Vegas is ready for a party with about 330,000 partygoers in town for the long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The odds started at 22-1 but are now -230 Mayweather and +185 with 73 percent of the bets placed on Pacquiao.
At the weigh in, Mayweather, who has never been remotely close to losing with a 47-0 record, was focused and somber, while Pacquiao, who scored a knockout in 2009, grinned. Bravado aside, at the end of the day, its their records that speak. The question will be answered Saturday night at MGM Grand.
Mayweather won his last two fights against Alvarez in 2013 and Maidana in 2014 by a majority decision. His highly touted fight against Oscar De La Hoya was a split decision with De La Hoya retreating as the fight wore on. Good advice when fighting Mayweather, experts say, is to keep up the pace and never stop dancing. That is made to order for Pacquiao who is quick-footed and packs a punch. Mayweather might be hard put to avoid Pacquiao’s brawling style and powerful southpaw.
The troubling thing for Manny and the name of the game for Floyd is Mayweather’s five extra inches when it comes to reach. However, Mayweather’s 26 KOs to Pacquiao’s 38 may spell trouble for Mayweather if he is never allowed to dominate the fight. Seventy-three percent of the bets being placed in Las Vegas are saying Pacquiao won’t let him, including a half a million dollar bet that was placed a few days ago. However, the rapper 50 Cent has placed a $1.6 million dollar bet on his friend, Mayweather, so there is strong support for both boxers. The most money is riding on Mayweather right now, and many are still betting on a draw. That where the sportsbooks are hoping not to be. If it happens, the sportsbooks may be paying out long odds, and no one wants that. The split the fighters will get is 60/40 with Mayweather getting the higher purse. Although “Money” Mayweather would be getting more millions in cash, another win would bring him closer to Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0.
Tickets at the MGM Garden Arena are sold out. Tickets are still available as resells for ringside seats ranging from $13,350 to $150,000. The cheapest available seat in the arena is $3,115. The odds are moving around a bit, but Mayweather is still the favorite to win although money is being thrown in Pacquiao’s direction. The big-moneyed gamblers often wait until the last day to place their bets, and the big money can swing the odds. While this is not unexpected, the lines on Pacquiao are fluctuating more than Mayweather.
Some things are harder to predict than others, and this fight falls square in the middle. Given his record, Mayweather may well be the winner. But, Pacquiao should not be discounted. Not yet, not by a long shot.
(All photos by Claudia Gestro)