Mayweather vs. McGregor odds move closer to parity as fight nears

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While no one can say with certainty how Conor McGregor will fare in a boxing ring when it matters, his price is lower than that of Buster Douglas before his epic heavyweight upset of Mike Tyson back in 1990.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a -400 betting favorite to defeat the +300 underdog McGregor in their boxing match on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

A deluge of action on McGregor from bettors looking for a big payout has continually squeezed the lines closer and closer since the first rumblings about McGregor, the two-division UFC champion, making a combat sports cross-over to fight the 49-0 Mayweather. At one point, Mayweather was a -2250 favorite with McGregor coming back at +950.

It’s a scheduled 12-round match, with the fighters slated to compete at 154 pounds and wear 10-ounce gloves, which are 2½ times heaver than what McGregor wears in the UFC.

While everyone has an opinion about how the bout might play out, straight-up wagering might not be the way to go on Saturday. The 40-year-old Mayweather, who has been laid off just two weeks shy of two years, still has to show he has the timing that has made him one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time.

With McGregor getting mixed reviews on the boxing skills he’s exhibited in sparring sessions, Mayweather at -125 for a victory by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification on the betting props for Saturday’s fight offers a fair return.

Mayweather winning by decision – the way he wins most of his fights against full-time boxers  – pays +250. McGregor is at +350 on the KO/TKO/DQ prop and +1200 for a win by decision, which is far and away the least likely outcome.

McGregor, at age 26, is much younger and has fought much more recently than Mayweather and will also come in with a reach advantage. Mayweather has had some difficulty in the past adapting to southpaws, so there might be some openings for McGregor to land some shots early.

McGregor will also keep face if he goes the distance, win or lose, so that aforementioned +250 on Mayweather by decision could pan out as a safe play.

Those who are true believers in “Mystic Mac” can also take him to win in the first four rounds, which pays out at odds of +500.

As far as odds on how many rounds the fight will go, the under is plus money up until 6.5 rounds, and does not drop to 2/1 until under 4.0 rounds, which pays +200. There is plus money on the over starting at 8.0 rounds.

Pacquiao wins 60th career fight with seventh-round knockout

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Manny Pacquiao clinched his 60th victory with a seventh-round knockout Sunday of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse, his first stoppage in nine years.

Pacquiao said he worked hard but was surprised by the swift win in the World Boxing Association welterweight title fight.

Pacquiao rebounded from his disappointing loss last year to Australian Jeff Horn and his victory could extend his boxing career that had taken a backseat to his political life as a Filipino senator.

“This is part of boxing. You win some, you lose some,” Matthysse said. He hailed Pacquiao as a “great legend” and said he will take a break after his loss.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also attended the fight, the biggest boxing match in the country since the 1975 heavyweight clash between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner.

Duterte said: “I would like to congratulate Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more.”

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.