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Friday, July 24, 2009

Pac's power and popularity make him fave over Cotto

The popularity of “Super Bouts” has prompted boxing promoters to line up another stellar card when Manny Pacquiao faces Miguel Cotto on November 14.

Top Rank Promotions announced earlier this week that the two heavy-handed fighters will meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a 145-pound, non-title war that promises fireworks based on the fighters’ reputations.

With that announcement, oddsmakers in both Las Vegas and offshore have crunched the numbers and released odds for the anticipated meeting. The fight opened with Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) priced as a -215 favorite while Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) was released at +175.

Renowned boxing linesmaker Joey Oddessa says the price on Pacquiao has everything to do with his body of work over the past four years. Since losing to Erik Morales in March 2005, the Filipino featherweight has been moving up in weight and not only defeating, but knocking out champions.

He’s avenged his loss to Morales twice and recently destroyed David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton at lightweight. He sits at the top of the fictitious pound-for-pound rankings and holds the Ring Magazine light welterweight title.

“I expect the public to be betting Manny Pacquiao again,” says Oddessa. “He is everyone's favorite boxer these days.”

Stepping in the ring with Cotto won’t be a walk in the park. The Puerto Rican fighter is the current WBO welterweight champion and is ranked eighth in the pound-for-pound ratings. Since losing to Antonio Margarito last year, Cotto has defeated Michael Jennings for the vacant WBO championship and defended that title against Joshua Clottey back in June. He has notable wins over Shane Mosley, Zab Judah and Alfonso Gomez on his resume.

But while Cotto’s in-ring performances are impressive, it might be his life outside the ropes that serves as a distraction heading into November’s bout. Cotto is going through a nasty split with former trainer and uncle Evangelista Cotto, who is suing the fighter for $7.5 million claiming breach of contract.

“There is no telling how that will affect his performance,” says Oddessa. “It's hard to see where Cotto's head is at with the drama surrounding his career at this point.”

The round total for this fight is set at 9.5 (under -165). Both men possess knockout power and have won almost 70 percent of their bouts by way of KO. And in their four combined defeats, three of those losses were by way of knockout.

“Players have bet unders during the course of each fighters’ career much the same way they run to the windows to bet overs in Monday Night Football games,” says Oddessa. “This bout should be no different.”

In Las Vegas, the MGM Grand is expecting solid two-way action on this fight during the remainder of the summer and fall. But as fight night draws nearer, the sportsbook and casino is bracing for a flood of action on Pacquiao from the legions of Filipino faithful that follow their national hero.

“What we’re expecting is the number on Pacquiao to run up and draw some sharp action on Cotto,” says Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager for the MGM Mirage. “Then come fight night, that huge Filipino contingent will impact the numbers.”

Boxing fans can watch the fight on HBO Pay-Per-View or watch it live at the MGM Grand November 14. Tickets go on sale next month and will range in price from $1,000 to $150.

Source: covers.com

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