by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 7/22/2010
Will we ever see a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.? At this point, who knows? The fact it hasn’t happened yet is hurting boxing, but let’s face it, the sport has been known to shoot itself in the foot before. All I know is that bettors at Bodog’s Online Sportsbook desperately want to see it happen.
We’ve had a line for the Pacquiao-Mayweather super-fight since November of 2009 when talks started to heat up between the two competitors. Mayweather opened as a -160 favorite and Pacquiao was a +140 underdog. Heavy betting on the dog combined with an impressive TKO of Miguel Angel Cotto moved the line to Pacquiao +120. Another impressive title defense in March versus Joshua Clottey moved the line close to a ‘pick-em,’ where Mayweather held a slight edge at -120.
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Until May, all the action was on Pacquiao and the bout was a ‘pick-em’ at -115 aside. But after a dominant performance versus Shane Mosly, heavy betting on Mayweather moved the line back to -150.
It is a different situation for the book as we’re not use to having a bout up that is not scheduled while the two fighters fight different opponents. There has been so much movement on this line, mostly dependent on what the competitors were doing, and it’s amusing that we currently sit approximately where the line started last year. Mayweather is at -140; Pacquiao at +110.
If this fight never happens, it will be a boxing tragedy. And it’s not just that it would be a great fight, it’s that the sports needs as much positive press as possible, particularly with the rise of MMA, even though I’m not convinced that’s necessarily a bad thing for the sport. It just doesn’t look good when MMA is making great strides into the mainstream while boxing appears to be choking on its own incompetence.
As a bookmaker I can tell you that Pacquiao-Mayweather would garner more betting action than any UFC fight could. In fact, it wouldn’t even be close. Boxing is still the king of the big fight, as evidenced by both fighters’ matchups with Oscar De La Hoya, which were pay-per-view and betting bonanzas. The only problem, and it’s a big one, is the lack of product to sell fight fans. This is the bout everyone wants to see. Two stars in the same ring. One-star fights are a much tougher sell and always will be. If only they could figure it out.
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