Manny Pacquiao hasn’t been an underdog heading into a fight since his infamous 2008 showdown versus Oscar De La Hoya, so it’s really not surprising that every oddsmaker around has him installed as a solid favorite against Timothy Bradley.
Last year’s November bout between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez was interesting, betting-wise, because so many people (us included) incorrectly assumed that the Filipino champ would romp his opponent. The general thought process was that Pacquiao would take Marquez down with a knockout before the 12th, and a lot of Las Vegas action mimicked that belief.
Of course, that’s not what ended up happening. Marquez gave Pacquiao a war and, while everyone who had the Filipino champ as their winner still got the pennies that they were due, the victory didn’t come early and it didn’t come via KO.
This time around, folks will likely display more caution. Pacquiao is being listed at anywhere from 2/15 to 2/9 to 1/4 depending on where you look, and those odds make a lot of sense. Bradley is being listed at anywhere from 16/5 to 10/3 to 9/2 depending on where you look, which given the history of odds that Pacquiao’s recent opponents have gotten, is also pretty reasonable.
As a point of reference, Pacquiao was listed as an 8/1 favorite heading into his match versus Marquez, but that was largely because nobody expected -- given his age and the mileage on his tires -- that Marquez’s heart of a champion would make him so fierce. “Sugar” Shane Mosley, who Pacquiao fought prior to fighting Marquez, came in as about a 5/1 underdog before his eventual beat down.
This will be a very telling fight. Either Pacquiao will silence all the doubters that arose after the Marquez fight and cement his all-time status in boxing lore, or he’ll play right into growing speculation about his decline.
All answers will be answered come the eve of June 9.