After negotiations had stalled several times and many wondered if the bout would ever even take place, we are now just days away from one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2015.
This coming Saturday night inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Puerto Rican boxing icon Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KO’s) defends his WBC, Lineal, and Ring Magazine Middleweight straps against Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO’s).
At first glance this championship mega-fight has all the makings of an epic bout fans won’t want to miss, but more importantly for those of us who like to wager on the outcome, I believe it also offers betting value.
Oddsmakers installed the challenger Alvarez as a -250 betting favorite and the market responded by laying the chalk, which forced bookmakers to raise the price. Currently Canelo is listed at -310 with the take back on the champion +260. The OVER/UNDER for total rounds is 11.5, with OVER favored by almost 2 to 1.
Simply put, the -310 on Alvarez reflects a win probability of almost 76% and I personally believe it to be even higher. Rather than make you wait on a prediction I will go ahead and make the fact that I’m backing my opinion with my cash official.
Bottom line: I laid the chalk on the favorite as soon as the betting was opened and I’ve since bet Canelo again since I am confident the price should be much higher. In fact, I’d be comfortable laying odds as high as -400 for the privilege of backing the challenger based on my own “true odds,” which suggest his win probability to be at least 80%.
Now let me explain the reasons why.
For starters, Alvarez is 10 years younger than Cotto and though he turned professional at a very young age and has had a lot of fights, he has not taken much punishment. Especially when compared to Cotto who has been in plenty of wars in almost 15 years as a pro. It’s no secret the punishment absorbed by fighters takes a heavy toll on them both physically and mentally.
Next, Alvarez is naturally the much bigger man between the two. Cotto began his career at 140 pounds and is not a true middleweight. Canelo started at 154 pounds and it’s no secret he has to cut weight to make the maximum that is allowed. Both are very physical fighters who have relied on being able to bully opponents as one of their greatest assets.
Neither is an efficient counter puncher as both prefer to move forward and take the fight to opponents. Against Alvarez, Cotto will be at a major disadvantage in this department and I expect Canelo to be too big and too strong.
Also, all the talk surrounding Cotto is his resurgence since aligning with Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach. About how Roach has been able to transform his newest pupil back to the dominant Cotto of old. But when you take a closer look at his last three opponents what you see is three fighters who were the perfect opponents at the perfect time. I’ll go as far as saying that all three were compromised.
Sergio Martinez was a fighter who had almost nothing left after numerous knee surgeries left him a shell of his former self. Delvin Rodriguez was never considered an elite boxer and was way out of his league. Finally, Daniel Geale was an opponent who was forced to cut too much weight in order to secure a pay day with Cotto. In short, well too much is being made of the champion’s latest victories.
On the flip side Canelo has competed against much tougher opposition heading into this fight. He beat a game Lara who most suggested Alvarez should’ve avoided. He also beat Trout who handled Cotto, and made quick work of Kirkland.
I believe the best thing that ever happened for Canelo’s career was facing Mayweather at such a young age, even though he suffered his first loss. The experience gained has been invaluable in teaching him the level he needs to push himself in preparation in order to be considered one of the best.
Since that loss, it’s a well known fact Canelo has upped his game when it comes to training.
There is no denying Cotto has more experience, most likely a higher ring IQ, and an excellent coach in Roach. Even so, Canelo Alvarez will be too much for the champion to handle. I expect to see a relaxed challenger who proves to be the sharper boxer and ultimately the much stronger fighter as the bout wears on.
Finally, we also can’t overlook the advantage Oscar De La Hoya will play for Alvarez. Oscar has committed himself to helping the younger fighter prepare. Being a natural southpaw like Cotto actually is, Oscar has visited Canelo’s camp twice per week throughout to share his knowledge and most notably, show him how to land solid against a fighter like Cotto.
Don’t underestimate how important this can be for Canelo, especially in the mental part of getting ready for such a major fight.
I believe this will be a fight fans should not miss because it should provide some fireworks and both men are fan friendly boxers. When all the dust settles, I am very confident it will be Canelo Alvarez who gets his hand raised and I think many will be surprised at just how easy he makes it after the first few rounds.
Canelo has all the tools and the type of opponent he could finish rather than leave in the hands of the judges. Unlike Cotto, Alvarez has had a lot of success here in Las Vegas, and I’m willing to bet… in fact I already did bet, that it continues this Saturday night.
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_Gambler, and at the home of the Animals, Phillygodfather.com. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].