Saturday's big Showtime PPV card is nearly upon us and, while its ‘Mayhem' tag sounds more like a mid-nineties pro wrestling event than something that'd be happening in 2014 for $75 a pop, it should in theory provide some reasonable action - patchy undercard or otherwise. There's no surprise in how the bookies see the headline attraction going, but how does the rest of the card look from a betting perspective?
Floyd Mayweather vs Marcos Maidana, rematch, welterweights, 12 rounds, for Mayweather's WBC and WBA titles at welterweight and WBC title at junior middleweight
In the main event, Floyd Mayweather is, of course, a heavy favorite - currently best-priced as a 1/6 (-600) shot, but as fancied as 1/9 (-900) elsewhere - to beat Marcos Maidana (+550). You knew that already, right? Whether the rematch is entirely necessary is another subject for debate altogether, but one way or another it seems likely that we'll see a more definitive ending than the first fight provided.
Those odds suggest that Mayweather is, at worst, 85% likely to beat Maidana again - which, for those who thought the first was a very close-run thing (BLH scored it 115-113 for Mayweather), means that there could be more than a touch of value in the price on the Argentinian. There's little doubt that, in the first instalment, Maidana (an +800 underdog then) pushed Mayweather (the -1400 favorite) harder than anyone's done in years, and so it was inevitable that the layers were going to be a little more wary of the challenger this time - if, indeed you can ever call taking a stance on a favorite at -900 being wary. The best price for the draw is +2800.
Miguel Vazquez vs Mickey Bey, lightweights, 12 rounds, for Vazquez's IBF title
Vazquez - usually preceded by the ‘The crafty/wily/awkward' - is, at the very worst, the second-best lightweight in the world. Mickey Bey is barely even a contender. It's not often that you find a major rick in the quotes for huge fights like Mayweather-Maidana, but there's often plenty of scope for miscalculations on undercard fare, and this is a prime example.
It's hard to justify Bey getting the title shot here at all, let alone make a case for him to win, but hey, that's what rebounding from a knockout loss to John Molina with low-key wins over Carlos Cardenas (20-6-1) and Alan Herrera (32-5) can do for you. It's unlikely that Bey has too much to worry about in terms of being stopped again: with 13 KOs in 34 wins, Vazquez - that old crafty, wily, awkward dog - isn't much interested in looking spectacular.
Luckily for him, he's a damn fine boxer and, after a 2013 spent entirely out of the ring, returned in February to extend his win streak to 13 - a near six-year run since being outpointed for a second time by Canelo Alvarez, with his only other defeat inflicted in 2007 by Timothy Bradley, who also turned out to be, you know, pretty decent too. That February win over Denis Shafikov on a fairly rancid Zou Shiming Macau card was Vazquez's fifth straight decision victory, and the tenth in that sequence of 13 (77%).
In the outright market, Vazquez has been clipped in a little from the 1/3 (-300) he opened at, but at 3/10 (-333) is still at least over twice the price he should be, really. Looking at the Method of Victory pricing, and Vazquez is -162 (at worst-175 with competing firms). That's saying Vazquez is roughly 60% likely to win this fight on the scorecards. I'd say that's way out of line. There may be some concern among potential backers that Bey is a Mayweather fighter and what ramifications that could have on the scoring, but a look back at the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard shows both Ishe Smith and Ashley Theophane dropping splits on a similar stage. More to the point, the gulf in class between Vazquez and Bey compared to Smith/Molina and Cano/Theophane is considerably larger. Herein lies the value of the weekend.
Leo Santa Cruz vs Manuel Roman, super bantamweights, 12 rounds, for Santa Cruz's WBC title
This looks like a gross mismatch on paper and the layers agree. Santa Cruz, at the bookmakers' most generous is a 1/50 favorite this weekend (-5000). At their most cautious, he's a landslide 1/100 shot (-10000). Roman has been priced up as anything from a 14/1 (+1400) to a 20/1 (+2000) shot. Santa Cruz is just 2/9 (-450) to win inside the distance. Let's leave it at that, shall we?
John Molina vs Humberto Soto, junior welterweights, 10 rounds
Molina-Soto has been mooted as the likely show-stealer of the entire Mayhem card, and it's hard to argue too much with that. With three losses in the last six, Molina's record isn't pretty, but he emerged from his most recent contest - an absolute slobberknocker with Lucas Matthysse - with a huge amount of credit, and has that KO win over title contender Bey, further up the card here, also on his ledger. Bet365 - so far the only book to go up on this bout - have Molina as a reasonable favorite here, but there's not an awful lot in it. The California native is 2/5 (-250) to get back in the win column. While he's getting on a bit now, Soto does have some pedigree, and is 7/4 (+175) to notch a seventh straight victory, also since rebounding from being beaten up by Matthysse.
Alfredo Angulo vs James de la Rosa, middleweights, 10 rounds
At time of writing, no odds were available, but expect Angulo to be a four-digit favorite when the prices go up.