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Bet on Boxing Action – Wilson vs. Flores
Our Sportsbooks: On this week’s edition of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights,” Darnell Wilson defends his USBA cruiserweight title for the first time against the challenge of undefeated B.J. Flores in a fight that presents a great contrast of styles, as well as a matchups between two intelligent, engaging personalities who are good for the sport.
February 8 — Dover, DE
DARNELL WILSON -240
B.J. FLORES +190
OVER 9.5 ROUNDS -130
UNDER 9.5 ROUNDS -110
For boxing betting purposes, let’s six up the contestants:
WILSON (22-5-3, 19 KO’s), the -240 favorite in the Top Sportsbooks boxing betting odds, has an interesting background to say the least. He is a former actor in adult films who also does computer programming. He bears something of a resemblance to Mike Tyson in terms of appearance and fighting style. The guy they call “The Ding-A-Ling Man” is affable, soft-spoken and articulate.
And yes, he can punch.
When Wilson was campaigning at 175 pounds, I thought he was the best puncher in the division. He has taken a lot of that power into the cruiserweight class with him. Wilson is the type who is willing to take a few blows in order to land the haymaker, and unlike a lot of punchers, he is dangerous both early and late. The problem is that he doesn’t possess a lot of pure boxing skill, so when he’s handicapped by size as well that’s going to be disadvantageous to him. Wilson ventured into the heavyweight division for a moment, dropping a unanimous decision to former heavyweight title challenger Owen Beck (Jan. ’06) where he was out-weighed by 36 pounds.
But when he went into the cruisers, he eventually found his groove, scoring consecutive KO’s over Daniel Judah, Dale Brown, Kelvin Davis and finally Emmanuel Nwodo, who he knocked out in 11 rounds last June to win the USBA crown. Make no mistake about it – Wilson is never out of a fight and has a flair for the dramatic. Even though he can be outclassed by a technician, he demands the attention of his opponent at all times.
The question in this fight is whether FLORES (20-0-1, 13 KO’s), the +190 underdog at BetUS, is enough of a technician to exploit Wilson’s weaknesses. Flores is an all-around athlete, to be sure, a former BYU football recruit who embarked on a mission to Mexico for two years, an experience he says really matured him. “It was fantastic. I’ll never look at things the same after that,” he’s said o more than one occasion.
Whether he’ll ever look at boxing the same after being in the ring with Wilson remains to be seen. But Flores is the type who studies a lot of film, so it’s likely he’ll show some side-to-side movement instead of standing in front of Wilson. Flores started his career as an aspirant to the heavyweight title, but knew he was too small physically, so unlike Wilson, who moved UP in weight, Flores moved DOWN in class, first to a “super cruiserweight” division (210-pound limit), created by the National Boxing Association, then to the cruisers.
Aside from an early draw, Flores has passed all his tests, mostly against trialhorses, though he’s scored a couple of wins that are decent resume-builders, both decisions over Chris Thomas and Patrick Nwamu. But he’s fought just once in the last eleven months. Part of Flores’ problem is that his promoters had been very unstable, and hadn’t lived up to agreements, so in the process of working all of that out, he’s had to be inactive. For a puncher like Wilson, that would be one thing. For a fighter who wants to stick and move and be elusive, that can have the effect of upsetting timing. Two rounds of action against a circuit loser like Andy Sample is not the kind of preparation you want to have for an 11-month period before fighting a guy like Wilson.
Wilson has that edge, and others as well – he is the better puncher and the fighter who can end it, in effect, with one blow; he is the more experienced fighter, while Flores has not been in any fight of this importance, and whatever Flores has been through, his chin has not been tested the way it will be tested here. Flores could win the fight if he stuck to a jab and managed to stay out of Wilson’s range the entire 12 rounds, but I’m saying that sooner or later the Ding-A-Ling Man will hunt him down.
I’m not sure exactly when that will be, so I won’t touch the total. But I like Wilson to take him out sometime inside the 12-round distance.
JAY’S PLAY: WILSON -240 *** (Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
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