On Saturday night in the U.S. (Sunday in Macau), former WBO/WBC welterweight champion Manny "PacMan" Pacquiao (54-5-2) will face former WBO lightweight champion Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (31-1-1).
Pacquiao enters the fight coming off two consecutive losses in 2012, one to current WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley and the other to former nemesis and WBO welterweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. Rios comes into the ring after losing his WBO lightweight title in March to now former champion Mike Alvarado. Rios had granted Alvarado a rematch from their October 2012 fight, which many felt was stopped too prematurely in favor of Rios.
This bout could be one of the highest revenue-generating fights of all time based on the Chinese population of 1.34 billion, and an estimated 80 million are projected to order the fight for $5 (versus the $60-$70 price tag in the United States). Pacquiao chose to take this fight out of the United States to avoid the high U.S. tax of 40 percent for foreign fighters competing in bouts with a purse of over $1 million.
The fight opened with Pacquiao a solid minus-450 favorite and Rios plus-370 at the Las Vegas Hotel. The over/under was posted at 9.5 rounds (under at minus-160 and over at plus-135).
Let's take a look at where the money is going, as well as my pick for the fight and my take on a couple of proposition wagers.
Where is the money going?
This fight has yet to take on the excitement and betting action from boxing fans and the public for a typical Pacquiao fight. From 2009 on, Pacquiao has been in the ring with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Marquez. Las Vegas Hilton odds guru Jeff Sherman told me, "We opened the fight on Aug. 5 and at inception we saw some 'dog money, but in the last week it's [been] all Pacquiao." He did mention they have seen some money come in on the over for the total rounds prop, moving the line to under minus-140 and over plus-120.