Let's face it, you probably don't need this column to let you know that Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) is, as always, a firm favorite with the bookmakers ahead of his next rather large PPV outing. For those in search of a betting interest ahead of Saturday's blockbuster at the MGM Grand, though, there will be some consolation in the fact that there are at least some alternative options, other than choosing a Marcos Maidana-themed Hail Mary play.
It's safe to say that the main event - the proposed 46th consecutive victory in Mayweather's glittering career - hasn't captured the public imagination, nor enjoyed the crossover exposure that the Canelo Alvarez fight attracted last September.
Having opened at a landslide 1/14, there's been some minor adjustments in the Mayweather pricing across the board, but no more, and it's those same quotes that we'll be looking at right up until the opening bell tomorrow night. Priced up as short as a 1/20 favorite immediately following the announcement of the fight back in February, the bookies have shown but the merest glimpse of generosity, with Mayweather now at worst fourteens-on. European firm BWIN have on offer a somewhat incongruous -850 - but quite how much they're willing to take on it or for how long it sticks around remains to be seen. To put that into context, Mayweather's other recent prices have been around the -225 (Canelo), -750 (Guerrero), and -700 (Cotto) marks and, indeed, it's the more widely-available 1/10 (-1000) that looks to have settled as the mean across the major books, with Bovada also now in agreeance.
As ever, then, for many it's not a question of who'll win this fight, but more how Mayweather will win it. Despite his rousing points win over Adrien Broner at the back end of 2013, Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) - a best-priced +800 shot- would appear to need a knockout to prevail here, and so those looking for the upset may be better off taking the +1200 to pull off a monumental shock by not only beating, but violently stopping, Floyd Mayweather. Similarly, while Mayweather at 1/10 may not be particularly palatable for all but the highest of rollers, there's appeal elsewhere in the side markets.
Starting with Maidana, in his last six fights, two have gone the distance - once in victory, that decision win over Broner - and the other in which he was routed by Devon Alexander. If we exclude the homecomings that were his four-round stoppage of Petr Petrov and three-round blowout of Angel Martinez (whose three opponents prior to Maidana had a combined 26 and 29 defeats respectively), there's a run of a further three contests in which Maidana was taken the full twelve rounds (Morales, Khan, Corley), all of which were at light-welterweight. Delete Petrov and Martinez from the consideration with the reasoning that these were tune-ups and nothing more, and that's five of Maidana's last seven (71%) that have gone the distance. Clearly, Maidana can bang a little, as the stoppages of both Josesito Lopez and Jesus Soto Karass up at welterweight for two prove, but it's interesting to note that, for all his fearsome reputation as a puncher, there aren't quite as many instances of early nights as you might otherwise assume.
Further, Maidana - Hungry Young Lion that he is - has never been stopped, of course, and two from those five were defeats on the scorecard (Khan, Alexander). The paucity of knockout wins on Mayweather's ledger has, inevitably, been better documented - and despite some believing that he could have claimed #27 had he stepped on the gas against Alvarez last time out, the fact that an opportunistic wipeout of Victor Ortiz and a wearing down of an undersized Ricky Hatton are his only stoppage victories in nearly seven years cannot be ignored here.
Mayweather, as he often does, has spoken of wanting to win spectacularly, hinting that he'll stand in the pocket and trade with the Argentinian brawler, but it feels more likely that - perhaps after a few initial firefights in the early going - he'll revert to type and opt to outbox Maidana as and how he sees fit.
In comparison, then, Mayweather's record mirrors that five-from-seven Maidana stat, again suggesting that the notion we see the judges called upon weighs in at around the 70% mark. It's a fairly ham-fisted and clumsy calculation, as this author will be the first to admit - and there are many other factors to, well, factor in - but a cursory glance at BWIN's -183 that we go to the scorecards indicates decent value (-183 equates to a 65% probability), with the more general price of -200 (67% probability) across a wide range of books also looking more than fair.
As for which man gets the nod, in the Method of Victory market, Maidana's a best-priced +2000 to do the unthinkable and garner enough points on the cards to earn the nod, with the draw as large as +4000, although +3300 can be more easily found. Discount those two, then, and you're left with the bet that hunch alone would probably tell you is the wise choice: another Floyd Mayweather decision. There's some discrepancy between layers here, though. UK firm Spreadex are most wary of this specific outcome (-225), with Bovada at -200, and -175 the more common quote. It's the -150 (Betfred) and -162 available at a clutch of European firms that's of most interest though, and there's every argument that even the most conservative bookmaker stance looks marginally on the adventurous side.
On the undercard:
Amir Khan (-220) vs. Luis Collazo (+250)
J'Leon Love (-137) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (+140)
Adrien Broner (-1900) vs. Carlos Molina (+1200)