Mayweather chasing Marciano but then what?

September 08, 2015 3:02 AM
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Fight fans and bettors alike will have one last opportunity to witness and wager on a bout involving this generation’s greatest boxing attraction, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (48-0, 26 KO’s).

This coming Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena plays host to a main event being billed as the final fight of a storied career and an attempt to make history. This bout concludes Mayweather’s contractual obligation with Showtime and serves as an opening to match Rocky Marciano’s undefeated record of 49-0 with a win.

Unlike Marciano who had a short career with just 12 amateur bouts and 8 years as a professional, Mayweather was an accomplished and celebrated amateur with 90 fights, and near or at the top of the most respected pound for pound lists since turning pro in 1996. Though many believe Mayweather will fight again in order to break the record, he insists this bout marks his retirement as a boxer.

The opponent chosen by Mayweather for this monumental occasion, Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KO’s) surprised many, since he hasn’t been considered a top welterweight contender for a number of years. But according to Mayweather, after defeating Pacquiao in what was labeled “The Fight of the Century”, and dominating many of the sport’s biggest names throughout his career, there isn’t anything left to prove.

Therefore based on that reasoning, Berto is as deserving of this shot as any other fighter. Bookmakers seemed to disagree as they opened Mayweather as the largest betting favorite of his entire career at -4000. Since then, the odds have dropped some at most shops and currently Mayweather is listed at -3000.

Rest assured the price should get even lower as we approach fight night and recreational bettors make their way to the betting window. Those who wager casually have shown a strong preference of putting up a little money for a shot at winning a lot, rather than the other way around.

Simply put, I don’t see much value laying all that chalk to back Mayweather...and the probability of an upset when compared to the take-back on Berto does not warrant a wager either. But there is a prop bet on the board that I’m confident offers bettors the best of it, and that’s the ticket I’ve already got in my pocket.

PICK = UNDER 11.5 ROUNDS (+185)

The sports books have listed the Over for “Total Rounds” as a heavy favorite, which at 11.5 reflects oddsmakers believe the outcome will be left in the hands of the judges via decision.

A quick glance at Mayweather’s ledger shows only 2 wins came by way of knock-out over the last 9 years and the perception of most fight fans is he’s not prone to take many risks. Instead he uses superior boxing coupled with arguably the best defense of any fighter ever to frustrate opponents and shut them out on the score cards. So why should this fight end any differently?

I believe it’s because of Berto, who should be a willing participant in what will ultimately be a much more exciting fight than most anticipate. In fact, 5 of the last 8 bouts that Berto was in never made it to the final bell. I always say that “styles make fights” and that’s a key factor for my placing this bet.

More importantly, I believe Mayweather hand selected Berto for this very reason. I am confident Floyd wanted an opponent who gives him the greatest chance to win in spectacular fasion and Berto fits that mold.

Bottom line: Berto will not be able to outbox Mayweather because he just doesn’t possess the skill set. But what he does have is decent speed and power, and he’s not hesitant to stand and trade with opponents.

The problem with this style is that he’s absorbed a lot of punishment throughout his career and after having his own lights turned out a number of times, his durability has declined.

I expect Mayweather will be able to walk Berto down behind his jab before landing that patented straight right hand upstairs.

Berto is vulnerable defensively and against the sports’ most accurate puncher, he should be there for Mayweather to land plenty of power shots as the fight wears on. Berto has also shown he cuts easily due to scar tissue and his face and eyes swell quickly when hit.

In closing, I am confident the pressure put on Berto from the opening bell will systematically break him down as the fight progresses.

I would not be at all surprised to see the referee step in and call a halt to this fight due to all the punishment absorbed, especially if his face gets busted up.

Look for a motivated Mayweather to successfully defend his WBA Super, WBC, and The Ring Magazine Welterweight straps, and to get to 49-0 in devistating fashion over a very game Berto.

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. Contact Vegas Runner at VegasRunner@GamingToday.com.

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