One of boxing’s biggest stars returns to the ring on Saturday when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defends his undisputed super middleweight championship against undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo. The meeting, the first between current undisputed champions in boxing’s “four belt era,” is sure to drum up plenty of interest not just among boxing fans but in the general public.
And, like any major sporting event that draws significant eyeballs, the fight is also likely to do big business at sportsbooks around the world.
Alvarez is a favorite heading into the fight, though less so than against many opponents. Let’s take a look at the odds and breakdown what they’re implying along with some interesting questions on the bets that can be made for Saturday night.
Alvarez vs. Charlo main card odds
|Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (c) -420||Jermell Charlo +320||Undisputed super middleweight title|
|Jesus Ramos -440||Erickson Lubin +340||Junior middleweight|
|Yordenis Ugas -230||Mario Barrios +190||Vacant interim WBC welterweight title|
|Elijah Garcia -365||Jose Resendiz +285||Middleweight|
The Alvarez -420 line converts to implied odds of an Alvarez victory at 80.77% and Charlo at 23.81%. Standard gambling logic would suggest if you believe either man has a higher chance of winning the fight than their implied odds, that would be a good bet with positive value.
It’s important to remember a number of factors heading into the fight. Alvarez is the bigger man, more comfortable fighting at super middleweight and with more experience in massive fights. This is a two-division step up in weight for Charlo and an equally big step in terms of level of competition.
In Charlo’s favor, Alvarez has looked as though he has declined over recent fights, getting hit more often, fading in the second half of fights and generally looking just a bit slower and less dynamic overall.
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For more details on the undercard, check out our full undercard breakdown. Every fight on the card is well-matched and every fight has significant meaning.
What does a four-fight “all favorites” parlay pay? If you wanted to just go with the “chalk” on the main card and pick every favorite to win, that would parlay to +178. At +178, $100 bet on the four main card favorites would pay out $277.74. Those are implied odds of 36%.
Now, let’s move on to the prop market as that is typically where bettors can find more even odds.
Alvarez vs. Charlo method of result
|Alvarez via decision or technical decision||-135|
|Alvarez via KO, TKO or DQ||+260|
|Charlo via decision or technical decision||+460|
|Charlo via KO, TKO or DQ||+900|
The most likely outcome according to the oddsmakers is a decision win for Canelo. That may be a bit surprising considering he is fighting a man coming up two weight divisions for his first career fight at super middleweight.
This may well be due to Alvarez’s recent performances. After being thoroughly outboxed by Dmitry Bivol in an attempt to become light heavyweight champion for a second time in his career, Alvarez turned in somewhat uninspiring performances against Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder. He’s gone three consecutive fights without scoring a stoppage win for just the third time in a career that has already spanned 63 fights. Failing to stop Ryder was a big red flag for many when it comes to concerns over whether any Alvarez decline is impacting his power.
Is there value in betting the draw? Betting a draw is always high risk, as made clear by the +1800 line. While it may not be a recommended play, it may be an intriguing one were you to want to throw a “dart” at a potentially big payout. Let’s take a look at some recent results for Alvarez:
- Alvarez vs. Golovkin — Sept. 17, 2022: Alvarez did appear to deserve a wide decision win but by fading in the late rounds, the fight tightened up on the official scorecards, with two giving Alvarez razor-thin wins at 115-113.
- Alvarez vs. Bivol — May 7, 2022: Alvarez was roundly outboxed by a bigger, smarter and more technical Bivol in this light heavyweight clash. Still, Alvarez’s name value may have had an effect on the scoring as two judges turned in narrow 115-113 cards for Bivol.
- Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant — Nov. 6, 2021: Alvarez was only up 96-94 on one of the three official cards when he stopped Plant in Round 11.
- Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders — May 8, 2021: At the time when the Saunders corner stopped the fight after the eighth round, Alvarez was only up 77-75 on one of the three official scorecards.
While all three judges saw the fight for Alvarez against Plant and Saunders, one judge in both of those fights saw things as very close. Combine that with the Bivol and Golovkin cards, and Alvarez has struggled to pull away against a variety of recent opponents in the judges’ eyes.
Similarly, Charlo has been in many very close fights in recent years. He lost a hotly debated decision to Tony Harrison in 2018 and the rematch was again close on the cards when Charlo scored a stoppage in Round 11, with scores split both ways.
In his most recent fights, Charlo first battled Brian Castano to a split draw and then was in a tough, competitive rematch before scoring a late knockout.
While a draw play may not be “recommended,” it may be appealing given the tendency for both to be in close fights in recent years along with Alvarez’s decline maybe opening up late rounds for Charlo to steal.
Alvarez vs. Charlo other prop bets
|Fight to go the distance: Yes||-250|
|Fight to go the distance: No||+190|
|Alvarez to win in Round 8||+1800|
|Alvarez to win in Round 9||+2000|
|Alvarez to win in Round 7||+2000|
|Charlo to win in Round 6||+5500|
|Charlo to win in Round 7||+5500|
|Charlo to win in Round 8||+5500|
I’ve only included the three rounds the odds suggest are the most likely for either fighter to get a stoppage. Round betting is a bit of a wild idea and you are relying on almost pure luck more than any true “read” of a fight when you throw money at them. Really, round betting feels only a minor step up from betting on the duration of the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
If your sportsbook offers grouped round betting, however, you can see that the odds would imply you want to get any grouping of Rounds 7, 8 and 9 for Alvarez or 6, 7 and 8 for Charlo.
More interesting are the lines for the fight to go the distance.
Will the fight go the distance? As stated earlier, Alvarez has struggled to put together a complete fight in his three most recent bouts. Not knocking out Ryder, who is a fighter of a level Alvarez has always blasted out in his career, stands out as especially troubling. Charlo may be a smaller man, but he’s a better fighter than Ryder has ever been.
Still, both of these men can crack. Charlo has really embraced sitting down on his punches over his most recent stretch of fights, even if those fights are spread over a long timeline as Charlo has not been particularly active.
If the fighters begin to stand and trade rather than patiently box, there is a good chance someone’s chin — most likely Charlo’s — could get cracked.
Is that chance higher than the 34.48% implied by the +190 line for the fight to not reach the final bell? That’s a math problem for you to spend some time on if you are considering betting on a knockout.