MANILA, Philippines – It’s still two months away from Manny Pacquiao’s May 7 fight date with “Sugar” Shane Mosley, but Las Vegas’s betting industry is already working feverishly.
Odds makers see Pacquiao as a 7-1 favorite over Mosley, a former world champion who has won several welterweight titles.
This means that every $700 bet placed on Pacquiao will only yield $100 while a $350 bet on Mosley will get $500.
Even action star Steven Seagal is placing his bet on Pacquiao.
"He will [beat] Mosley by the 3rd round,” said Seagal, an Aikido black-belter. “I'll always bet for him. He’s my brother.”
Mosley, however, remains unfazed despite Pacquiao’s immense popularity.
He said he currently relishes the underdog tag, claiming that those who bet on him stand to earn lots of money.
"I do have the punching power to knock guys out. I would definitely bet on me if they want to win some money,” said the 39-year-old boxer.
Top Rank Promotions chief Bob Arum said Las Vegas, one of the cities hardest hit by the US fiscal crisis, sees the Filipino boxing superstar as a boon to its struggling economy.
"When Manny Pacquiao fights in Las Vegas, the whole economy benefits,” he said.
Some companies even want to ride on the Filipino boxer’s commercial appeal.
Pacquiao said one of these firms reportedly wanted him to endorse their shaving product.
“There’s some company… they want to shave my hair, but I don’t want it,” said Pacquiao, who is getting added attention for sporting a hairstyle similar to pop superstar Justin Bieber’s. – With a report from Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau