The boxing odds for the May 2 superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have been steaming toward the underdog ever since Pacquiao opened at +270. Maybe it’s the wisdom of crowds.
Floyd Mayweather has never lost a fight as a professional. But then again, Mayweather has never fought someone like Manny Pacquiao: southpaw, both powerful and agile, hitting from all angles. The early boxing odds for their “Fight of the Century” show heavy action on Pacquiao – down from +270 at the open to as low as +165 as we go to press. Has the betting public lost faith in Mayweather?
Probably not. Mayweather is expected to bring in plenty of action as May 2 approaches; in fact, a certain Mr. 50 Cent told New York radio station Power 105.1 on Tuesday that he was going to bet $1.6 million on Mayweather. According to Fiddy, he met with Mayweather last month at a Chris Brown concert, and he was impressed by his level of focus. “Champ gon’ smoke ‘im,” he predicted.
Not to impugn Boo Boo’s handicapping skills, but there are a lot of people who disagree with his prediction. Is this simply a case of Pacquiao’s fans coming through for him early at the pay window? Or can we apply the same “sharp/square” logic here that we do when we look at the NFL odds, where sharps tend to bet early?
Actually, in the case of boxing, the sharps have been known to take their sweet time and formulate an educated opinion about a fight before jumping in; football picks don’t have to marinate nearly as long before they’re ready. But when you get a big super-fight like this, you can expect a lot more public interest, and that means more public money coming in late with less thinking involved.
Meanwhile, as we said up top, Mayweather hasn’t fought anyone like Pacquiao. It’s the clash of styles that makes a fight, and plenty of sharp boxing analysts are reminding us about this important maxim, pointing at all the difficulties Pacquiao could cause Mayweather when they meet at the MGM Grand. Those who are picking Mayweather, like certain famous rappers from the aughts, are looking at other things.
The Style Council
Again, not that they’re wrong to do so. Focus is obviously important, and thus far, every Combat Sports pick on Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) has been a winning bet. However, when you look at the quality of opposition the welterweight champion has faced in recent years, his undefeated record loses some of its luster. Nor should we read too much into it that Pacquiao was knocked out in 2012 by Juan Manuel Marquez, whom Mayweather had beaten handily in 2009. Those fights didn’t feature the same clash of styles we’ll see in May.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said as much when he talked to Michael Woods at Ring Magazine earlier this week. Roach even brought up a counter-example of sorts: Pacquiao scored a TKO over Miguel Cotto in 2009, but Mayweather had to settle for a decision when he faced Cotto in 2012. “That ‘Fighter A-Fighter B’ logic is way too simple,” Roach said. “Manny is a whole different animal. Styles make fights. Every fight is different.”
Roach also fired a salvo across the bow of Floyd Mayweather Sr., the former welterweight contender who has had a somewhat checkered career as his son’s trainer. In Roach’s view, Floyd’s uncle, Roger Mayweather, is the much better trainer of the two. “With Senior, Floyd is more defensive and we know maybe he’ll run a bit more,” Roach told Woods. “Yes, Roger is the A-side of that team, not Floyd Senior.”
Pacquiao’s trainer shouldn’t be the one to shape our betting decisions, of course. But even if you look at the top analysts in the sport, you’ll see that they’re split about 50/50 over who’s going to win the Fight of the Century. That makes Pacquiao a bargain at these boxing odds, style or no style.