By T.K. Stewart
BoxingScene.com spoke with one of Las Vegas’ most influential oddsmakers Tuesday afternoon and he said he envisions few ways in which ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley can lose when he faces Andre Berto on Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay.
"One thing you need to know about boxing," said the parlor man, who is not authorized to speak on the record due to his position with MGM Mirage not being that of the public relations variety. "No fight in boxing is made unless it benefits the promoter. In the end, the vast majority of the time, the promoter wins."
In this case, the promoter is Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which happens to be the promoter of record for Mosley. The very capable and well-respected Lou DiBella ably promotes Berto, but the date is Golden Boy’s and they are considered the lead promoter.
"I’ve worked in the bookmaking business for a long time, nearly twenty-five years now," said the source, who once ran his own shop in Maryland before heading West about 12 years ago. "The first rule I learned about boxing is that you find out who the promoter is and then you go from there to set the odds."
The Mosley-Berto fight will have major ramifications as the winner has been mentioned as a possible foe for either Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or Manny Pacquiao – provided that both Mayweather and Pacquiao win their next fight.
"Right now we’ve got Mosley, who is 38-years-old mind you, installed as the solid favorite," said the bookie. "We’ve got him listed as the –180 favorite, which means if you wager one-hundred-and-eighty dollars on Mosley and he comes out on top then you win a hundred bucks. Now, if you bet one hundred dollars on Berto, you win one hundred and fifty-five dollars.
"Mosley is the bigger name, he is coming off a big win in his last fight [a knockout over Antonio Margarito] and he has only lost to Vernon Forrest, Winky Wright and Miguel Cotto. Berto? Who is Berto? Although he’s undefeated, we look down through his record and the best he has beaten is maybe Juan Urango or Luis Collazo. He and Collazo were life and death and Mosley beat Collazo relatively easy. You look for the substance with Berto and it’s not there to the degree that it obviously is with Mosley."
When asked if boxing was a difficult sport in which to affix odds or if he thought the sport was fixed, the man who began setting odds in 1986, said it was not.
"Hey, if boxing was fixed I’d be retired by now," he said. "I was setting odds when Tyson-Holyfield I went off. Mike was what, a 20-1 favorite at one point? Do you think Don King would have made that fight if he believed Mike would lose it? No sir. There was nobody that figured Holyfield, who we all thought was shot, could win. Mike was promoted by King, it was a King show at the MGM, someplace he owned stock in. Everything – and I mean everything - had Tyson written all over it in that fight.
"Look, a lot of people, especially here in Nevada, do a lot to ensure that things are on the up and up. But with boxing, to some degree, it’s different. There is really no home field advantage when it comes to boxing. In this fight, for instance, neither Mosley or Berto [sic] is from here in Vegas. But the home field advantage in boxing is the promoter. They pay the freight, pay for the judges, pay for all of you guys to show up here and eat. You know what I mean? When we set the odds we look at everything, not just the win-loss record of fighter A and fighter B. We look at what’s coming down the road for a guy. If you read the papers and the Internet, Richard Schaefer is already talking about Mosley possibly facing Mayweather in a few months. We take all that into consideration. The script is not written in boxing like it is in wrestling, but sometimes the handwriting is on the wall. Boxing is not fixed - and anything can happen at any time. What we do is look at all of the variables and come up with the odds. Right now, based on all we know – we like Mosley on January the thirtieth."