks this time.

Who’s Running the Show Here?

First, and perhaps most important, this fight is taking place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi. Gassiev (25-0, I NC; 18 KOs) is from Russia. Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) is from Cuba. That might tell you all you need to know about Saturday’s bout, if you catch my drift. I think you do.

Second, is Dortico’s WBA title on the line? Saturday’s bout is the second semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series; the winner will go on to face WBC/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in May to unify all four major titles – Dortico’s included:

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The WBA have just announced that Denis Lebedev is now cruiserweight ‘champion in recess’, meaning Yunier Dorticos is the full champion and can unify his title with Murat Gassiev.

🏆 All four legitimate world titles are now in the cruiserweight tournament 🏆

— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 1, 2018

Glad to see they worked that out. Third, this tournament is being organized by Comosa AG, of which Highlight Event & Entertainment is the majority shareholder. They’re based in Switzerland. Maybe the Sochi angle won’t come into play after all.

Gassiev would probably win this fight anyway. He’s the No. 2 cruiserweight at The Ring and No. 3 at BoxRec; Dorticos is No. 5 on both rankings. However, Dorticos has a four-inch reach advantage, and he’s not afraid to use, shall we say, questionable tactics to get the job done inside the squared circle. Let’s make life easy on ourselves and take UNDER 9.5 rounds instead. That price has already gone up from –146 to –171, but there should still be some value there. Dorticos is built for speed, not for comfort. He’s gone midway into the ninth round just twice in his career. Gassiev has done the same three times. Tick, tick, boom.

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