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Boxing-Betting action quiet ahead of Mayweather bout

LAS VEGAS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Four months after Floyd Mayweather’s megabout with Manny Pacquiao delivered Nevada one of its most heavily bet-upon sporting events, the gambling action ahead of Mayweather’s latest fight has been very low-key.

The undefeated five-division world champion is a 1-30 favourite heading into his WBC and WBA welterweight title defence against fellow American Andre Berto on Saturday, giving prospective punters a much narrower range of options.

“It’s been much different from the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout here in May,” a smiling Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports book at MGM Resorts, told Reuters on Friday shortly before the fighters’ official weigh-in.

“I spent nearly three-and-a-half days doing media interviews for that last fight, everybody from all around the globe wanted to talk about it. Right now this is the first time I have stepped into the media centre here at the MGM Grand all week.

“Floyd is a much larger favourite, a 30-1 (on) favourite for this particular fight, whereas he was right around a $2 favourite against Pacquiao.”

Gamblers flocked in huge numbers to Sin City for the May 2 “Fight of the Century” between Mayweather and Filipino Pacquiao, which the American won on a unanimous decision to improve his perfect record to 48-0.

The wager total for that bout, featuring the sport’s best pound-for-pound boxers, nudged above the $60 million mark but Saturday’s title showdown in Vegas will be a far cry from that.

“It’s not going to be a fire sale, that’s for sure,” said Rood. “From a gambling perspective, you have to be mightily confident that Mayweather’s going to go out there and win for you to put any real significant money to make significant money.

“If you want to win $10,000 on this fight, you have to lay $300,000. We’ll see a few of those. But right now, it’s been all Berto because everyone wants to see the ticket that says a $100 wager to win a $1,000, instead of a $100 wager to win $3.30.”

DEFENSIVE BRILLIANCE

While Mayweather is renowned for his defensive brilliance and ability to out-think opponents, Berto is likely to rely on his power and athleticism in the early rounds as he bids to avoid a fourth defeat in his last seven fights.

With that in mind, Rood said that many gamblers are looking at the ‘will go, won’t go the 12 full rounds’ bets as an option.

“A lot of people will look at it and think, ‘Well, a couple of things can happen.’

“Mayweather can dance around, show his speed and skill, put on a boxing clinic and maybe do enough damage to get a technical knockout on Berto. Or Berto will come straight at him early and they will both mix it up, then a few things can happen.

“Berto can get a nice punch in and end the fight, Mayweather can get a good punch in and end the fight or Mayweather may be very aggressive and put some damage on Berto, who has to retire.

“Most people are still betting for the upset because of the price that is available. 10-1 on a small wager for a little bit of interest is probably where this fight’s going to fall into the gambling world.” (Editing by Andrew Both)

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