Glass jaw rhapsody: Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander
By Gary J Cooper: I learned that Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander had been made when The Fight Guru (@TheFightGuru) tweeted it. I tweeted back, asking what he thought the odds would be. He didn’t give me a number, but said he thought Alexander would win. I tweeted back that I thought Khan would be about a (-250) favorite.
Khan is currently a (-240) favorite. Off the top of my head, I think the odds may have fluctuated from around (-230) to (-260) or so. I don’t remember for sure, but there hasn’t been much movement.
Naturally I sprained my elbow patting myself on the back for being so accurate on the odds. Unfortunately, if I am dialed in enough on the odds, there is probably little value to be had here.
I like Khan primarily because of his crazy-fast hand speed, which generally gives him the upper hand on the scorecards, and occasionally helps him to knock somebody out. Alexander is not known as a knock-out artist either, with fewer KOs than Khan, but Khan is known for his shaky chin, and seems uninterested in changing his style to one where he is less at risk of getting wobbled. I expect that some $$ shies away from Khan because there is an above average chance he will get rocked, and possibly knocked out, and some $$ has gone to Alexander for the same reason. In terms of odds, what is a glass jaw worth?
If (-240) has factored it in, I suppose he could be (-300) or more if he had an iron chin. With his hand speed, it seems possible he could get far enough ahead on points that he could get knocked down but still win on points.
Much of my familiarity with Alexander is based on watching his fights with Shawn Porter, while researching for Porter-Brook.* He didn’t look great in those fights. On the other hand, I just watched his fight against Marcos Maidana, and he completely dominated that fight, winning ten out of ten rounds.** Khan also looked very good vs. Maidana, scoring a first round knock-down, but was hurt himself by Maidana in the 11th. Alexander’s fight wasn’t as exciting, but he was in control the entire way.***
If I’d seen that fight a bit sooner, I may not have bet Khan. Alexander looked really good there. At this point I’ve seen them both look sloppy in some fights, and incredibly sharp in others. As a southpaw, Alexander could make it more likely that we see the sloppy side of Khan.
On the other hand, I found a comment on this site that posited that the left hook from an orthodox fighter is Khan’s kryptonite, and that southpaws hold no danger for him. I hope this is right, since I’ve already bet him.
At this point, my impression is that Alexander is the craftier fighter (lefty’s are always “crafty,” right?…at least in baseball), but that Khan’s physical gifts should be enough to overcome his bad habits and risk-taking. What is a glass jaw worth in this equation? I’m on Khan because I think he should be able to get ahead on points, and the rules tend to favor this sort of fighter. While I think boxing fans tend to overrate the likelihood of a knock-out, with Khan we can’t dismiss the possibility as comfortably as with some other fighters. While I expect Khan to get ahead on points, Alexander looked sharp enough vs. Maidana that I am not dismissing the possibility he could win on the scorecards, where I was before. Don’t consider this a recommendation; I’m betting Khan because he fits my system, because I nailed the odds, and because I’m on a sick run right now,**** but I’m betting small.
*Which went horribly for me–Brook handed my bankroll its ass, so to speak.
**Alexander doesn’t have that many fights that were scheduled for 12 rounds, and Khan has definitely fought bigger names
*** The argument for the winner of this fight getting a shot at Mayweather seems to hinge largely on their successes vs. Maidana. They both looked more impressive vs. Maidana than Floyd did in the first fight (where he was sandbagging). More than that, it is hard for Floyd to call them unworthy when Maidana was worthy of two fights against him. My dream scenario has one of these guys looking so good that Mayweather decides to fight Pacquiao instead. Good luck.
****How sick? Check my twitter from earlier this week, where I posted my results–(@roQQboTTomm)