NEW YORK—Lauding his sturdy build, immaculate pedigree, and unparalleled ability to latch onto opponents’ throats until they bleed to death, sources confirmed today that purebred American pit bull terrier Nitro is widely expected to secure top honors at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Fight.

As the most vicious canines among each of the club’s 190 recognized breeds square off Tuesday night, Nitro is reportedly the odds-on favorite to win it all, having already mercilessly ripped apart each of his opponents to become the last pit bull remaining in the nation’s most prestigious dog fighting competition.

“Since 1877, the Westminster Dog Fight has featured only the finest bred and most brutally trained competitors, and Nitro is one of the deadliest specimens we’ve seen in years,” said Sporting Dog Journal columnist Mark Halberstrom, adding that judges would give the 3-year-old animal high scores in categories such as jaw-clamping strength, incisor sharpness, and overall bloodlust. “He’ll likely tear his way through the toy breeds very quickly, tossing the Yorkshire terriers, the Maltese, and the pugs around like throw pillows.”

“I was pitside last year when it took him 11 seconds to reduce a Bichon Frise to a pile of bloodied fluff,” Halberstrom continued. “He’s just a beautiful, beautiful killing machine.”

At the Westminster Dog Fight, held annually in the basement of New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, Nitro will vie for glory against well-bred opponents who bear the mangy coats, shorn ears, and infected, staple-bound lacerations that are the hallmarks of the sport’s true elite. According to insiders, he has already won numerous regional matches against such infamous veterans of the dog fight circuit as Razor Jaw, Sergeant Darkness, Bricks, Scarface IV, and Cerberus.

While his natural talent can perhaps be attributed to his rarefied lineage—he was sired by 2006 Westminster Dog Fight victor Jackknife—much of his success is reportedly due to his work with legendary trainer Rusty “Ratchet” Caldwell, who is said to have kept Nitro chained to a water heater from an early age, forced him to run on a treadmill, and administered a strict regimen of beatings with a lead pipe.

The 55-pound pit bull was also fed a standard diet of hamburger meat, shelter kittens, anabolic steroids, and gunpowder, sources stated.

“Only once or twice in a generation are we presented with a fight dog like this,” said blood-sport enthusiast Trevor Wilburn, who described watching Nitro methodically take apart a former police dog during a match at an abandoned foundry in Tupelo, MS. “He has the poise, the genetics, and the raw savagery necessary to achieve true greatness.”

“I’d say the only two dogs who have a chance to win are Nitro and maybe [180-pound Tibetan mastiff] Dreamcatcher,” Wilburn added.

Caldwell, however, expressed total confidence that Nitro would be the one taking the victory trot back to his cage. The trainer said he would be rewarding his dog with a saline IV drip and 160 mg of Oxycontin, while any other animals still alive after the fight would inevitably be drowned, electrocuted, or shot in the head.

“I know he has what it takes to avoid being carried out of Westminster in a trash bag,” Caldwell said. “And for me, there’s nothing more satisfying than shaping a dog into a maniacal killer from the moment of its birth, torturing and starving it for years, and then forcing it to fight for its significantly shortened life.”

“That being said, this nasty son of a bitch right here is also going to make me a lot of fucking money,” he added, hoisting Nitro up by his tail.