Fight ‘oddity’ factored into betting odds

Jun 4, 2002 2:27 PM

The Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight is shaping up to be one of the more bizarre in the history of the heavyweight division, if that’s possible.

            Among other things, the fighters will have separate weigh-ins, separate press conferences and separate ring announcers to make the respective introductions.

            Separate ring announcers? For whatever reason, Jimmy Lennon Jr. will announce Mike Tyson and Michael Buffer will do the honors for Lennox Lewis.

            While the fight is brewing up as an oddity in a sport slowly losing its credibility, Las Vegas bookmakers are “odds-on” in expecting a good showing at the betting windows.

            Some bookies may even capitalize on the odd-ball nature of Mike Tyson. At Station Casinos, sports guru Art Manteris has posted an intriguing prop bet: Will the Tyson-Lewis fight end in a disqualification or declared “no contest?” The line opened at —1000 that it would not and +700 that it will.

            Apparently bettors believe that Tyson could self destruct in the ring; the early action has pushed the “Yes” outcome to +600 with the no option slipping to —900.

            Station Casinos also posted standard betting props, including Lewis to win the fight at —185, with a take-back on Tyson of +160.

            Insiders note that money should continue to come in on the underdog, and bettors wanting to back Lewis should wait until the last minute, when his odds could drop to as low as —160.

            Other props that could add to betting interest are:

  ”¡ Will the fight go a full six rounds? (+130 that it will, —150 that it won’t);

  ”¡ Will the fight go a full 12 rounds? (+500 that it will, — 700 that it won’t);

  ”¡ Tyson by decision: 7-1

  ”¡ Tyson by KO: 2-1

  ”¡ Lewis by decision: 9-5

  ”¡ Lewis by KO: 5-8

  ”¡ Pick the round, such as Tyson in 5 (15-1) to Lewis in 10 (20-1), etc.

            Most bet shops in town are expecting at least mild betting interest in the fight.

            “Mike Tyson has an aura about him that attracts attention and the betting interest has reflected it,” said Micah Roberts, sports book director at Palace Station. “It seems whether you like or dislike Tyson, each of those factions watch to see what he’ll do next with anticipation.”

            Indeed, there is a faction of bettors who would like to see Tyson thoroughly beaten by Lewis.

            “Perhaps if Tyson is soundly beaten, he will disappear from the boxing scene,” said one bettor at a local sports book. “The sport of boxing will be better without his appalling presence.”

            Some are willing to give Tyson the benefit of the doubt and expect at least a competitive fight.

            “I think it will be a good fight and I do anticipate Tyson to be on good behavior,” Roberts said.

            And if he isn’t, that +600 bet may be the right side!