As we await the UFC on FOX 8 card scheduled for later this month, let’s take a look ahead to what will undoubtedly be the most highly anticipated fight in years for the sport of boxing between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 31 KO’s) and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 KO’s).
The bout, which will take place inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 14, will be for the WBA (Super) Light Middleweight, WBC Light Middleweight, and The Ring Light Middleweight straps.
Currently, Mayweather holds the WBC crown, Alvarez the WBA and Ring titles, and for the first time ever the combatants will also be competing for the first world championship belt made of solid gold.
The bout is being fought at a catch-weight of 152 lbs. and the WBC has created a 24k solid gold belt, with the strap made from Ferrari leather, for what is sure to be a most spectacular event. In fact, ticket sales for the event set a Las Vegas “live-gate” record of almost $19 million and were completely sold out within 24 hours.
I’ve since spoken to several scalpers (or as they prefer to be called ticket brokers) who claim to be receiving as much as $20k per ticket for their most premium seats. So rest assured we are on the verge of witnessing a Las Vegas “fight night” comparable, if not surpassing the most prestigious and memorable in this “boxing capital’s” history.
And whether or not the actual fight is able to live up to the hype leading up to it, which they rarely ever do, it is sure to be the sport’s biggest night.
Oddsmakers sent the betting line out with Mayweather listed as a -250 favorite and the take-back on Alvarez +200. From there, we saw it drop at some locations and increase at others, before ultimately settling within 20 cents either way of the opening price at the majority of books.
Simply put, this is a fight that’s destined to shatter previous records for volume and handle, and with everyone having an opinion, books will most likely look to limit their exposure and attempt to allow the vig to guarantee a good night.
To do this they’ll need to attain some sort of balance and not find themselves one-sided, where they’ll find themselves with a rooting interest. Thus far, books I’ve spoken to say that shouldn’t be too difficult as the current price reflects a competitive fight is to be expected, when compared to the betting line for both champions in previous bouts.
For the most part, bettors were priced out of being able to back either man since they were almost always extremely high favorites.
What we have are two of the sport’s biggest names and, more importantly, biggest draws.
There’s no debating Mayweather is the principal draw in boxing, followed by Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, according to the amount of revenue their fights earn. With that said, at only age 22, Saul Alvarez has warranted being included in that mix, having headlined events in a very short period of time.
It recently became quite obvious during an 11 city promotional tour to promote their bout that unlike almost all of Mayweather’s previous opponents, Alvarez will not have to take a back seat as far as popularity and fan base.
In fact, Alvarez’s fans not only outnumbered Mayweather’s in most of those 11 cities, they were said to have outnumbered them in all 11, including “Money’s” own home-town of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It would not surprise me. Just the opposite, I expect come fight night even here in Las Vegas, the adopted home of Mayweather where he’s become an icon of sorts, when the bell sounds to start the action there will be more “Canelo” supporters in the stands.
The reason I bring this all up is to show the magnitude of this event, where even the No. 1 pound-for-pound king of boxing will be “sharing” the stage and ring with a worthy adversary, as opposed to being the main and sole reason fans will be out in droves to see the fight live or on pay-per-view.
We are now only two months away and you can already feel the excitement mounting. Mayweather’s training camp, held at Mayweather Boxing Club was actually scheduled to begin this week with sparring obviously a few weeks away.
In coming weeks we’ll take a look at how both camps are progressing, what the betting line looks like, and of course I’ll close it out with my analysis and prediction for the actual fight itself.
If there’s one thing I can promise you, it’s that I have a strong opinion for this bout and one that will be surely backed with a significant, if not obscene, sized wager. As a professional bettor even I’m not immune to getting caught up in all the hype at times.
This bout has definitely drawn me in and I’m sure will do the same to all fight fans in the weeks ahead.
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @vegasrunner, at Pregame.com and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].