When Juan Manual Marquez unexpectedly and all so suddenly sent Manny Pacquiao to the Twilight Zone, the audible shrieks heard at the MGM Grand, led by the heartbreaking scene of Manny’s wife Jinkee sobbing in the arms of promoter Bob Arum, could be heard from halfway around the world in Pacquiao’s home land of the Philippines.
But there were inaudible shrieks – or maybe groans? – from the dramatic conclusion of the fight, too. Only in that instance, it was coming from Vegas books.
It’s widely known that the books haven’t had the kind of success in the past two months as they have for the most part of the year. The beatings started when the NFL and college football seasons opened and the NBA, which is a little over a month old, hasn’t been too kind on the books too. But now, Vegas’ losing run in sports extends to more than just football and basketball.
Add boxing to that list, and they have Juan Manuel Marquez and his right hand to thank for it.
Despite being the favorite leading up to the fight, the action on Pacquiao wasn’t as big as the books anticipated. Sure, there was still some sizable bets placed on the Pac-Man (mostly from Filipinos) but not in the amount generated from his previous fights. In contrast, a lot of the small bets, you know, the kind that are placed with dreams of paying off, were placed on the underdog, including bets for Marquez to win by knockout at 13/2 odds, a fight stoppage under 10.5 rounds at 21/10, and Marquez to win outright at 3/1.
So imagine the reaction from books when the underdog put a stunning end to the fight when he knocked out the favorite out with a second left in the sixth round.
That second wasn’t lost on Las Vegas – Hilton Super Book VP Jay Kornegay, who tweeted shortly after the fight, saying: ““The books already had ’Black Sunday’ this season, why not a ’JMM Saturday’? Not a good day for the sports book. 2:59 really? Late hit.”
Sarcasm aside, you can understand why Kornegay’s a little perturbed about Marquez paying off those long odds. It hasn’t been a great last two months for Vegas books and while most of the damage has been inflicted by the NFL, college football, and to a certain extent, the NBA, few in the industry could have expected boxing to be added to that list of sports.
Murphy’s Law is in full effect, folks.