Heavy Chalk on Kovalev in Saturday's Title Bout vs. Mikhalkin

Jason Lake

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 8:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 8:59 PM UTC

Sergey Kovalev’s comeback tour continues Saturday when he defends the WBO and IBA light heavyweight titles against Igor Mikhalkin. Is Kovalev too chalky for our boxing picks?

Saturday Boxing: Kovalev vs. MikhalkinFree Boxing Pick: Fight goes to decision (+120)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The boxing gods are shining down upon us, as we've been treated to some quality fights the past couple of months. Saturday’s light heavyweight title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin might not be as competitive as what we’ve seen thus far, but at least Kovalev will be on display in all his glory at Madison Square Garden in New York. He was arguably the hottest commodity in boxing before Andre Ward defeated him in back-to-back matches in 2016 and 2017.

Mikhalkin is better than your typical ham-and-egger, but he doesn’t look like a real threat to Kovalev – and the boxing odds board agrees. After opening at -1600 last week, Kovalev quickly moved to -2000, and has been holding steady since. That’s a lot of chalk to eat. The props market does give us an out, though. Will Saturday’s fight (10:05 p.m. ET, HBO) end in a decision? YES is priced at +120, with NO at –160.

Twelve Rounds of Ammo

Before we dig in, let’s take note of those prices. This prop is a 40-cent line, so we’ll want to be damn sure we’re happy with our boxing pick before we pull the trigger. Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) has plenty of knockout potential, but three of his past eight fights ended in a decision. While Mikhalkin (21-1, nine KOs) doesn’t pack much power at all, he’s a southpaw, he has a good chin, and his only loss was to Aleksy Kuziemski by unanimous decision in 2010.

Given the make-up of these two boxers, you can almost predict how Saturday’s fight will play out. Kovalev will likely get the early jump, hoping to score a quick knockout like he did in November when he put away Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the second round to claim the vacant WBO and IBA titles. If Mikhalkin, the IBO champ, can weather the storm, Kovalev will probably tire in the middle rounds – stamina has been his weak point – and Mikhalkin will have his chance to at least get the fight to the judges’ scorecards.

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Nobody’s convincing me that Kovalev vs Mikhalkin is the HBO main event ahead of Bivol-Barrera this weekend.

— Tom Craze (@TomCraze) February 26, 2018

It’s tempting to throw a couple of bucks at Mikhalkin as the +1325 underdog at several sportsbooks. He’s something of an unknown product, but again, Mikhalkin doesn’t pose much threat here. Only Kovalev can beat Kovalev on Saturday. Let’s take this fight to go the full 12 rounds instead, and may the better man win.

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