Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will make almost every boxing fan in the world happy on May 2, when the two welterweight legends finally meet each other in the ring.
It’s a fight that will likely earn the pugilists a record amount of money, could attract one of the largest pay-per-view audiences of all time, and will also draw more than its fair share of sports betting enthusiasts.
And while one fighter is clearly the betting favorite, there’s no shortage of fans looking to put money on the underdog.
“This fight will be the biggest bet fight in the history of Nevada,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “You are talking a ridiculous amount of money.”
Mayweather Deserving Favorite
For boxing fans, it comes as no surprise that Mayweather is the favorite.
He’s been the more consistent and seemingly untouchable fighter in the last few years, and comes in with an incredible record of 47 wins, no losses, and no draws, including 26 wins by knockout.
Odds on the fight have been available since rumors of an agreement flared up yet again months ago, and by Monday morning, Mayweather was listed as a -240 favorite: meaning that bettors would have to put $240 on Mayweather in order to walk away with a win of $100.
That makes Mayweather the clear favorite according to the bookmakers, but not an overwhelming one.
That’s no surprise, either: Mayweather has rarely had the chance to go up against a boxer the caliber of Pacquiao, the Filipino hero who has compiled a record of 57-5-2, including 38 wins by knockout. Pacquiao is currently listed as a +200 underdog, meaning a bet of $100 would win you $200 if he comes out on top.
“Pacquiao draws huge money and you can bet him at plus-money,” said Bogdanovich. “Bettors love him. He always brings it. His fights are nonstop action and people love that.”
Fans Bet on Pacquiao
Perhaps that’s why the vast majority of early betting has been on Pacquiao, possibly just as much from fans who want him to win as those who truly believe he will. There’s also the general tendency for underdogs with a chance to get most of the public betting: after all, casual bettors are attracted to the bigger payouts.
But promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank thinks that Pacquiao, whom he represents, might be just the man to put an end to Mayweather’s run.
“The reason I like my guy’s chances so much is because of his speed, the tremendous number of punches he throws, the quality of his punches and the fact that he is left-handed,” Arum told ESPN. “Top Rank promoted Floyd Mayweather for 10.5 years and we recognized that he had difficulty handling a speedy, left-handed fighter and that he and his father were insistent that we not match Floyd with a southpaw.”
While some have lamented that the fight is occurring a few years after both boxers were at their respective peaks, the Mayweather-Pacquiao match is still being billed as a “fight of the century,” as the two are still by far the top boxers of their weight class.
The bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2, and (provided it does not end in a draw), will unify the various welterweight world titles held by each.