Mayweather vs. Berto: Compelling Play on Insipid Fight
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (48-0) vs. Andre Berto (30-3) September 12, 2015, MGM Grand Las Vegas Showtime PPV, 5PM PST
The undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. faces a resurgent Andre Berto this weekend in what is purported to be the final fight of his storied career. A Mayweather victory would push his record to 49-0, equaling that of the Great Rocky Marciano, and placing Mayweather near the top of a short list of professional prizefighters to retire without ever knowing the agony of defeat.
Andre Berto comes from a fighting family -- his father was and his brother is a professional mixed martial artist. The Florida-raised Welterweight seeks to work his way back into the conversation after dropping three of his last six fights and suffering a year of inactivity after traces of a banned substance were detected in his blood in 2012 (the positive reading was ultimately declared due to contamination). Berto will, as is true of all that have come before him, have his work cut out Saturday night.
Based on the opening line of -4,000 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook (as reported by The Linemakers), Mayweather-backers are being asked to lay more juice than ever before when the pound-for-pound best in the business faces off against the American born, Haitian-rooted slugger. The line for Berto opened at +1,400.
(As of the time of this writing, 5Dimes reports a tighter Mayweather line, at -2,500; the line for Berto remains fixed at +1,400.)
As is typical when odds are skewed this dramatically, the vast majority of bets so far have favored the underdog. The Linemakers report that 97% of tickets written at William Hill and 69% of the dollar value collected support the challenger.
We liken siding with Berto to win as akin to buying a lottery ticket -- the potential payout is quite handsome, but the probability of collecting is tiny. We are unmoved by the near-zero expected return this proposition entails (where expected return is defined as the probability of winning multiplied by the expected payout).
However, we do see value speculating on what we think is a both reasonably priced and highly probable outcome. Specifically, we advocate betting the contest goes OVER 11.5 Rds -200 (5Dimes).
Of Berto's 30 wins as a professional prizefighter, 23 have come by way of stoppage. However, the bruiser has finished only one opponent in his last four fights (the four fights since the aforementioned layoff) -- notching a KO-rate of 25% during the comeback era, vs. the lofty 77% number over his career. Further limiting Berto's potential to pull off the big close, Mayweather's bread-and-butter is his defense. He prides himself on absorbing minimal punishment and, despite his age, has exhibited undiminished hand and foot speed that we think is more than suitable to this weekend's task.
Mayweather is certainly a ring general rather than a puncher. For his career, Floyd, Jr. has finished 54% of his fights. Mayweather's last KO came against Victor Ortiz, almost exactly four years ago, and unfolded against dubious circumstances (Ortiz was arguably not expecting the 1-2 that ultimately ended his night, as, when the deciding punches were thrown, he appeared to be in the process of trying to apologize for head butting Mayweather during the previous round). Prior to that (bizarre) instance, Mayweather last registered a stoppage almost eight years ago (Ricky Hatton, 2007).
Bottom line: We believe strongly that Mayweather will maintain the standard of perfection that has defined his reign over the sweet science for, certainly the last decade, arguably longer. Berto will be a gamer; we know he can throw and take a punch. But time and again we have witnessed Mayweather's elusive, pot-shotting style make top contenders look like mediocre talents -- and we do not make Berto (ranked the #20 welterweight in the world by boxrec.com) by to be a contender along the lines of Pacquiao (#2) or Maidana (#5) or even Guerrero (#17), all of whom have fallen--figuratively, anyway--to Floyd's pugilistic mastery. We see Mayweather sticking and moving Saturday night, and demonstrating the discipline and ability to adjust on the fly that has propelled him to the top of his craft. As has been the trend with little deviation, we expect another more-or-less uneventful win by decision for the Money Team. Accordingly, we are laying a reasonably hefty wager on OVER 11.5 -200.