By Ivan G. Goldman
You can get better odds wagering on a knockout by either fighter than you can get betting on underdog Manny Pacquiao in his super-fight against Floyd Mayweather on May 2.
A bet that the fight will go under 11 ½ rounds is listed at +275. The over is -335. That means $100 on the under wins $275 and you have to wager $335 to win $100 on the over. Bear in mind that the under bet still wins if the fight is stopped on cuts or for any technical reason. So if you want to bet on a knockout, clearly the oddsmakers are more than happy to let you do it.
Meanwhile the odds have slimmed down from 3-1 in favor of Mayweather to 2-1. Those 3-1 odds were posted before the fight was announced. Last I looked on the 5dimes offshore betting board it was +175 Pacquiao, -210 Mayweather. Those odds can move any moment, as money and information come in.
These steep kayo odds are understandable when you consider that in their last 20 fights the two fighters have wracked up a total of only three kayos – Floyd’s stoppages of Ricky Hatton and Victor Ortiz and Manny’s of Miguel Cotto.
Those knockout stats can make you wonder whether all the hoopla over this contest makes sense. But they’re both great fighters who can still hammer out victories over other welterweights, even though Mayweather is 38 and Pacquiao is 36, ages when most fighters have either been sent out to stud or should have been.
But you also have to ask why the odds have been narrowing. After all, Philippines Congressman Pacquiao has five losses, three by knockout, and Mayweather stands undefeated. One reason is that Floyd avoided this fight so long. Oddsmakers figure there must be a reason.
No, they didn’t believe him when he used his dislike of Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, as an excuse. Or when he said Pacquiao was an unworthy opponent.
Oddsmakers aren’t sentimental types. They figure when Floyd was so leery of a fight that would make him the biggest purse in history, there had to be another reason. Maybe he was unwilling to tangle with a fast southpaw with power. On the other hand, Zab Judah was a fast southpaw who could hit, and Floyd had little trouble against him. A masterful boxer like Mayweather can handle the southpaw angle.
Still, why did Mayweather wait so long to pick up all this money? In order to make the fight happen, Les Moonves, chief of CBS, which owns Showtime, had to get personally involved. Showtime is sharing broadcasting duties with HBO.
This fight is so big the promoters have rented the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for the opening press conference Wednesday. It holds 7,100. And they’re keeping tabs on who gains entry. You have to apply for a credential in advance.
In other words, the promoters are making media wait in line to give them free publicity. Such press events usually draw under 100, and that’s when they offer a free meal. Doesn’t sound like there’s any food at this one. Stay tuned.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.