One look at the lopsided Las Vegas odds for the Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos "El Chino" Maidana fight, and it's easy to see whom oddsmakers are favoring in Saturday's clash.
Per Odds Shark, Mayweather is listed as a -1429 favorite to move to 46-0 in his Hall of Fame-bound career.
That's the take from the faceless standard-setters in Sin City, but what do some of the sport's experts think about the Mayweather-Maidana bout?
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports
Much has been made of Marcos Maidana's KO percentage. It is 81.58 percent, by the way, per BoxRec.
Is that an impressive number? Sure it is, but as is the case with all boxing statistics, perspective is needed to decipher what the numbers mean.
Iole breaks down Maidana's ability to finish against world-class competition.
Iole argues that Maidana's career against world-class fighters began in 2009 when he dropped a split decision to Andriy Kotelnik.
By Iole's logic, Maidana faced 11-13 high level opponents in a row.
So since Feb. 7, 2009, when he began to meet world-class opposition, Maidana is 10-3 with seven knockouts.
That's a knockout percentage of 53.8, much less than his overall percentage. By way of comparison, his knockout rate in his 25 bouts before meeting Kotelnik was 96 percent.
And given that Mayweather is harder to knock out than most, what does that say about Maidana's chance to actually win? It says it's very slim.
Essentially, Iole is saying that Maidana's reputation as a knockout fighter was built fighting low-class competition. He's been much less ferocious against good fighters.
Maidana is largely in with Mayweather because of his win over Adrien "The Problem" Broner. But he didn't finish him, either.
What does that say about Maidana's power? Even worse, what does that say about Broner?
Bill Barner of East Side Boxing
It's not hard to see the similarities between this fight and Mayweather's bout with Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton. The latter was a pressure fighter who had designs on smothering Mayweather to close the distance and wear him down.
It didn't work.
Mayweather stopped Hatton in the 10th round. A hard left hook sent Hatton reeling into the corner and down. He would be stopped moments afterward.
Here are highlights of the bout:
It took Mayweather two or three rounds to get adjusted to Hatton's pressure and foot speed, but once he did, he seemingly landed at will.
Barner of East Side Boxing believes Mayweather-Maidana will end in similar fashion.
Mayweather in a late-round TKO. I predict this fight to play out much like Mayweather vs. Hatton. Maidana will come out swinging. He will throw a lot of power punches and try to catch Mayweather off guard. However, Mayweather will likely use his defensive and counter-punching skills to wear down Maidana, leaving him vulnerable to a late-fight TKO – one birthed largely from Maidana’s own exhaustion.
I also predict the fight will end this way. Mayweather is looking to make a statement, and he's smart enough to know the styles align properly for him to do just that.
The predictions of those who have spent decades covering the sport are important. However, there's value in getting the thoughts of the men who actually throw hands in the ring too.
Elie Seckbach of ESNews collected the opinions of several current fighters.
The video below features predictions and opinions on Mayweather-Maidana from WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, welterweight contender Jesus Soto Karass, former WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon, flyweight contender Giovani Segura and others.
Take a look.
Each fighter seems to favor Mayweather in the bout, but most believe Maidana at least has a shot to win.
Many of them cite Maidana's success against Broner as proof that El Chino could shock the world.
Mayweather is more than aware that the win over Broner has given Maidana confidence, per Showtime Sports:
Particularly interesting is the segment with Soto Karass and Ponce De Leon. De Leon faced Broner and gave him one of his toughest fights early in his career.
De Leon demonstrates tactics and strategies he would use to defeat Mayweather. How good has a fighter become when fighters all over the world congregate in their respective gyms and attempt to crack his code?
It makes me think of the classic lines from Rakim in the song "My Melody." The R says:
I take seven emcees put 'em in a line
And add seven more brothers who think they can rhyme
Well, it'll take seven more before I go for mine
Now that's 21 emcees ate up at the same time
The opponents continue to line up and plot Money's demise, but no one has been able to name that tune.
The Pod Index Formula
What if there was a formula of some sort that took into account fighters' tendencies, judges' consistency and preferences and rendered predictions based on the cumulative data?
It seems there is, and it's called the Pod Index.
The site gives a rating to important round-determining factors such as work rate and power punch accuracy.
It only takes into account fights the fighters have had within the last five years.
The site sent me exclusive data on the Mayweather-Maidana bout. As you can see from the graph below, Mayweather's performance is pretty consistent throughout a 12-round bout. Maidana seems to get better as his fights go on.
Maidana drew a higher rating in work rate. He was scored 59 to Mayweather's 51 in this category. But Money owned a huge advantage in power punch accuracy.
Mayweather's rating was a 67, and Maidana's was a 55. When the site factored in strength of opposition, Mayweather's edge grew even more.
This supports Iole's theory.
The ability to win rounds is predictably in Mayweather's favor as well. Money has won 74 percent of the rounds he's fought, while Maidana has won just 57 percent.
The Pod Index gives Money an 88 percent chance of winning and El Chino just 8. The formula calculates a four percent chance of a draw.
The judges are the final piece of the puzzle. The three human beings who sit ringside can infuriate or satisfy us with their decisions.
The Pod Index scores each judge based on consistency and even gauges preferences (work rate or power punches).
Each judge's name is linked to a data page. Details of every fight he or she has judged in the last five years are available.
The Pod Index states, "The statistics reveal how often they [judges] agree with each other on a round-by-round basis. Essentially, we attempt to answer the question, holding everything else equal, “[H]ow mainstream is each judge?'"
The higher the total percentage, the more consistent said judge is with his or her peers.
That said, all three judges in this bout have pretty high percentage rankings. They are as follows:
Michael Pernick 81.7
Burt Clements 81.0
Dave Moretti 79.9
Clements is the judge who notoriously scored the opening round of Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez's first fight 10-7 despite the fact that Pacquiao had floored Marquez three times.
Per BoxRec, Clements didn't know he could have scored it 10-6 for Pacquiao. He said, "I just screwed up. I feel badly because I dropped the ball, plainly and simply. You can make a lot of arguments that it was a very close fight, but that's immaterial. The fact is, I dropped the ball."
That single point was the difference, as the fight was ruled a split-decision draw. Had Clements given Pacquiao the point, Pacquiao would have won.
That was nearly 10 years ago. Based on Clements' other work, it seems to be an aberration.
To wrap it all up and place a nice bow on top, the Pod Index predicts the Mayweather-Maidana scorecards will look as follows, provided there are no knockdowns or a knockout: 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112, all in favor of Mayweather.
It seems man and machine are all about Money in this one.
Follow me. I'm addicted to the sweet science.