It’s the fight everyone wanted to see, but is it too late? The boxing odds have opened Mayweather as a sizeable favorite for his (projected) fight against Manny Pacquiao, this May at the MGM Grand.
The Old Lines Don’t Work Anymore
Let’s take you back to December, when the buzz around this fight started picking up in volume. That’s when oddsmakers on the Strip started publishing their lines, and they opened with Mayweather (47-0 lifetime, 26 KO) at –260. At the time, handicapper and analyst Dave Cokin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “less than Mayweather –300 is a bargain,” saying he’d set the line closer to –500.
Going further back in time, to the fall of 2011 when it looked like these two superstars were about to clash, Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KO) was available at +120, with Mayweather a mere –150. These boxing odds were made shortly after Mayweather knocked out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round of their WBC World welterweight title fight. Since then, Mayweather has won five straight fights, while Pacquiao is 4-2 with losses to Timothy Bradley (+300) and Juan Manuel Marquez (+190).
Even if you overlook those two losses, it’s understandable why Pac-Man’s odds have grown longer over the past four years. He’s 36 years old now, a little slower and maybe a little less powerful a puncher as well – see his recent unanimous decision over Chris Algieri (+540), where Pacquiao couldn’t quite put down his overmatched opponent in the ninth round.
Mayweather is four years older too, but even at age 37, he figures to be in much better shape than Pacquiao, who has absorbed a lot more punishment in his career. Mayweather, a noted defensive specialist, has fought a total of 363 rounds as a pro and, of course, has never been knocked out; Pacquiao, a power puncher, has 407 rounds under his belt, and has been stopped three times.
Maidana Lies Over the Ocean
But what if the boxing odds continue to climb between now and May 2? What if Mayweather does end up around –500? Then you could certainly make a case for Pacquiao as a solid boxing pick. He did win his last three fights, after all, including his rematch against Bradley to regain the WBO World welterweight title. And while Mayweather won his last two fights, both against Marcos Rene Maidana, that first bout was a majority decision, as Maidana (+550) was able to land some big overhead right hands.
At least Pacquiao has something of a blueprint now for getting to Mayweather. But again, unless those boxing odds keep moving further toward the favorite, we’re not convinced that Pac-Man belongs in your boxing picks. Make sure to keep coming back to SBR for more odds and analysis as this situation develops – and let’s hope the powers that be can get that agreement finalized. If they could make Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson happen, they can do the same for Pacquiao-Mayweather.