Boxing

Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman: Fight Odds, Undercard, Predictions

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Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman go toe-to-toe Saturday, July 20, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with the WBA welterweight world title on the line. This fight sets in motion the first of three Premier Boxing Champions events that will determine who the king of the welterweight division who isn’t named Terence Crawford.

THE ODDS

I’ve been writing a lot about the odds for this fight lately. A few weeks ago I discussed what the initial change in the odds tells us, then I talked about why Pacquiao became the odds on favorite to defeat Thurman. My bettors’ guide provides my four best bets for this fight. According to the boxing odds at MyBookie, Pacquiao is a -145 favorite and Thurman is a +125 underdog. In boxing terms, this is as even odds as you’re going to get as the oddsmakers tend to show more disparity at the championship level. The 40-year-old Pacquiao is coming off a two-fight win streak against two quality fighters in Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner in addition to being the more active fighter compared to Thurman, 30, who struggled against Josesito Lopez in January after a two year layoff.

As I suspected and predicted on June 26, the total rounds for Pacquiao vs. Thurman are finally set for 11 1/2 rounds, meaning the oddsmakers are counting on this fight going the distance. Especially with the odds set for the fight going the distance at -330.

UNDERCARD

PPV card (9 PM ET)

Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman

Yordenis Ugas vs. Omar Figueroa

Sergey Lipinets vs. John Molina Jr

Luis Nery vs. Juan Carlos Payano

FOX card (7 PM ET)

Caleb Plant vs. Mike Lee

Efe Ajagba vs. Ali Eren Demirezen

PREDICTION

I haven’t picked Manny Pacquiao to lose a fight in over a decade. However, although it’s counterintuitive to the populous and the odds, I feel that Thurman is going to win a close decision. Maybe even a split decision or a majority decision. Boxing fans have been fed so much of the Pacquiao narrative leading up to this fight that both the odds and public opinion have been transformed to get behind the only eight-division champion in boxing history. Those fans, however, might be sleeping on Thurman because they just don’t remember how dominant he was prior to his two-year layoff.

I feel that after the initial feeling out period and Pacquiao’s aggressive attempts to back up Thurman, although most likely employing a counterpunching strategy, I feel Thurman will be able to begin to time Pacquiao coming in. I also think that we’re not going to see a typical Thurman fight. I feel where going to see Thurman utilize some of the tactics Jeff Horn used to defeat Pacquiao just over two years ago in July 2017. Look for Thurman to not allow Pacquiao to get in a rhythm allowing him to utilize his trademark speed and use of angles. Look for Thurman to push Pacquiao’s head down while in a clinch, looking to out muscle Pacquiao and weaken the 40-year-old legs of the Filipino senator. In addition, I’m counting on Thurman keeping that jab going in an effort to catch Pacquiao who can be prone to leading with his head.

I’m going more with my gut in this bout by picking Thurman in a close fight—in addition to the possibility of a draw. There’s just something about the odds, the way they’ve changed and the fact that a draw is at only +1600, which is about five hundred dollars less than the typical odds for a draw of a fight of this caliber which is usually in the +2200 range.

If it’s a draw, Pacquiao gets to fight again, possibly against the dangling carrot he’s been chasing since 2015 in Floyd Mayweather Jr, possibly luring Mayweather out of retirement for one last fight. Thurman on the other hand, can go on to fight the winner of Spence vs. Porter and PBC is happy across the board.

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