LAS VEGAS—The oddsmakers in this glitzy Nevada melting pot are making it very difficult for gamblers to put their money on Manny Pacquiao.
Bookmakers have installed the Filipino ring icon a 10-to-1 favorite to beat Mexican arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) at the MGM Grand here.
By late Wednesday evening, Pacquiao had peaked to a -1100 favorite—meaning, you’ll get only $100 on a bet of $1,100 if the Filipino wins—before stabilizing on Thursday at -1000 (your $1,000 wins $100).
The scheduled 12-round fight is for the pound-for-pound king’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.
Pacquiao had opened up as an 8-1 favorite in the third clash between two rivals, who have fought a pair of close and controversial matches.
“The odds are crazy,” said Top Rank chief and fight promoter Bob Arum, who earlier thought that Pacquiao had peaked as a 9-1 favorite.
“If you’re betting on values—and gamblers bet on values—what should be the odds based on ability?” Arum said. “Maybe 2 or 2 1/2 to 1 for Manny.”
He added: “9-1 is ridiculous.”
Betting on underdog
The way the numbers have been posted in sports cafes at both the MGM Grand and at Mandalay Bay, it doesn’t look like there’ll be lots of gambling money on Pacquiao.
“So now, if you’re betting on values, the bet to make is on Marquez,” Arum explained. “Gamblers don’t make a wise bet, they bet on values. So if you bet on Marquez, who should be a 2-1 underdog, and get 9-1 odds, then you’re getting values.”
Simply put, at the current rate, a gambler will have to shell out $1,000 to win $100.
Marquez has been posted a 7-1 underdog (+700). That means a $100 bet on the Mexican counterpuncher, if victorious, could bring in a profit of $700.
Odds don’t win fights
Marquez earlier said he wasn’t bothered by the overwhelming betting trend against him—and quite justifiably so.
“The odds won’t help me win a fight,” Marquez said. “People can bet how they want to be, but that won’t affect the fight.”
Even the knockout odds have suffered a relatively meaningful drop.
On Wednesday, there were clear chances to hit big on Pacquiao by betting on a Pacman KO victory in the first three rounds. The odds there were also 10-1, meaning a $100 bet would net a $1,000 profit if Pacquiao finished off Marquez within that stretch.
On Thursday, however, those odds fell to 8-to-1 in rounds one and two and 6-to-1 in round three.
A Marquez victory by knockout in any of the first five rounds, meanwhile, carries odds of 40-1. In fact, the odds are greater that the fight will end in a draw (22-1) than Marquez winning by knockout inside 10 rounds (at least 30-1).
As the hours ticked away, fight fever was galloping in Pacquiao’s homeland.
Filipino soldiers recuperating from battle wounds in main military hospitals will get to watch their idol fight for free.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would telecast the bout live at the auditorium of AFP Medical Center (formerly V. Luna Hospital).
The Philippine Army also said screens would be set up at the Army General Hospital (formerly Fort Bonifacio General Hospital) Multipurpose Hall to allow soldiers confined there to watch the fight live.
The headquarters of the AFP, Army, Navy and Air Force have again opened their camps to provide free viewing of the match.
Replays for others
But soldiers on duty will have to settle for the replays of the fight as they were reminded to be vigilant in case lawless groups took advantage of the nation’s preoccupation with the bout.
“Even though there has been a low incidence of violence during Pacquiao’s fights in the past, we still have to be vigilant and maintain our strong coordination with the Philippine National Police to ensure peace and stability in the country,” said AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr.
The military also wished victory for its most famous reservist.
“We wish him all the best… Manny Pacquiao’s exemplary acts of audacity and boldness in the boxing ring will once again inspire our soldiers to perform their utmost best in winning the peace for the people in a different arena,” Oban said.
Promotion for Pacquiao
Upon the Army’s recommendation after Pacquiao’s victory over Shane Mosley in May, President Aquino in September gave Pacquiao the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve force.
Some have questioned his promotion since Pacquiao did not meet the basic requirement of a college degree.
Pacquiao previously held the rank of senior master sergeant, which was the highest rank for a noncollege graduate.
The AFP said Pacquiao could be granted the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve force since he was a congressman and since he had an honorary doctorate degree on humanities from Southwestern University in Cebu City.
Soldiers and families
At the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, the fight will be broadcast live for free at the gymnasium and grandstand.
The fight can also be viewed live in the Philippine Air Force Gymnasium inside Villamor Air Base, in the Philippine Army Officers Club House, Grandstand and Gymnasium inside Fort Bonifacio, and in the Philippine Navy Gymnasium at the Jose Andrada Naval Station.
The AFP has prepared for 2,000 viewers composed of military personnel, civilian personnel and their families at the Camp Aguinaldo grandstand.
The Navy and Air Force each expect 1,000 viewers while the Army has prepared its gym for 3,000 viewers and its grandstand for another 3,000 viewers.
Live viewing in Caloocan
Boxing fans in various parts of Metro Manila no longer need to worry about where to watch the bout for free.
In Caloocan City, residents can enjoy free live screening of the fight in 14 locations on Sunday.
Among the designated Caloocan viewing sites are Victory Mall in Monumento; Barangay 144 covered court; Barangay 152 covered court; Barangay 163 Sta. Quiteria Elementary School; Barangay 166 Kaybiga covered court; Barangay 168 Deparo covered court; Barangay 171 Bagumbong High School; Barangay 174 Camarin High School; Barangay 176 Phase 1 covered court; Barangay 176 Phase 7 Pag-Asa Elementary School; Barangay 176 Phase 10 Indiana court; Barangay 178 Camarin Elementary School; Barangay 179 Amparo covered court and Barangay 187-188 Glorietta covered court.
Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri said City Hall employees would give away free tickets to facilitate orderly entrance of viewers to the venues and to avoid accidents.
Those who want to watch the fight should coordinate with their barangay officials so they could get tickets, he said.
The Marikina City government is also offering free live telecasts starting 9 a.m. on Sunday in two different venues—the Marikina City Hall Freedom Park and the Parang Playground Basketball.
“We all know that Filipinos love boxing especially because Manny Pacquiao brings home the bacon in his every fight. We made this free broadcast so we and the residents can watch it together,” said Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman. With reports from Dona Z. Pazzibugan and Niña Calleja
First posted 1:45 am | Saturday, November 12th, 2011