WILL FLOYD MAYWEATHER BE FAVORED OVER MANNY PACQUIAO?
San Francisco , CA- When the great Herb Lambeck was the top oddsmaker in the world of boxing in the 80s and 90s, he operated out of Leroy’s Sports Book, a joint that was just that, a joint. Located on a side street in what was then a dirty part of downtown Las Vegas, at any given time, this before there were sports bars were on every corner in America, Leroy’s would show horse racing from various tracks around the country, this in addition to baseball, basketball and NFL games. A man whom everybody respected, Herb, AKA Herbie “Hoops” Lambeck taught me how to set the odds on boxing matches.
“LAST” ESPN HANDICAPPING CHAMP!
Always a generous sort with both his time and money, Herb was extremely pleased when I won the last held ESPN Top Rank boxing handicapping tournament. To his credit, promoter Bob Arum gave me $250 in cash and congratulated me for beating out Las Vegas’ best handicapper Dave Cokin, and others like the late writer Jack Welsh. Winning by just one fight after a year long battle, Lambeck applauded me because I never asked him for any advice. Once he taught me the ropes in the late 80s and told me I had the methodology down, Lambeck stepped back and watched his protege take it to the bog boys “Sin City.”
HOW DO ONE SET THE ODDS ON A FIGHT?
There are a lot of times when setting odds is not a difficult task. I mean if you have a fighter like prime rib going against hamburger, well then it isn’t very hard to figure out who to favor and by how much. It is the close, competitive matches, the fights that are compelling to both the handicapper and the fight fan, these are the matches that make you “him and haw.”
MAYWEATHER-PACQUIAO IS A FIGHT WITH BOTH HYPE & ANTICIPATION
Unless Manny Pacquiao gets upset by nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12, a fight that I list as 3-1 favoring Pacquiao, or Manny goes back on his reported willingness to submit to Random Drug Testing sans any 14-day windows or clauses, both he and Floyd Mayweather will fight in early 2012, probably in either March or May. That being the feeling both here and from insiders attached to both sides.
FLOYD WILL OPEN THE FAVORITE
Some fans are calling the fight a 6’5 pick ‘em event, meaning they see it as an even match. But much to the chagrin of some Pacquiao fans, Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) will open a 2 to 2 1/2 to 1 favorite. At this juncture in this article, I can already hear the moans coming from Internet cafes in the Philippines saying I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) or boxing. And while they will see these opening odds as somewhat of a slap in the face, these odds allow them to “get down” on Pacquiao a fat wad of cash, and get something for their wager. For example, $1000 on Pacquiao at 2 1/2 to 1 is a $3,500 return, thus if Pac wins, those putting down the early money shall prosper the most if Pac wins.
THE PACQUIAO FANS WILL DRIVE DOWN THE ODDS!
With every betting sports fan in the nation of 7,000 islands, as well as the huge Filipino population here in the US, these odds will fall faster than Paris Hilton’s drawers when she slept with that famous boxer on June 6, 1996. When the first bell rings, Mayweather might still be favored at something like 7 or 8-5, but that will be a far cry from the 2 or 2 1/2 to 1 opening odds.
WHY IS FLOYD THE FAVORITE ANYWAY?
Some of you will ask why would the Las Vegas odds gurus make Floyd the favorite? Well, there’s a saying in boxing that you go with the unbeaten fighter until he loses. Those that think Manny should be favored here will talk about his being more active than Floyd and his beating the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. While this is true, with the exception of Hatton, who had the same attitude William Joppy had when he fought the physically smaller Felix Trinidad, a total lack of respect for the smaller man’s punching power, only to get knocked out in less time than you would spend in line for a beer at a fight, Hatton, having no respect for the Pacman, got drilled in the blink of an eye, while Mayweather shut Hatton down before halting him late in the fight.
CATCH WEIGHT FIGHTS SHOULD HAVE AN ASTERISK NEXT TO THEM
The fights with the weight drained De La Hoya, Cotto, and Margarito, while they were all big wins for Pacman, the fact that they were forced to fight him at unnatural weights is enough to make future historians diminish the value of these victories. To date, Pacquiao’s most impressive outing was his putting Hatton nearly to sleep in two rounds.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE “PROPOSITION” BETS?
The aforementioned legend, Herb Lambeck was of the opinion that “Proposition Betting” or prop bets were for suckers. While you can great odds on a particular fighter knocking his opponent out in a certain round, the chances of being successful are somewhat slim. One proposition that both Herbie and I agreed on was the “Under-Over” bet. Take for example, if the “Under” is set at seven rounds, if you bet the “Over” and the bell rings for the 8th round, then you are a winner. Lambeck, who once put $10,000 on the Ray Leonard-Wilfred Benitez clash of 1979 to go the entire 15 rounds, nearly had a heart attack when referee Carlos Padilla stopped the fight with less than 15 seconds left to go. From that day forward, you couldn’t mention Padilla’s name around Herbie without the great oddsmaker unleashing a barrage of expletives.
WILL PAC-FLOYD OR FLOYD-PAC BREAK BETTING RECORDS?
With all the international attention this fight will be getting, and bookies worldwide taking bets on the Mayweather-Pacquiao match up, I think it’ll eclipse any prior boxing match in history. The masses of people will likely go with Pacquiao, while the wise guys will back Mayweather. Either way it goes, Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao will be the biggest fight in history. The only way it won’t be is “if” Juan Manuel Marquez can pull a rabbit out of his hat and beat the physically bigger Manny Pacquiao come November 12. And according to the experts, that’s a huge “IF.”