With the announcement of the huge September 14 superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez quite rightly being met by almost-unanimous approval from boxing fans, the bookmakers have wasted little time in putting together their early lines.
As with every Mayweather fight, a win for the man in the opposite corner will be the best possible result for the layers (if we exclude the faint possibility of their favourite outcome, the draw). And, as with every Mayweather fight, it's ‘Money' who is the firm odds-on favourite, even against an opponent like Canelo, surely the epitome of the ‘hungry young lion' Mayweather's talked about.
So what's new? The big difference here, of course, is that in the Guerrero, the Cotto, the Mosley fights (et al), only a rebellious minority fancied the chances of the underdog - seemingly almost to take the stance of ‘well, I told you so' in the extremely unlikely event the outsider actually pulled the huge upset. In Canelo, however, we have a fighter that a significant number of people will favor to win - and, in one of those rare twists for a Mayweather fight - will be favored to do so based on ability, not driven (at least, perhaps, not solely) by regional or national bias or, more simply, a dislike of the consensus pound-for-pound number one. Make no mistake: Canelo is as legit an available opponent as there is for Mayweather, and the initial excitement that the announcement of the fight was met with is entirely justified.
Mayweather opened a general -225 favourite (-200 and -250 also widely available) earlier today, with Canelo priced at just under two-to-one (+175 and +187 widely available). In the UK, interestingly, the early lines are more pro-Mayweather, with -250 the best available on the Grand Rapids native. With other books, though, the line is wider. Mayweather's as short as -350, shorter than a one-to-three favourite, with Irish firm Boylesports. Oddsmaker William Hill has Mayweather at -333, and there's similar prices to be found elsewhere. Both books have Canelo as a +240 favourite (12/5 in European terms) - slightly better than two-to-one.
The notion that Mayweather-Canelo will be the biggest-grossing fight since De La Hoya-Mayweather in May 2007 will only be proven by the gate and PPV receipts once the dust has settled toward the end of September, but certainly in betting terms, this is, at least, set to be Mayweather's most competitive. We haven't seen as big a price as -250 on Mayweather since that De La Hoya fight, when -185 was fleetingly available (closing around -200), or when he fought Ricky Hatton later the same year, when Mayweather reached a similar price - at least in the UK, where layers took on huge liabilities with the public's late support of the ‘Hitman'.
An interesting yardstick can be found when looking at the odds for that other superfight - the ill-fated Mayweather-Pacquiao conundrum - which is still readily available to bet on, for those who may enjoy investment propositions with no foreseeable payout. In what's been an understandably long-running market, the Mayweather-Pacquiao lines seemed to fluctuate on the back of every dominant performance the two put in, and never were they closer than in the immediate aftermath of Pacquiao's lopsided victory over Miguel Cotto. Though at no point was Mayweather anything other than an odds-on favourite with the books, more recently he seems to have settled at around the -250 mark at best, with again, slightly shorter odds in the region of -333 available elsewhere. In other words, the layers think Pacquiao and Canelo offer an equal level of resistance to Mayweather - but not quite enough - between them, albeit in very different ways.
With the fight announced so early, and the press hype for this fight set to outdo anything we may have seen in a long time, there's little doubt that there'll be plenty of movement in the prices as public attention - and the depth of odds available in the market - grows. As with so much of the build-up to Mayweather-Canelo that's about to get underway, it's going to be fascinating to watch.