At first blush, the May 6 fight in Las Vegas between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. looks fairly competitive. But the Intertops sportsbook has odds for them, review them here, and you’ll see it doesn’t look good for Chavez. At press time, Canelo is a chunky –800 favorite, meaning you’ll have to bet $800 to win $100 on the lineal middleweight champion. Chavez is priced at +425; a $100 bet on the underdog would pay back $425 should he prevail.
In case you’re not used to seeing the boxing odds presented this way (these are “American” odds), here’s how they look using other popular formats you’ll find in the sports betting world, using the SBR Betting Odds Converter to translate:
You’ll notice that the two numbers at the bottom add up to more than 100 percent; that represents the built-in commission (aka the juice, vigorish or vig) you pay the sportsbook every time you place a bet. But even if you remove all that juice from Canelo’s odds, he’s still expected to beat Chavez over 80 percent of the time. Again, not looking good for the underdog.
Should we be surprised? Not if you look at the way this fight has been put together. This is a Golden Boy Promotions event, and Canelo is their biggest client at the moment. They’re the ones calling the shots. Chavez and his people (including his famous father) know that Canelo is the main attraction in this matchup; they asked for at least 30 percent of the revenues, and eventually signed for $6 million plus a percentage.
They also agreed to fight at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds, reportedly down from 165 pounds in earlier negotiations. These eight ounces will give Canelo (48-1-1, 34 KO) an even bigger edge over Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KO) once they step in the ring. Canelo is four inches shorter than his opponent at 5-foot-9, and he’s bulking up for a full-time move to the middleweight class after beating Liam Smith for the WBO light middleweight title last September. Chavez hasn’t fought at middleweight since he dropped the WBC title to Sergio Martinez in 2012.
Will Chavez even be able to make weight for May 6? His last two bouts were at catchweight; Chavez was supposed to fight Marcos Reyes at super middleweight, but he couldn’t get down to 168 pounds, so they agreed to fight at 170. While Chavez easily won that matchup by unanimous decision, he lost quite a few fans along the way. Then he faced Dominik Britsch at a catchweight of 169 pounds, and earned another unanimous decision in front of a tiny crowd in his native Mexico.
If Chavez doesn’t shed the necessary pounds for next month’s fight and it goes on regardless, he might be able to use his natural size advantage to do similar damage against Canelo. But there’s an extra rematch clause in their contract: Should Chavez win under these circumstances, he’ll have to pay Alvarez $1 million for every pound that he’s over the agreed limit.
At least Chavez will have the added incentive to take his training seriously. This has been an issue for the former champ, who has only fought five matches in five years since losing the middleweight title to Martinez. And he’s about to lock horns with the No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to The Ring. So let’s treat this non-title bout like what it is: One more massive payday for Chavez, and an outside shot at getting his groove back on Cinco de Mayo weekend.