It’s been hard to find value the last few years betting on the best boxer in the world. Ukrainian southpaw wizard Vasiliy Lomachenko, who performs a violent ballet that contains elements of pound-for-pound predecessors Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Manny Pacquiao but is, as an end product, stylistically unprecedented, is not someone the sportsbooks typically make it easy to back.
Last time out, in August 2019 against solid Brit Luke Campbell, lightweight champ Lomachenko was, depending on the sportsbook and when you bet it, roughly a -1500 favorite. Prior to that, against less-solid Brit Anthony Crolla, most books had Lomachenko at an un-bet-able -10000. Lomachenko sat around -2000 vs. Jose Pedraza, a credible contender who would have been considered live against anyone else. Even against the highly regarded Jorge Linares, Loma was in the -1000 range.
To find the last fight in which sports gamblers were getting semi-attractive odds on Lomachenko, you’d have to go back to his 2017 meeting with fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, for which Lomachenko was “only” about -455 to prevail.
This weekend, Lomachenko believers will have a rare opportunity to bet on their man without having to bet a car payment in hopes of winning a tank of gas. He faces undefeated Fortnite-dancing star-in-the-making Teofimo Lopez, and although the odds on Lomachenko have been gradually creeping upward since the fight was first signed, he can be found as short as a -358 favorite. Lopez is a live ’dog. He’s a dangerous ’dog. And he might be catching Lomachenko at just the right time.
The last time a widely recognized pound-for-pound champ faced an undefeated 23-year-old with superstar potential came on Sept. 14, 2013, when Floyd Mayweather generated the most pay-per-view money in history to that point against Canelo Alvarez. In that case, it was Mayweather who was catching Alvarez at the right time; Canelo wasn’t ready and Floyd wasn’t overly faded, and Mayweather outboxed his opponent comprehensively over 12 forgettable rounds.
Prior to that, the last time this scenario unfolded came on March 17, 1990, when recognized pound-for-pound No. 1 Julio Cesar Chavez met 23-year-old undefeated speedster Meldrick Taylor. The result was an all-time classic in which Taylor fell literally two seconds short of an upset win and, with a different referee, might well have pulled it off.
From a pure talent perspective, Lopez, with a record of 15-0, 12 KOs, fits alongside Canelo and Taylor.
At 32, Lomachenko sits right between Chavez (28) and Mayweather (36) in terms of age, and like those boxing icons, he’s probably not at his absolute athletic peak but hasn’t slipped enough to give up his pound-for-pound perch. The lone loss on his record of 14-1, 10 KOs, came more than six years ago, in his second pro fight, when he took on 55-fight veteran Orlando Salido and nearly won despite his opponent failing to make weight and Lomachenko having to absorb a contrabass tuba concert’s worth of low blows. But after looking untouchable from 2015-17, Loma has exhibited hints of humanity since moving up to 135 pound in 2018. He got dropped by Linares. He lost a couple of rounds to Pedraza. He’s gone the distance in two of his last three.
And Lopez is the hardest hitting opponent Lomachenko has ever faced. There’s genuine intrigue here — as the odds at the legal U.S. sportsbooks reflect.
Better than 3/1 available on Teofimo
Here are the latest odds at seven notable books that offer “draw no bet” odds, meaning with these wagers it’s considered a push if the bout ends in a draw. (Slightly better payouts are available at some of these books if you’re willing to risk losing your bet in the case of a draw.)
The best return on Lopez is at William Hill, where there’s value if you believe he has better than a 23.3% chance of winning. PointsBet is currently the best option for putting money on Lomachenko, at a price that’s +EV if you think he wins the fight more than 78.2% of the time.
For what it’s worth, the highest number we’re seeing on a draw is +2200 at FOX Bet.
Top props, including a 25/1 shot
There are other ways to wager on Lomachenko-Lopez besides just picking a straight-up winner. Method of victory is a fine place to start, as you can bet on either fighter to win by KO (which includes TKO and disqualification) or by decision (which includes technical decision).
The best numbers were seeing:
- Lomachenko KO: +225, FOX Bet
- Lomachenko decision: +100, BetMGM
- Lopez KO: +550, DraftKings and FOX Bet
- Lopez decision: +800, BetMGM
Conventional wisdom holds that if the young upstart Lopez is going to win, it’ll be by catching the naturally smaller Lopez with a heavy power punch and finishing him inside the distance. Lomachenko, meanwhile, is believed to be more likely to outbox and frustrate Lopez than to render him unconscious, although a late stoppage achieved via an accumulation of punishment or a mistake made by a tired and desperate Lopez remains within the realm of possibility.
That’s where some interesting longshot bets on DraftKings come in, as Lomachenko by knockout between rounds 10-12 pays a healthy 11/1. And on the other side, if you believe in Lopez’s power and think it might prevail late, Teofimo by KO in rounds 10-12 is a hard-to-resist +2500 at DK.
You can also find individual round betting, with spin-of-the-roulette-wheel-type payouts, at numerous sportsbooks, and Bet365 offers over/under odds on any half-round in terms of how long the fight will go. The best price we’re seeing on the fight to go the distance is -164 at BetMGM, and if you want to bet on an ending anytime before the conclusion of round 12, DraftKings and Bet365 both pay +125.
And here’s one last market on FOX Bet if you want to bet on the fight without worrying about the outcome: Lomachenko to score a knockdown is +120 on the “yes” and -167 on the “no,” while Lopez to score a knockdown is +220 for “yes” and -333 for “no.”
No matter how you see the fight unfolding, regular boxing bettors will surely recognize how refreshing it is to be able to make multiple cases for what a Lomachenko outcome will be. On Saturday night, the upset isn’t unthinkable, and the favorite isn’t un-bet-able.
Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com