Manny Pacquiao Opens as Major Favorite Over Conor McGregor in Prospective Bout

By: Jay Pettry
Sep 25, 2020

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Manny Pacquiao has predictably opened as a massive favorite over Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor.

On Friday, McGregor (22-4 MMA, 0-1 Box) revealed that he was negotiating with the UFC and Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) to stage a boxing match towards the end of the year. Even though the matchup is far from official, betting lines have opened with McGregor as a huge underdog against his potential Filipino foe.

According to sportsbook betonline.ag, Pacquiao is a -1200 favorite against McGregor (+700) in their discussed bout. This same book has boxing lines of potential Floyd Mayweather Jr. opponents in the form of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jorge Masvidal. Mayweather is a -1000 favorite against each man on the BetOnline lines currently. When McGregor faced Mayweather in 2017, the line fluctuated wildly upon opening before settling on Mayweather as the -550 favorite against McGregor at +425. Mayweather won by scoring a knockout in the 10th round.

Other books have “Pac-Man” as a lower but still significant favorite, with Bovada opening with Pacquiao at -450 and the comeback on McGregor at +325. William H. also put out a line on the prospective matchup, setting Pacquiao as the -833 favorite and McGregor the +450 underdog.

There is not yet an agreement on which weight class they would be competing at, as Pacquiao fought at 147 pounds last year while McGregor recently competed in January at the UFC’s 170-pound division. “Notorious” did box against Mayweather with a 154-pound limit in 2017.

McGregor last competed in January, knocking out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds with a head kick. The bout was his first since 2018, when he competed for the lightweight strap at UFC 229 and was tapped out with a neck crank from Nurmagomedov. His foray against Nurmagomedov was his first in MMA since 2016, with the Irishman switching over to box Mayweather. McGregor won the first round against Mayweather on all three scorecards, but a majority of the judges gave the rest of the rounds to “Money” until the knockout.

The most recent boxing match for Pacquiao came in July 2019, and “Pac-Man” became the first man to defeat Keith Thurman by capturing a split decision. Pacquiao dropped Thurman in the first round and busted him up in the early rounds, before hurting Thurman to the body in the 10th frame. With his win, the Filipino senator became the oldest boxer in history to hold a top welterweight title. McGregor would be least experienced boxer Pacquiao has ever faced in his legendary career, as McGregor has only taken a single boxing match.

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