Boxing’s lack of regulation has damaged the sport’s reputation, but fighters have been known to benefit from their profession’s oversight deficiency.
No one’s benefited more than Floyd Mayweather Jr. The polarizing figure has earned more money than anyone in his sport and has been able to, right or wrong, set up a list of opponents that has helped him stay undefeated.
However, he’s also been known to make a few wagers. Mayweather’s latest betting idea would easily become his most famous.
According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the iconic boxer is considering placing a $5 million bet on himself to beat Conor McGregor in their junior middleweight fight set for Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
BREAKING – Trusted Vegas Source:
Mayweather seriously considering betting $5 MILLION on himself to beat McGregor!
— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) August 22, 2017
While LeBron James betting on the Cavaliers to win a game or Tom Brady wagering on a Patriots victory would cause earth-shattering scandals, boxing presents a free-for-all universe where Mayweather is allowed to place a bet on himself. And the odds are kind of unbelievable right now.
Because it appears Las Vegas has been overrun by men and women who aren’t big fans of money.
In Mayweather’s 10 fights this decade, only two fighters — Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez — entered with better odds than McGregor to dethrone the then-champion. Think about that for a second.
Mayweather (49-0) has dropped to a minus-400 favorite to defeat a man with zero pro boxing matches on his resume. To put that in perspective, future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto entered the ring against Mayweather in May 2012 a minus-700 underdog.
McGregor also has better odds to beat Mayweather than Marcos Maidana (Mayweather was a minus-900 and minus-600 favorite in their 2014 fights), Robert Guerrero (minus-600, 2012), Victor Ortiz (minus-500, 2011) and Zab Judah (minus-500, 2006).
None of these fighters were on Mayweather’s tier, but they were all professional boxers. Shane Mosley was 38 when he fought Mayweather, but he’s a future Hall of Famer who was welterweight champion at the time. Mayweather was a minus-400 favorite against him.
Here’s how crazy the McGregor betting has gotten since bets have been available in this fight.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) August 16, 2017
While a bet on the 29-year-old MMA superstar would obviously pay out more, it’s hard to overstate how big an upset this would be. Betting favorites isn’t sexy and doesn’t produce grand returns, but because McGregor bettors have infiltrated Vegas, less-profitable Mayweather wagers absolutely should be enticing for gamblers.
If the 40-year-old boxer wins, he wouldn’t be the first notable fighter to cash in on himself.
Bernard Hopkins made a $100,000 bet on himself to defeat Felix Trinidad in their 2001 middleweight title fight, and as a 4-to-1 underdog, Hopkins pocketed $400,000 after his one-sided knockout victory.
One of the best fighters of this era, Hopkins probably thought he was a lock to beat the Puerto Rican star. But both fighters were at the top of their games.
Conversely, Mayweather has secured an unbelievable low-risk, high-reward scenario against a wildly popular fighter with no boxing experience. He has a much better chance of beating McGregor than the minus-400 figure would indicate.
A win would also add to Mayweather’s run of gambling success this year. He evidently won nearly $500,000 in betting on the Celtics to beat the Wizards in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. He also apparently went on a legit heater in May 2015, betting on the NBA and a Gennady Golovkin fight.
Those windfalls were nice, likely helping to cancel out losses suffered by the frequent bettor, but Mayweather taking home extra cash after picking up his 50th career victory would certainly be impossible to top.