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Why Has Floyd Mayweather Been a Consistent Favorite vs. Manny Pacquiao?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao, the world’s most tedious rivalry, has been marred by question marks since day one. Why can’t these two come to an understanding? Who’s negotiating on their parts? Is drug-testing still an issue? Was it ever? Is money still an issue? Was it ever? Why does Bob Arum seem so intent on making sure that this bout doesn’t occur?

And yet, despite the fact that Pacquiao versus Mayweather has been filled with more uncertainty than certainty, one thing has remained constant – the undefeated Mayweather has always been thought of as a lock to beat his Filipino counterpart.

From the very first day that Mayweather returned from his “retirement” with the alleged mission of eventually proving his worth against Pacquiao, he has consistently been deemed a favorite in the potential showdown by nearly all odds makers.

Back in 2009 (yes, we’ve been playing this game since 2009!), Mayweather was listed at -160, meaning that for every $100 won you would need to wager $160. Similarly, at the time Pacquiao was listed at +150, meaning that for every $100 bet you could win $150.

After Pacquiao’s November showdown versus Juan Manuel Marquez, Opposing Views took another look at where the odds stood and we noted that they hadn’t changed by much. Mayweather sat at -140 and Pacquiao was at +110. The figures took both of the fighters’ latest controversial victories into account and, as you can see, didn’t really move too much as a result of either.

Most recently, the good folks at Boxing News Online opted to take a look at whether there had been any shift in the odds since late November. Here is what they found:

“There are no doubts in bookmakers’ minds about who would be victorious. Floyd Mayweather Jnr is the fast talking, ex-Olympian who is yet to lose a fight in the professional ranks and is as little as 4/7 with Paddy Power to gobble up the Pac Man. Manny himself remains undefeated in almost seven years, but can be found at as much as 7/5 with Boylesports.

Perhaps part of the reason Pacquiao has become such an underdog is the unconvincing nature of his win over Juan Manuel Marquez last time out. The Filipino gained a highly controversial majority decision, leaving many experts to suggest that his heart is no longer in the sport. A fourth fight between the warring pair, which looks highly likely, would see Manny start as a lightweight 1/6 (Boylesports) favourite, with the same firm going 4/1 about Marquez. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off the outsider there.”

While it's valid that Pacquiao’s unconvincing win over Marquez may be deterring some folks from having confidence in him, it doesn’t explain why the odds makers have held Mayweather as a favorite all along. Plus, while Mayweather’s victory over Victor Ortiz was undeniably more dominant than Pacquiao’s was over Marquez, there is something to be said for the fact that Ortiz had no business being in the ring with the undefeated Mayweather in the first place. All he brought to the table was youth. Marquez, for his part, was always a wily, intelligent fighter. People wrote him off because he was old and assumingly over the hill, but if you stack him up at his best against Ortiz at his best there is really no contest.

When confronted with the question of why he was consistently listed as an underdog, Pacquiao shrugged the lack of faith off.

“I don’t care about the odds. Because once the fight starts, it’s an entirely different matter,” Pacquiao said.

And, of course, don’t forget – Pacquiao was listed at +150 for his 2008 showdown versus the -180 Oscar De La Hoya. He then proceeded to absolutely smoke and, ultimately, retire his opponent.

So while it’s safe to say that pre-fight odds aren’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to this stuff, it remains curious that nobody has ever doubted the presumed success Mayweather will have over the Filipino champion.

Weigh in below. Why do you think Mayweather has been listed as a consistent favorite? Fighting style? Speed? Efficiency? Boxing acumen? Other?

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