While the unblemished record and pound-for-pound king of the ring moniker belong to the loquacious and flamboyant Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (47-0, 26 KOs), the initial wave of betting action for the undisputed champion’s May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) has heavily favored the Filipino sensation riding a three-fight win steak.
Officially announced to the world on February 20, the welterweight super-fight scheduled to take place May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas between the most recognizable fighters on the planet hit the board at the Westgate SuperBook with the undefeated Mayweather listed as a -275 favorite and Pacquiao posted as a +235 underdog. But an early onslaught of Pacquiao money forced a quick adjustment to the betting lines.
“The early action has been heavily weighted in favor of Pacquiao,” Westgate sports book assistant manager Jeff Sherman told The Queensberry Rules. “We took limit bets [$10,000] on Pacquiao at +235 and +225 to drive us to the current price of Mayweather -240 and Pacquiao +200.”
Sherman went on to state that 90 percent of the betting slips the Westgate sports book has already written were in support of Pacquiao.
Similar betting activity to what the Westgate has experienced took place offshore as well.
“My boxing staff had this line out for years, but when they made it official, our action went ballistic,” Peter Childs, the Head Supervisor of Risk Management at Sportsbook.ag told The Queensberry Rules. “We had Mayweather installed as a decent favorite of -300, but since the official announcement it’s been all Pacman money over the past three days. We’ve been steadily going down on our odds from -285 to -280, -275 all the way down to where we’re at -245 on Mayweather and +205 on Pacquiao.”
While there are a variety of reasons why Pacquiao is feeling the love at the betting windows this far in advance of the fight, the most likely is that sophisticated bettors are taking advantage of the fact that the wagering public has a strong distaste for Mayweather. This hatred generally manifests itself in bets against the undefeated fighter on fight night, which forces sports books to alter their lines in an effort to balance out the action by enticing more Mayweather action. As a result, these sophisticated bettors are wagering on the idea that a price of Pacquiao at +235 or higher is the best the market will have to offer, meaning there will never be a time the “Filipino Flash” offers more betting value than now.
“From all early indications, the public is going to hammer Pacman in this fight, but we believe Mayweather is the side the wiseguys are going to support,” said Childs. “I believe sharp money is just waiting for the betting public—who love betting the underdogs in major fights—to drive this price even further down. I’m not sure how much lower this price gets, but the one thing we do know is that we’ll be going into this fight needing Mayweather.”
Approximately six years in the making, the long-anticipated showdown between two of boxing’s most legendary superstars will result in a financial windfall for the city of Las Vegas, with the cheapest tickets going for no less than $1,000 apiece and ringside seats expected to fetch in the neighborhood of $5,000, grossing the host property a gate of roughly $40 million. Additionally, hotel rooms located elsewhere on the Las Vegas Strip that would normally command $300 on a Saturday night are currently going for $800.
“This the most action I’ve ever seen this far in advance of a fight,” said Sherman. “Along with breaking economic figures for the city, this fight will break records in the sports books as well.”
Top Rank Founder and CEO Bob Arum told ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas on Monday that only those with a credit limit of $250,000 or more at the MGM Grand would be eligible for comped tickets to the fight.
Those priced out of attending this historic showdown in person can anticipate spending in the neighborhood of $90-$100 to watch Mayweather and Pacquiao square off on pay-per-view.
EXACT RESULT PROPS FROM THE WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK
Manny Pacquiao by KO, TKO or Disqualification: 5/1
Manny Pacquiao by Decision: 9/2
Floyd Mayweather by KO, TKO or Disqualification: 6/1
Floyd Mayweather by Decision: 4/7