Sports bettors need to have short memories, and they need to resist the urge to chase losses. That’s precisely the attitude Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is bringing into Saturday’s pay-per-view boxing match against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, a follow-up to their highly controversial 2017 draw and Canelo’s debatable (if not quite controversial) 2018 majority decision win.
“I don’t want people to think that the result of the third fight is going to erase the results of the first two, because we need to separate the first two and the third fight,” Kazakhstan’s Golovkin told veteran boxing reporter Dan Rafael through a translator. “This is a different time, different weight category, and the first two fights were very interesting. … So any result, any outcome of the third fight, should not affect the memory of the first two and should not erase what happened there.”
GGG isn’t chasing losses — in part because, in his own mind, he has no professional losses. This third bout between the rivals is its own distinct contest, one that largely needs to be assessed separately from its two predecessors.
And looking at the odds at the various legal mobile sportsbooks around the country, bookmakers are taking the same approach.
GGG to win … lots of Gs
For each of the first two fights, the then-undefeated Golovkin was a small favorite, roughly -160 to Canelo’s +130. But a lot has changed since that rematch four years ago.
Canelo has risen from middleweight to super middleweight (and at times light heavyweight, with mixed results) and ascended temporarily to the top of the many experts’ pound-for-pound lists. Golovkin has crossed from his 30s into his 40s and struggled mightily in two of the four fights he’s had over a relatively inactive four years. This third fight will be contested at the super middleweight limit, five pounds above the highest GGG has ever weighed in at as a pro.
Alvarez did lose his most recent fight, in May, but most have chalked up that poor result to leaping too far in weight against an opponent with just the wrong style. Oddsmakers certainly aren’t taking it as a sign that the 32-year-old Alvarez is vulnerable. The best price available in the two-way market on Canelo to win is -500 at PointsBet and BetMGM. In the three-way market, where bettors don’t get their money back if the result is a draw, FanDuel has him at -440.
On the Golovkin side, PointsBet has him at +390 in the three-way market, or he can be had at +380 at DraftKings with a draw giving bettors a refund.
This is not the toss-up their first two fights were. The perception, bolstered by how slow GGG looked en route to a ninth-round TKO win over limited Ryota Murata in April, is that Golovkin has slipped substantially since his first two battles with Alvarez. Punching power is often the last thing to go, and Golovkin still has that, with 37 knockouts on his 42-1-1 record, so bettors would be foolish to count him out at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
But conventional wisdom suggests that Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) has waited out his fellow future Hall of Famer until just the right time to get the definitive victory he couldn’t capture four and five years ago.
Shopping for props
For Golovkin believers, the underdog moneyline may look attractive. But for Canelo backers, the straight-up price is tough to lay — unless they’re parlaying it to improve the payout on, say, a football game they like.
So for those looking to win money on this fight without laying out a bundle on Canelo’s moneyline, the props are worthy of examination.
The best price on Alvarez by decision is +105 at DraftKings, while FanDuel offers the best return on Canelo by KO at +195. GGG by KO, meanwhile, is +900 at PointsBet, and a Golovkin decision win is +750 at DraftKings.
Think there’s a good chance of a second draw in three meetings? PointsBet has that a tantalizing 22/1, compared to 18/1 or 20/1 at most other books. (Or compared to 18/1 at their own book! In a weird little oddsmaking miscue, PB has it +2200 in the three-way market but only +1800 if you check under “method of victory.” As always, bettors should look carefully before locking in their wager.)
The over/under on rounds in the fight is fascinating in that the books have set a variety of lines. PointsBet has it at 8.5 rounds with huge -334 juice on the over, +240 on the under. FanDuel offers 9.5 rounds, -235 on the over, +180 on the under. And DraftKings is all the way up at 10.5 rounds, just -190 on the over, and +150 on the under.
To go the 12-round distance, the best prices are -160 on the “yes” at BetMGM and +120 on the “no” at both BetMGM and DraftKings.
For those looking to hit on a longshot, most books offer wagers on Canelo or GGG to win by knockout in a specific round. At FanDuel, for example, the payouts range from +1900 on Alvarez in either round 8 or round 9 to +10000 on Golovkin in any individual round among the first five or round 12.
Or bettors can consider groups of rounds. Canelo by KO (or TKO or DQ) in rounds 7-9 pays +650 at FanDuel, Canelo in rounds 10-12 pays +800, or the combined option of Canelo in 7-12 pays +330.
Lastly, there’s fun to be had betting on knockdowns. FanDuel offers both fighters knocked down at +500, Canelo knocked down at +198, GGG knocked down at -102, Canelo knocked down and wins at +650, and Golovkin knocked down and wins at +1100.
Unlike FanDuel, DraftKings offers two-way markets on those props. So, for example, Canelo not knocked down is -500 (with a hefty +300 on Canelo to be knocked down), Golovkin not knocked down is -130, and you can get an intriguing +115 on the fight to feature zero official knockdowns — which, for what it’s worth, is the total number of knockdowns they scored in their first 24 rounds together.
Photo: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY