Betting on Manny v Floyd open
Las Vegas - The fight has not been made yet, and may not ever happen, but Las Vegas casinos are already taking bets on who will win if Manny Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather jnr ever get into the ring.
GALLERY: Pacquiao v Cotto
Pacquiao, coming off his dominating win over Miguel Cotto, opened as an 8/5 favourite at sports books operated by Station Casinos. It did not take long for bettors to take a side.
Several $20 000 bets were put down on Mayweather, forcing the line down to 7/5 in the early going, said Art Manteris, the casino operator's vice-president of sports book operations.
*Ladbrokes have Mayweather at 4/7 while Pacquiao can be backed at 5/4.
"It's been pretty decisive in the early going," Manteris said. "I think I made the line a little too high but that's the nature of the business."
Manteris said he made Pacquiao the favourite based largely on the public perception of his big win over Cotto. Most of the early bets, he said, came from professional handicappers, who thought the line was too high.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said he was ready to begin negotiations with Mayweather's promoter on a fight. Mayweather issued a statement on Monday saying he wanted to hear from Pacquiao himself that he really wants the fight.
"Tell Manny Pacquiao to be his own man and stop letting everyone, including his loudmouth trainer, talk for him," Mayweather said.
"I am my own boss, speak for myself and tell it like it is. If Manny Pacquiao wants to fight me, all he has to do is step up to the plate and say it himself."
Pacquiao said last month he did not think Mayweather wanted to fight him, and criticised the undefeated America for fighting too defensively and not trying to entertain fans.
His trainer, Freddie Roach, said after the Cotto fight that Pacquiao would be more than happy to fight Mayweather, but that Mayweather was not going to dictate the terms of the fight.
Talks will be difficult, especially when it comes to what percentage of the revenues each fighter will receive.
The fight, though, has the possibility of becoming the richest ever and many in boxing assume that there is far too much money to be made for the fight not to happen.
"I think that's the fight the world wants to see," Roach said.
Assuming the fight can be made, it would likely take place next May. Las Vegas casinos would have the inside track on landing it, but there has been speculation that it could go to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium or even Yankee Stadium.
Any bets made on the fight will be refunded if it is not held by the end of 2010.
Pacquiao and Mayweather will begin negotiations on a blockbuster fight within the next 24 hours, according to a newspaper report.
Sapa-AFP reports that Mayweather has told USA Today he wants to fight Pacquiao and it disturbs him that the Filipino won't admit he wants the fight as well.
"Manny Pacquiao is the fighter and every time someone asks him if he wants to fight me, he says it is up to his promoter, he's going to take a vacation, whatever the answer is," Mayweather was quoted as saying on Monday.
"I have yet to hear him actually say, 'yes I want to fight Mayweather.' We are the fighters and if one fighter is talking about fighting another fighter, then they should just come out and say it.
"Manny Pacquiao doesn't say anything directly about fighting me because he might just know it's not a fight he can win."
Mayweather's challenge comes just days after Pacquiao's demolition of Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas.
The victory validated the new WBO welterweight champion as the greatest Asian fighter in history. It also helped raise his status as the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world.
"Tell Manny Pacquiao to be his own man and stop letting everyone, including his loudmouth trainer (Freddie Roach), talk for him," said Mayweather.
Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, says he wants to make a deal but he hopes egos won't get in the way.
"All you have to know is that my fighter and his trainer Freddie Roach have gone on record saying they're happy to fight Mayweather," said Arum, who used to promote Mayweather.
"Hopefully we'll be able to put this together. From our side, we're willing."
In his last fight, in September, Mayweather beat Juan Manuel Marquez on points. Before that, he took a two-year hiatus from boxing. He has a reputation of being difficult to deal with.
"Mayweather is not one of my favourite people and I'm sure I'm not one of his. What difference does that make?" Arum said.