The boxing odds have Mayweather Jr. as big favorite to beat Berto next week. The underdog doesn't have much of a chance, but he does have a puncher's chance.
They're calling it High Stakes. What a horribly generic and meaningless name, although it does speak volumes about next Saturday's PPV fight (8:00 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto. Mayweather's people insist he'll retire after this last fight on his Showtime contract, but why haven't they done more to market it that way? Why isn't his retirement the focal point of their advertising?
Maybe five years from now, we'll look back on this and it will all make sense in retrospect. Or maybe Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) will change the future by beating Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs). It's not impossible; as we go to press, Berto is available at a range of boxing odds between +1000 and +1600 at Bet365. That's not anywhere close to Buster Douglas territory – he was +4200 versus Mike Tyson. Berto's chances may be slim, but if he can unleash that cinder-block of a right hand, who knows.
Right Makes Might
Berto knows what side of his bread is buttered. Speaking with Jerry Barca and Forbes last month, trainer Virgil Hunter emphasized the need to hang with Mayweather and try to land that Kryptonite punch. “If you can keep him (Mayweather) right there with you, or even a half a thought ahead of you, then you're right there in this fight,” Hunter said. “Then what it boils down to is a certain punch landing and doing enough damage to hurt him, which he (Berto) can do.”
The big question is how much Berto still has in that right hand of his. Sadly, the answer appears to be “Not much.” Ever since he tore a tendon in his right shoulder two years ago while losing to Jesus Soto Karass, Berto hasn't been able to generate the kind of power he used to. There's still some pop in there, as Josesito Lopez discovered back in March, but it's just not the same as it was when Berto held the WBC Welterweight title.
He's Going the Distance
Be that as it may, if Berto does manage to upset Mayweather, a knockout is probably how it will happen. Looking at the boxing props for Saturday's fight, Berto is +2850 to win by KO, TKO or DQ, compared to +3225 to win by decision. On the flip side, updating our earlier look at Mayweather's most likely path to victory, he's now available at –191 to win by decision.
That's the way we see it happening. It's very rare these days for a Mayweather fight not to end in a decision. For that matter, it's even rarer that he loses, so if you are thinking about taking a flyer on the underdog, Berto by KO/TKO/DQ will at least put more value in your boxing picks than Berto winning outright.