Manny Pacquiao will be the favorite heading into his Dec. 8 showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez. There are no questions about that. Unless the Filipino champ loses an arm or something, there is no way he doesn’t come into that bout as the guy who is expected to win. The question at this point, really, is just how much folks are expecting him to win.
Heading into their third fight last November, the lines looked a little something like this: Pacquiao -700 and Marquez +500. Fans were expecting a blowout victory – mostly due to the latter’s age and the former’s dominance over his opposition up to that point. Clearly things didn’t go according to plan, though. Pacquiao ultimately won, but he did so in very unconvincing fashion.
This time, odds makers are still giving Pacquiao the edge, but they’re doing so by a lesser margin. According to bookermaker.net, Pacquiao is -350 and Marquez is +280 heading into this one. That’s a pretty far cry from the -700 and +500 they were at, respectively, on their last go-round. Now, obviously the heart that Marquez showed in the pair’s third match has a lot do with that, but Pacquiao’s inability to put Timothy Bradley away this past June likely played a part, too.
About a month ago, ABS-CBN reported that Pacquiao was -400 heading into the fight, and Marquez was +300. Different odds makers will have marginally different lines, obviously, but the closeness of those numbers to the ones from bookmaker.net indicates that everyone is more or less on the same page regarding this match.
Recent reports out the Filipino champ’s camp indicate that he is training harder than ever right now. Insiders are stressing that their guy is well aware of what’s on the line in this one. And the fact that, for the first time in a long time, he actually has to prove himself is no doubt providing Pacquiao with some legitimate motivation.
Still, all that said, odds makers aren’t buying into the hype just yet. They believe this match will be close. (Sort of.) It will be interesting to see how the numbers shift as we creep closer and closer to the big day.