Cotto-Canelo lands at Mandalay Bay

August 18, 2015 3:06 AM
by

Miguel Cotto Professional Boxer After a lengthy negotiation process permeated with numerous obstacles and delays, the two sides have finally agreed to terms and the mega-fight is now official.

The long awaited clash between Puerto Rican boxing icon Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KO’s) and rising Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO’s) will finally happen.

Las Vegas plays host on Nov. 21 after Mandalay Bay Events Center won out as venue for this middleweight championship bout over Madison Square Garden. Cotto is partial to New York City and Alvarez to Los Angeles, therefore a neutral site was chosen to accommodate this highly anticipated bout.

Though the fight will be contested at a catch-weight of 155 pounds, Cotto’s WBC, Lineal, and The Ring Magazine middleweight titles will be on the line. The current champion beat Sergio Martinez for those straps in 2014, but has yet to defend them at the 160-pound middleweight limit.

Against Martinez, Cotto weighed in at only 155 pounds and his first defense this past June against Daniel Geale was at the catch-weight of 157 pounds. Cotto belongs at junior middleweight and most consider Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin the “real” champion at 160 pounds, but Cotto carries a lot of clout within the business side of boxing and it’s afforded him the role of “shot caller” in most contract negotiations.

In fact, Canelo ultimately had to concede to much of Cotto’s demands for this fight to materialize even though he’s arguably been a bigger draw in the ratings. The purse for this mega-fight is $17 million, with Cotto taking home a guaranteed $10.5 million and Canelo $6.5M. But this is the fight Alvarez has wanted for more than a year and one his promotor Golden Boy believes can catapult him to a global luminary.

Oddsmakers wasted no time in sending out an opening betting line and bookmakers wasted even less time putting it up on the board. Here in Las Vegas the Westgate Super Book listed the 25-year-old Alvarez as a -215 favorite against Cotto, who will be 35 on fight night.

That price didn’t last long as 48 hours after opening the betting, the current line shows Alvarez -250. In terms of probability the opening line showed oddsmakers believed Alvarez has a 68% chance of winning, but the bettors speculated it’s even greater, forcing the adjustment to reflect 72% at the current price.

Rest assured, with almost threemonths before they step inside the ring, and betting limits increasing as the fight draws near, the betting line should move some more. We have plenty of time between now and then to handicap this title fight and decide whether either man or possibly even a prop bet offers value that warrants a walk to the betting window.

Floyd and 49-0

Last week I touched on a pay-per-view bout that isn’t too far away…which I personally made a substantial sized wager on just a few days ago.

On Sept. 12, the MGM Grand Garden Arena will showcase what may be the final fight in the celebrated career of Floyd Mayweather Jr. (48-0, 26 KO’s) as he takes aim at Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0. He’ll also attempt to defend his WBA (Super), WBC, and The Ring Magazine straps that night against current WBA Interim Welterweight champion Andre Berto (31-3, 24 KO’s).

Though many have questioned Mayweather’s choice of opponent for what will subsequently be a historic occasion if he’s successful, I estimate it was well thought out.

After following Mayweather Jr.’s rise to the top of the sport for over a decade, if there’s one thing I’m very certain of, it’s that every opponent faced has been well thought out, along with the timing for facing them. You do not get to that level in any business without excellent planning and boxing is definitely a business, one Floyd understands possibly better than anyone else.

Hence, I am confident Berto was hand selected for a number of reasons, but none more than ensuring Mayweather wins in spectacular fashion. Because after a majority decision in two of his last four fights and six straight bouts going the distance, a stunning knock-out is long overdue. Especially after his last one against Manny Pacquiao, which definitely did not come close to the buildup.

At 31, and 11 years as a pro, the chance to be a pay-per-view main event and receive a major pay day is a welcome surprise for Berto. He’s 3-3 in his last six bouts and undoubtedly at the tail end of his career. But even so, as we saw in his last bout, Berto is willing to trade punches and that is what’s needed for a fan friendly action fight.

Berto knows he won’t be able to out box Mayweather and he’s also aware he can’t smother and over power him like Maidana attempted to do. He also lacks the foot speed and stamina to stay on his bicycle for 12 rounds. Instead, he’ll eventually be forced to stand and trade, which will make for an exciting bout as long as it lasts.

That’s where I believe I was able to find some betting value.

Earlier this week I placed a number of wagers on the total rounds for Berto vs. Mayweather. The first few bets I locked in on the Under 11.5 rounds were at +175, and the rest were at +165. Personally, I would be comfortable making this bet at as low as +150, feeling confident that anything better definitely offers me the best of it.

Bottom line: I expect Mayweather will be able to finish this fight well before 1:30 of the 12th round and I can’t see a scenario where the outcome is left in the hands of the judges. Five of Berto’s last eight bouts didn’t make it to the final bell and this one shouldn’t either. Even if he were to shock the world and win on Sept. 9, I do not believe he can do it by out pointing Mayweather. Instead, landing something big appears to be the only way he can get his hand raised, and I think he knows it too.

Therefore, I expect Berto to be a willing participant in what should be a much better fight than the critics suggest it’ll be, which is exactly what I am confident Mayweather was banking on when he chose the opponent for his 49th fight.

PICK: Mayweather vs. Berto UNDER 11.5 (+165) Rounds.

Vegas-Runner is a professional bettor/handicapper featured on CNBC, ESPN, FOX, Yahoo, CBS This Morning, The Herd, JT the Brick, & More. Follow VR on Twitter @Greek_Gamblerand at the home of the Animals, Phillygodfather.com. Email: VegasRunner@GamingToday.com.