When the Las Vegas bookmakers sat down to discuss their opening betting line for the Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout of May 2nd for the WBC, WBA and WBO world welterweight titles, what do you suppose they talked about and how did they arrive at the Mayweather -210 and Pacquiao +170 betting line? Here are the 10 variables that were most likely discussed:
1. Mayweather has a height and reach advantage
Past history and tale of the tape: You have Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), a 36 year-old, southpaw with a 67” reach standing 5’6½” tall going up against the 38 year-old Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (47-0-0, 26 KOs) an orthodox fighter with a reach advantage of five inches (that’s a lot) and standing an inch and a half taller at 5’8” (also an edge).
2. Home cooking: who has the home court advantage?
Taking into consideration the fight is not going to be in the Philippines, and not at a neutral site, it’s going to be held at the MGM Grand Arena a short drive from Mayweather’s home in a city where he has fought 22 times, 10 straight at the MGM Grand, you would think you can’t get any more of a hometown advantage than that. But au contraire, Pacquiao has also fought 15 times in Las Vegas, 11 of those fights were at the MGM Grand.
3. Which boxer will have the most money bet on him?
What makes this line seem askew or should we say wonky is the fact that the Filipino people believe so strongly in their hero and everyone knows Asians have a penchant for gambling.
4. Being pragmatic as opposed to being an idealist
Some people say Floyd has this God complex, while Pacquiao is more down to earth. Pacquiao worships God. Floyd worships just one thing – Money. Over his career, Mayweather has fought as a super featherweight all the way up to light middleweight and has a record of 24-0 in world title fights. Pacquiao started out as a junior-flyweight (105-108 lbs., even though he weighed just 98 lbs. for his first fight) and then he progressed up the weight divisions to welterweight (140 -147 lbs.). His record is 18-3-2 (8 KOs) in World Title fights. That makes Floyd the bigger man with the ability to throw the more powerful punches.
Some things you are just born with and both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have this gift in their genetics. Heredity is even more pronounced when you look at the Mayweather clan. In this regard, Floyd is unparalleled with his singular shots and stiff jab. No one is faster. This has given many fighters pause, because even if the power isn’t shocking – the speed is. Once he gets you to start thinking about how, where and when that next strike will occur, you’re in trouble; similar to what fellow all-time great Roy Jones Jr. who had his opponents wondering. Surely, the pace and tempo will favor Floyd.
This is one of the most overlooked advantages in Mayweather’s répertoire. It allows him to slip and evade punches with regularity. He’ll often crowd, smother, or grab your arms before completely tying you up, the same way an octopus does. When he gets about 30 seconds to a minute of this each round, in essence he is shortening the fight.
This is where Floyd Mayweather separates himself from other boxers. While Pacquiao and his training exploits may be harder, Floyd is unsurpassed in this area, given his style and ring demeanor.
8. Which boxer has more ring savvy?
Most analysts will point to this as a pivotal factor in determining the outcome of a fight. Mayweather has a history of probing all of his opponents’ weaknesses during a fight and tends to be very thrifty with with the punches he throws. He’ll identify which punches work best and based on what he sees, he’ll then hit you over and over again with that punch. He’s also unlikely to trade blows with an opponent. He knows how to avoid those dangerous “anything can happen” moments.
9. Who is employing the better pre-fight sparring partners?
Pre-fight, both boxers have an opportunity to spar with some of the best boxers in the world. Those who can mimic the same fighting style as their opponent. Mayweather had been sparring with San Diego’s Giovanni Santillan from the Art of 8 Training Center here in San Diego, and he also has two more veteran lefties on call DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah.
Pacquiao’s people have been more secretive about who they have hired and the only name we can give you is the unbeaten super bantamweight world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, a southpaw who is so talented he can fight as a righty as well and mimic the Mayweather style. Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, also mentioned he has young talented fighters coming in from Chicago, Massachusetts and Finland to spar with Manny.
10. Which of the fighters is shop worn?
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) has been fighting for a very, long time (28 years) and has been in 64 professional fights while Mayweather (47-0-0, 26 KOs) has only fought 47 times as a pro.
As far as a recommendation from this boxing analyst: The Filipino population and the loyal Pacquiao backers here in the United States are going up against a stacked deck. If they have money to burn, there isn’t much you can say to keep them from betting on their compatriot, a gentleman who will, if necessary be carried out on his shield. The rest of the world will soon be jumping on the bandwagon, showing their excitement (hysteria) for this Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and by May 2, that betting line will certainly change in Mayweather’s favor. Therefore the best thing to do is wait for that to happen and get even better odds.
As always, the last word comes from Floyd, “No one should have been waiting until I became 47-0 to bet on me, they should’ve been betting on me from the beginning.”
betting on me from the beginning.”