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Boxing: Could We See an Undisputed Heavyweight Champ in 2020?

Undisputed Heavyweight Champ Odds

As the heavyweight division goes, so does boxing. Meaning, when there’s excitement among the heavy hitters, boxing as a whole typically has many eyes on it, and we are seeing that right now. There are at least four boxers who legitimately have an opportunity to unify the four major heavyweight belts, which would crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 20 years.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on whether there will be an undisputed champ, with “Yes” coming in at +400 and “No” coming back at -600. They also put up odds on four boxers who could become the undisputed champ, with Anthony Joshua favored at +105 followed by Tyson Fury at +300, Deontay Wilder at +350 and Andy Ruiz at +575 to round out the oddsboard.

Undisputed Heavyweight Champ

You have to go back to 1999 to find the last undisputed heavyweight champion, when Lennox “The Lion” Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield by unanimous decision to hold the WBC, WBA and IBF titles simultaneously. At that time, you only needed those three titles to be the undisputed heavyweight champ, but now you must have the WBO belt as well. Lewis was stripped of the WBA title in 2000 in a controversial situation regarding who the true No. 1 contender was, as it appeared the Lion should have fought John Ruiz, but rather he took on Michael Grant.

The list of undisputed heavyweight champions is a who’s who of boxing legends, with names like Joe Louis, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson – what a list. Currently, Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz holds three of the four major titles (WBA, IBF and WBO) with Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder possessing the WBC strap.

Which Boxer Has the Best Chance to Unify the Titles and Will It Happen?

The odds suggest that it won’t happen by the end of 2020 and history would be on the side of the bookmakers on this one. There have been only five undisputed heavyweight champions since 1990 and they were, in order: Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis.

Andy Ruiz will be defending his WBA, WBO and IBF titles against Anthony Joshua, the man he took them from in June. This rematch is right around the corner on December 7. Meanwhile, Deontay Wilder will be defending his WBC strap against Tyson Fury in early 2020, on February 22. Now, that gives us plenty of time to have the winners in those bouts meet later in 2020.

If Ruiz retains his three belts, he has his sights set on Tyson Fury, who has a good chance to beat Deontay Wilder after their first bout ended in a controversial draw. That right there could be the unification match we are all begging for. I like Fury to win that fight too and that’s why I believe Fury at +300 is the best bet on which boxer would be the undisputed champ.

Now, that all sounds fine and dandy in a perfect world – reality may paint a different picture. Part of the reason many boxing fans have been frustrated with the sport over the past decade or so is that the fight everyone wants to see either never ends up happening or happens three or four years after the boxers have passed their primes, a la Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao. There are so many rematch clauses and promotion battles that get in the way of these gigantic bouts and that may be the issue that denies us an undisputed champion in 2020. The “No” at -600 is probably the smart wager on that prop, but the optimist and avid boxing fan in me is praying for the “Yes” at +400.

Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury Betting Odds
BoxerOdds
Deontay Wilder+105
Tyson Fury-125

Odds as of November 27 at BetOnline

andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua Betting Odds
BoxerOdds
Andy Ruiz+195
Anthony Joshua-250

Odds as of November 27 at BetOnline

Who Will be the first undisputed heavyweight boxing champion in 2020?
BoxerOdds
Anthony Joshua+105
Tyson Fury+300
Deontay Wilder+350
Andy Ruiz+575

A boxer who holds the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles simultaneously. If no undisputed champion, then wagers will be settled as no action.

Odds as of November 27 at Bovada

Will there be an undisputed heavyweight champion in 2020?
WinnerOdds
Yes+400
No-600

Odds as of November 27 at Bovada