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Pacquiao-Margarito preview

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The castle that Jerry Jones built in Arlington might not be helping the local NFL team this year, but there’s no doubt that Cowboys Stadium will have an electric atmosphere Saturday night when Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao takes on Antonio Margarito for the WBC’s super welterweight title.

Our friends at BoDog opened Pacquiao as a minus-525 favorite (risk $525 to win $100) back in July and only recently (Nov. 4) moved the number down to minus-500. Bettors can, as of Tuesday, take Margarito for a plus-300 return (risk $100 to win $300).

BoDog Sportsbook Manager Richard Gardner explained the recent line move on Tuesday. Gardner told VegasInsider.com, “We have seen increased action on Antonio Margarito and many of the parlays that were linked with Pacquiao are now bust with some big favorites across the sports world falling. So naturally the book is exposed with a small decision on Antonio Margarito, but if history is any indicator, we expect increased action on Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao as he always seems to get a majority of the fight-day action.”

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The ‘over/under’ for rounds is 9 ½ with gamblers forced to lay a minus-150 price for ‘under’ wagers. This 40-cent line has ‘over’ backers garnering a plus-110 payout.

Pacquiao is vying to become the first fighter in boxing history to win belts in eight different weight classes. The Philippine native hasn’t tasted defeat since a March 19 loss to Erik Morales back in 2005. Since then, Pacquiao has won 12 consecutive fights, including a pair of revenge victories over Morales.

This is the second time he has fought at Cowboys Stadium, beating Josh Clottey via unanimous decision back on March 13 of this year. Before taking out Clottey, he scored KOs against three top-notch foes in Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, who Pacquiao sent into retirement.

However, Pacquiao was recently elected to Congress in The Philippines and he has clearly been distracted by government business in recent months. In fact, trainer Freddie Roach has called this camp Pacquiao’s “worst ever.”

Will it matter? Maybe.

Margarito doesn’t have the speed of Pacquiao, but he does have a size advantage and a few other traits that give him a chance. For starters, Margarito has a granite chin, as evidenced by the fact that he’s been KO’d just once in 44 professional fights.

He also has a gas tank that allows him to relentlessly stalk his opponents and bring it with punches galore. While Pacquiao has seemingly been coasting during his camp, Margarito is approaching this fight with a hunger to prove himself after a tumultuous 22-month stretch.

On Jan. 24 of 2009 before Margarito was to face Shane Mosley, Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, noticed a pasty white substance on Margarito’s handwraps. Richardson insisted that Margarito’s hands be re-wrapped and the initial wraps were confiscated. The California Dept. of Justice’s laboratory later ruled the substance to be similar to plaster of Paris, which is used to make casts.

Obviously, Margarito was caught red-handed trying to cheat in a way that is considered the cardinal sin in the sport of boxing. The California State Athletic Commission subsequently suspended Margarito for one year.

Once he got into the ring with Mosley, the distracted Margarito was off his game. Mosley took full advantage, punishing his opponent before the referee called the fight late in the ninth round.

Since then, Margarito has only fought once, beating Roberto Garcia by unanimous decision in Mexico on May 8 of this year. The athletic commissions in California and Nevada have yet to reinstate Margarito, but he was granted a boxing license in Texas and therefore, the fight with Pacquiao was made.

With Pacquiao’s increasing popularity (he was featured on 60 Minutes this past Sunday night), Gardner is expecting a ton of betting action on this fight between the Filippino and the Mexican.

“We expect this bout to be the most bet boxing match that opposes 2 fighters that do not reside in the United States,” Gardner said. “Pacquiao is hugely popular with the bettors, as his bout with Oscar De La Hoya was the third most bet on boxing match in Bodog history. But more importantly to the bettors, it is also the biggest loss the book has ever had on a fight as the underdog Pacquaio made De La Hoya quit on the stool after round 7.

“Antonio Margarito, on the other hand, has a big Latin American following and will be backed by many of the bettors from that demographic. We expect this bout to easily be in the Top 10 bouts we have had at Bodog (in terms of handle) but with Pacquaio being such a being favorite, we could see it creep into the top five most bet boxing bouts at Bodog.com.”

Brian Edwards can be reached at briane@vegasinsider.com.

For daily sports gambling analysis, follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.

  
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