What was supposed to be a tuneup fight for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua took a shocking turn Saturday night in New York when he was defeated in the seventh round by huge underdog Andy Ruiz Jr., who closed +1100 at Caesars sportsbook.
Las Vegas bookmakers suffered a few body blows as well.
Joshua opened as a large -850 favorite (with Ruiz at +575), but his odds kept climbing as the money came in. Joshua closed as a massive -2500 favorite at Caesars, meaning a $100 wager would win $4.
“We lost on the fight, not a giant disaster or anything,” Alan Berg, senior oddsmaker at Caesars, told ESPN. “Money was mostly all on Ruiz thanks to the friendly 10-1 or 11-1 payouts, all the $10 and $20 guys love anything that adds a zero to their money. So it’s a good night for them.”
Berg said it was similar to when Holly Holm beat Ronda Rousey, although that fight had much more handle.
The story was the same at other Vegas books.
“We got beat up on the underdog Ruiz,” Tony DiTommaso, director of race and sports at CG Technology, told ESPN. “There were more tickets written on him and the price kept plummeting. We won a bit to the fight staying under.”
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews told ESPN in a text message that South Point took a $1,000 bet on the underdog Ruiz Jr. at 12-1 odds. “[The fight] didn’t kill us, but the dime bet at 12-1 stung a little,” Andrews wrote. “Mostly little stuff, but all on the dog.”
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and William Hill US both told ESPN that they were small losers on the fight.
At William Hill US locations in Nevada, 96 percent of the bets were on Ruiz, but 90 percent of the money came in on Joshua, due in large part to a $100,000 wager on Joshua at -2000 odds on May 23.