Listen Now:  

What are the Odds? Breaking Down Mayweather/Pacquiao Myths!

Posted on 09/30/2011

by Hans Olson

After participating in a marathon of debates between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather supporters in recent days, I was discussing with some boxing friends how ridiculous the disparity is when it comes to public opinion regarding the super-fight the world wants.

Boxing fans point to the seeming “lack of difficulty” to the rivals that Floyd Mayweather has faced. Strangely, many continue to give a pass to Manny Pacquiao.

Photo: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos

The general consensus is that Manny has taken on tougher opposition—that Floyd “carefully hand-picks his opponents.”

I got a few good emails, this was the best one…read below:

Does Vegas Tell Us Who’s Better?

Boxing fans are all arguing about the difficulty of opposition for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. I thought of no better objective audience to help clear this up than the odds-makers in Vegas. They make a living deciding how close fights will be. I decided to pull a Colin Cowherd, and check in with some Vegas odds on Pacquiao and Mayweather fights. I couldn’t get odds for fights all from the same sports-book, so I had to use an average of numerous sites. Interesting find…..

Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Previous 6 opponents for each (using the odds for the upcoming Pacquiao/Marquez fight)

Manny 7.5/1 over Marquez (upcoming) Mayweather 7/1 over Ortiz
Manny 6/1 over Mosley Mayweather 3.5/1 over Mosley
Manny 4.5/1 over Margarito Mayweather 4/1 over Marquez
Manny 8/1 over Clottey Mayweather 2.2/1 over Hatton
Manny 3/1 over Cotto Mayweather 2/1 over Oscar DLH
Manny 2.5/1 over Hatton Mayweather 7/1 over Baldomir

Manny Pacquiao has been a bigger favorite over his past 6 opponents than Floyd has. What does that mean? It’s hard to say. It certainly puts a damper on the Pacquiao fans’ argument that Floyd has fought weaker opposition, because Manny’s been favored by a wider margin. Pac fans’ rebuttal would be that Manny’s such a better fighter, that he SHOULD have better odds over fighters than Floyd. However, if Floyd is worse, doesn’t that mean his opponents were closer to his skill level, meaning he had tougher fights? These odds just create more confusion. The next logical step, is to take common opponents, and compare the odds.

Manny 7.5/1 over Marquez (upcoming) Mayweather 4/1 over Marquez
Manny 2.5/1 over Hatton Mayweather 2.2/1 over Hatton
Manny 6/1 over Mosely Mayweather 3.5/1 over Mosely
Oscar 2/1 over Manny Mayweather 2/1 over Oscar

This seems even harder to decipher. Manny was favored over everyone at a higher rate except for Oscar. At first glance, this would seem to show that Pac-Man was perceived by Vegas as a better fighter than Floyd against the same fighters. Problem is, Mayweather fought each of these guys BEFORE Manny, except for Marquez. (That fact not really meaningful, as it was 3 weight classes lighter than now). What would the odds have been if Floyd had never beaten or fought these 4 guys? No one will ever know. Two fighters retired after fighting Manny (maybe 3 depending on what Mosley does.) Floyd moved to Jr. Middleweight to fight Oscar, while Pacquiao fought him at Welterweight. On the other hand, Floyd fought Hatton at Welterweight, while Pacquiao fought him at Jr. Welter. I guess you could say that these cancel each other out, except for the fact that Manny was actually an underdog when he fought Oscar. Even using something as objective as betting odds, there are still too many variables to make the linear “he’s better than him” equation.

Let’s take some other facts into consideration to try and get somewhere on this mess.

Not to be forgotten, is that out of the 3 options Manny had to fight last (Mosley, Berto, and Marquez) the person fans seemed to want Pacquiao to face, was Andre Berto. People knew Mosley was a mis-match. Berto went on to lose to Victor Ortiz, then Mayweather blew Victor’s candle out. So why do people make comments that Ortiz was a soft opponent, when he beat a guy people thought would be a tough opponent for Pac-Man? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Another point not to be lost is that when Pac beat Margarito, he was outweighed by 17 pounds on fight night. Margarito was at 165. Pacquiao was hailed as the toughest SOB with human DNA. Floyd fought Ortiz at a disadvantage of 14 pounds on fight night, Ortiz weighing in at 164. Did people give props to Mayweather for beating someone 14 pounds heavier on fight night? Nope. But they certainly should have. The difference between Ortiz and Margarito at crunch time? 1 pound. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao were fighting Super Middleweights in the ring in one of their last 2 fights.

So what would the problem be fighting Sergio Martinez? Chavez Jr. gained 20 pounds overnight against Zbik, and that was unheard of! If Martinez becomes mummified and makes 150, “Maravilla” would still probably be able to put a max of 18 pounds back on for fight night. That’s only 3 pounds heavier than Margarito was, and 4 pounds heavier than Ortiz! All of this “Martinez would be too big” is complete garbage, upon seeing that Sergio would weigh about the same as one of Floyd and Manny’s previous opponents. Will either of them fight Sergio? Probably not, so BOTH should get blamed for the inevitable excuses.


Woah, IHBoxing…that’s a heck of an email! Thanks for writing in…I’ll go over some of the key points…

1. I love that you got “all Colin Cowherd” and found some Vegas odds. Those odds tell the story right there. One thing though, is that Pacquiao brings in a lot of fans who put down a lot of cash on him…so some of those odds could get tipped a little unrealistically to lure gamblers to take the underdog. Wait a minute…Manny Pacquiao fans gamble? I thought everything Manny stood for was against something as sinful as gambling!!!!

Oh my goodness!!!

One thing is for sure though… you and many others see through the marketing machine. Hey, I like watching Manny Pacquiao fight just as much as the next guy…he’s an all-time great. It’s just that too many people are living in a fairy tale with their perceptions of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. I in no way mean to knock on Manny…I’m merely defending the tired ignorant firestorm which is thrown the way of Floyd Mayweather day in and day out.

The Andre Berto angle you presented was fantastic. What if Manny had fought Berto back in May rather than Mosley? If Manny won, people would talking about that victory like freakin Duran beating Leonard in Montreal! It would be an all-time great victory!

Unfortunately, Manny didn’t want to fight Berto.

And if he did, he sure as heck didn’t step up and voice his opinion.

Wait…was there more money to fighting a “name” opponent like Shane Mosley?

I thought it was only about the glory for Manny?

He fought someone that would be a lesser risk for more money??? Sound familiar?

This is all so confusing!!!!!

You pretty much nailed it with everything else you said.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again…

Manny Pacquiao is the one that needs to knock Floyd off from #1, not the other way around. Simple as that.


Lost in the shuffle of the P4P list were, you know…the other eight fighters on there! I did get one brief email that I wanted to share to clarify my stance on the #9 ranking.

Why Yuriorkis Gamboa is not here?!
To me he is very good?!


Hey Roberto…I was close to including him…but I feel that Chris John is slightly better!

No doubt that Gamboa will be cracking this list over the next year or so if he keeps fighting the way he has been! To me though, Gamboa just hasn’t been as consistent as Chris John. If there was one fight that I could make in the 126 lb division right now, it would be Chris John/Yuriorkis Gamboa. Let’s hope it happens.

Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson

Leave a Comment

More Columns

Listen to my podcast


Established in 1997 as a premier boxing destination. The staff of love hearing from people all over the world.



Send this to a friend