Bettors’ Guide for Mayweather-Canelo and More!

Promoters, television executives, boxing experts, talking heads and casual sports fans are calling Saturday night’s fight pay per view fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather (44-0) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1) the “Super Bowl of Boxing.” As discussed on this site yesterday, it certainly is big enough to be called that. Thus, we are going to treat “The One” like the NFL’s Super Bowl which has its own nickname… “Gambler’s Christmas.”

The most obvious bet to tackle is who will win the big one, Mayweather against Alvarez. Mayweather is listed anywhere between a 2 to 1 to a 3 to 1 favorite (the MGM’s Sportsbook has Floyd at -240 and Canelo at +200; lists Mayweather at -280 and Canelo at +220; has Mayweather at 1-3 and Canelo at 12-5; and has Mayweather at -275 and Canelo at +235). Mayweather is the favorite for a reason. He is the best defensive fighter in the sport and he rarely gets hit clean, either to the body or the head. When Mayweather does get hit, his superb conditioning and mental toughness allows him to weather the rare rough moments. There was a theory among boxing experts, especially after Mayweather ended his “retirement,” that his increasing age would cause him to move around the ring a lot less and stand in his opponent’s punching range. That was true in his bouts with Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. Perhaps because Mayweather was hurt by Mosley and hit a good amount by Cotto, he reunited with his father Floyd Mayweather, Sr., who is more defensive minded. Floyd Sr.’s influence was apparent in the younger Mayweather’s May bout with Robert Guerrero. In that fight, Mayweather used his legs to frustrate Guerrero in an easy win.

Aside from his defense, Mayweather also has a vastly underrated offense. The main reason his offense is underrated is because he is not a big puncher. However, he certainly hits hard enough to get respect. His jab is very good and he has been using it more since his return from “retirement” in 2009. Mayweather also leads with right hands and left hooks which surprise a lot of fighters because it is unusual. His opponent’s are also put off guard by Mayweather’s top-notch hand speed which allows him to land lead left hooks. The hand speed also allows Mayweather to be the game’s best counter-puncher. Money’s counterpunching is what really frustrates opponents and gains points with the judges… first he makes his opponent miss with their offense, then he snaps their head back with his own punches.

Alvarez really hasn’t shown anything that says he can overcome Mayweather’s advantages. He does not have great handspeed (something Zab Judah and Mosley used to have minor success against Mayweather) nor is he really an all out pressure fighter. Canelo has a pretty good defense but his use of the shoulder roll is not fullproof and Alfonso Gomez and Austin Trout were able to hit him when he used that defense. The biggest worry I have with Canelo is that he will throw a lot of punches early which miss. That will make him frustrated and cause him to throw wilder punches. All of that will lead to Mayweather picking his spots and landing counters to pile up the rounds.

I am also concerned about the weight issue. The contract for this bout requires Canelo to weigh at 152 pounds or less, two pounds less than his normal weight. If you are saying that its only two pounds, then you do not understand the rigors of a weight cut. Even if two pounds was nothing, Canelo, at 23 years old, looks more like a super middleweight now than a junior middleweight. The middleweight division is clearly in his future. For now, the hard weight cut could impact his conditioning. Mayweather is not going to push a fast pace but if Canelo had a hard weight cut and he gets hit early, the late rounds will be extremely tough for him.

The best strategy for Canelo is to use his jab a lot. Oscar De La Hoya won rounds with his jab before abandoning it in his 2007 showdown with Money. Canelo should do that and use his stregnth to get Mayweather to the ropes. If Mayweather leans on the ropes, Canelo should have the ability to land punches, especially to the body. This will catch the eyes of the judges and get the crowd (expected to be heavily Mexican and strongly in favor of Alvarez) roaring which should also influence the judges. That said, Mayweather has underrated physical stregnth and he is accustomed to counterpunching off the ropes.

All in all, Money May has an answer for everything the young Mexican has to offer. Mayweather is the pick.

Since this is the “Super Bowl of Boxing,” we are not limited to only “win” bets; there are proposition bets as well. The most notable prop bet is for either fighter by knock out… Canelo winning by KO is 4-1 (MGM) or 11-2 (Bet365) and Floyd by KO is 11-5 (MGM) or 5-1 (Bet365). Stay away from either bet. Rather, putting money on the fight going the distance (Bovada will give you -285) is the bet.

If you read Gabriel Montoya’s excellent article on Maxboxing ( predicting a draw, you may want to put a few dollars on the 12-1 (MGM) or +2000 (Bovada) bet to try to score a big win. Draws are overwhelmingly sucker bets though.

One of my favorite prop bets, while thinking about the “Super Bowl” comparison, is that Bovada will give you a point spread on the scorecards… Mayweather is giving Canelo 9.5 points! That means Mayweather only has to do better than winning 115-113 (7 rounds to 5) on one card and 116-112 (8 rounds to 4) on the two other cards to cover the spread. That is a safe bet… Mayweather giving the points is the pick.

You want more bets… of course you do and that is what the undercard is for. In the awesome co-feature, the Ring Magazine, WBC and “super” WBA light welterweight titlist Danny Garcia ( -0) will face “interim” WBC light welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse (-2) to determine the champion at 140 pounds. While both fighters have been on impressive winning streaks against quality opponents (, Matthysse has been installed as the clear favorite (MGM: Matthysse at -320 and Garcia at +250; Bovada lists Matthysse at -260 and Garcia at +200; Bet365 has Matthysse at 2-5 and Garcia at 2-1; and SportBet has Matthysse at -280 and Garcia at +240). There is a reason for that: while Garcia is a fantastically skilled fighter, offensively and defensively, Matthysse matches his skills. On top of that, Matthysse is a more aggressive fighter, has shown a better chin, and is an enormously bigger puncher. Garcia will use his skills and will to stay in it for a while but he is getting stopped here. Matthysse is the pick.

The other title bout on the undercard will have Las Vegas’ own Ishe Smith (-5) defending his IBF junior middleweight title against Carlos Molina (-4). Somewhat suprisingly, Molina has been installed as two to one favorite (Bet365 lists Molina at 4-11 and Smith at 2-1). We already discussed earlier in the week that this fight will likely be a bore. Molina seems to have done better against better opposition (see his “draw” with Erislandry Lara and disqualification “loss” to James Kirkland, both fights Molina deserved to win) as compared to Smith who has lost everytime he stepped up (it could be argued that Smith’s best win was against Pawel Wolak). Smith does have the advantage of being the “house” fighter meaning that his promoter, Mayweather Promotions, is involved in putting on the card. That will probably not be enough… Molina is the pick.

That is 5 picks for you. Mostly I am going with the chalk but I just don’t see any upsets here (the best chance for an upset is probably Smith). I think that should help you all make money. Just don’t lose it all on NFL betting on Sunday!

Author’s Record for the Year: 51-18-5 (Last week, I went 1-0-1 [I keep track of the draws which are really losses but I like to keep them seperate]. Chris Arreola’s knock out of Seth Mitchell was easy to pick. I thought that Ricky Burns would fight close enough with Raymundo Beltran to get a hometown decision but I didn’t figure he would be dominated so thoroughly that the incompetent judges could only give him a draw).

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