Bettors’ Guide/Preview: Mayweather vs. Guerrero and More

If one were to look at Floyd Mayweather’s (43-0) twitter timeline and the photographs on it, you may think that the love of his life is not boxing or Ms. Jackson or music or his children; rather it would seem that the main passion of his life is gambling. Coincidentally, his fight on Saturday night against Robert Guerrero (31-1-1) will take place at the arena inside the MGM Grand Casino, itself in the US capital of gambling, Las Vegas, Nevada, on a day that could be considered a gambler’s holiday given that it will have NBA and NHL playoff games, a full slate of baseball games and the Kentucky Derby. With that in mind, I’m sure the man known as “Money” would be offended if the masses did not gamble on his fight. Heck, I think its safe to assume that he has a large amount of money on the fight (for him to win, of course).

The odds for this fight are fairly consistent. The MGM Grand sportsbook currently has Mayweather as a -750 favorite and Guerrero as a +500 underdog. Bovada (www.bovada.lv) lists Mayweather at -750 and Guerrero at +475. Bet365 (www.bet365.com) has Mayweather at 1-10 and Guerrero at 11-2. Sportbet (www.sportbet.com) has Mayweather listed as a -650 favorite and Guerrero at +475. Basically, Mayweather is a 7 to 1 favorite. Those are large odds for a boxing match. After all, there are only two combatants (both of whom are world class) as opposed to the Kentucky Derby where any of 20 horses can win it.

To that end, I am sure you are thinking Guerrero is a good value bet. You would be right. Certainly, there are people picking “The Ghost” to pull off the upset. Those people would cite Guerrero’s southpaw stance as the main reason for that pick and remind everyone that Mayweather had problems against lefty fighters such as Demarcus Corley and Zab Judah. Another reason in favor of a Guerrero pick is his youth, solid boxing skills and determination. Guerrero himself gives himself a great chance to win because he says Mayweather has diminished with age and gets hit more than he used to do.

While a bet may be a good value, that doesn’t mean that it is a winning bet. Mayweather is the better boxer with a much better defense. With his recent defensive slippage in mind, he mended fences with his father, Floyd Mayweather, Sr., who is a noted defensive trainer. Further, while “Money” is not a big puncher, neither is Guerrero and I would opine that Mayweather’s speed makes him a better puncher. He most certainly has advantages in hand and foot speed. Guerrero, unlike Mayweather’s past 2 opponents (Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto) is not a bigger fighter; they are the same height and Mayweather has a two inch reach advantage. Moreover, while Guerrero has some good wins, his level of competition is not close to Mayweather’s.

Guerrero’s other disadvantage would be outside distractions. First, he has never been in a fight of this magnitude. Second, his arrest last month on gun charges in New York must be weighing on his mind. It certainly was enough to cause his team to close their training camp to the media. This is not the way to enter the biggest fight of your career. That said, Mayweather has some distractions as well. This week, the mother of his children, Josie Harris, gave an interview to Yahoo where she made it clear that Mayweather attacked her and disputed his claims that he did not hit her. This issue had been around prior to the Cotto fight but having them re-appear on fight week cannot be a good thing. Harris also claimed that she and Mayweather had since reconciled and even were “intimate” on one occasion. I’m sure that Mayweather’s fiance, Chantel “Ms.” Jackson, has spoken to the fighter about that this week especially since she said in no uncertain time on Showtime’s All Access show that they did not have an open relationship aside.

Regardless, Mayweather has proven over the years that he puts distractions to the side on fight night. He has also proved his ability to win under a variety of in-the-ring circumstances. Mayweather is the pick.

Because this is such a big event, I’ll even entertain some “prop” bets on the fight. Mayweather by decision is 5-9 (MGM), 8-13 (Bet365) or -200 (Bovada) and by KO, TKO or disqualification is even money (MGM), 7-4 (Bet365) or +260 (Bovada). Guerrero is too skilled to walk into a knock out punch and he has a very good chin. Additionally, Mayweather is too careful to take the chances he may need to in order to score a knock out. Mayweather by decision is the pick. Along with that choice, take the over on any of the round bets (over round 3.5 is -3000; over round 5.5 is -1400; over round 7.5 is -750; over round 9.5 is -475; and over round 9.5 is -280 – all according to Bovada; MGM has over 10 at -350). Also, please be advised that the draw bet (30-1 at the MGM; 33-1 at Bet365), as it is in all fights, is a sucker’s bet.

On the undercard, Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-4) defends the WBC featherweight title against former bantamweight and junion featherweight titlist Abner Mares (25-0-1). Mares is a 2-7 (Bet365) or -280 (Sportbet) favorite over Ponce de Leon (a 5-2 or +240 underdog). Ponce de Leon has advantages in size and punching power and that is about it. But everytime he has stepped up to fight an “A” level fighter, he has lost. Mares is the better boxer, has good power, especially to the body, and is an excellent pressure fighter. Mares is the pick. Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1), at -2000 (Sportbet) or 1-20 (Bet365), is a huge favorite over Alexander Munoz (36-4). He has youth, aggression, good power, technique and Munoz is coming off a two year layoff and a fight against a tomato can. Santa Cruz is the easy pick. If that is too many favorites for you, then look for underdog Gabriel Rosado (21-6) to perform well against J’Leon Love (15-0). Rosado has faced the better opposition and although he may be worn down a little from prior wars, Love is not a big hitter. Additionally, Mayweather Promotions has a habit of putting its fighters, of which Love is one, in tough before they are ready. Rosado, a 6-5 (Bet365) underdog, is the pick.

Speaking of underdogs, heavyweight challenger Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1) is a very, very large underdog (12-1 by Bet365, +1750 by Sportbet, +1400 by Bovada). There is good reason. He is untested when compared to the champion, Wladimir Klitschko (59-3). Klitschko has every advantage in this bout. The only way to make money on his when he is a -3500 favorite is to put a significant amount of money on the bet (known in gambling terms as a “bridge jumper bet” because if you lose, you want to jump off a bridge). I would suggest that is appropriate here… Pianeta has no chance. Klitschko is the pick.

That is 5 fight picks and 2 prop bets. I would have picked a horse to win the Kentucky Derby as well but its been a busy fight week. Best of luck and enjoy the fights!

Author’s Record for the Year: 20-5-2 (I tried for 7 for 7 last week and after sweating out Amir Khan’s survival against Julio Diaz, Sergio Martinez’ close call against Martin Murray and Danny Garcia’s rough late rounds against Zab Judah, Chris Arreola ruined my perfect week by getting dropped, roughed up and losing a decision to Bermane Stiverne).

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