Boxing Odds, Picks, Predictions: Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas Betting Preview (Aug. 21)
Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Manny Pacquiao.
- Manny Pacquiao is favored over Yordenis Ugas in Saturday night's welterweight title bout from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
- Pacquiao hasn't fought in two years and will have a reach and height disadvantage in this fight, but the betting market gives him a greater than 70% chance to win.
- Get Raheem Palmer's full breakdown and Pacquiao vs. Ugas pick below.
This wasn’t the fight we expected.
In perhaps one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) was set to take on Errol Spence for his IBF and WBC welterweight titles.
As we’ve learned many times over the past two years during the pandemic, nothing is certain — especially prize fights. With Spence pulling out of Saturday night’s fight due to a retinal tear in his left eye, Spence-Pacquiao joins Fury-Wilder III and Lopez-Kambosos as major fights that were postponed this year.
Fortunately all is not lost as Pacquiao is set to take on the WBA 147-pound champion Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) who was previously slotted to defend his title against Argentina’s Fabian Maidana in the co-main event. Ironically Pacquiao will be fighting for the same 147-pound title he won when he defeated the previously undefeated Keith Thurman by split decision in 2019.
The 42-year old Pacquiao has been more focused on his role as senator in the Philippines and after going 18 months without defending the title, the World Boxing Association stripped Pacquiao of his title while subsequently elevating Ugas to super champion.
Pacquiao vs. Ugas Updated Odds
In a full circle moment, these two meet in a match in which oddsmakers installed Pacquiao as a -290 favorite before the public pushed this line as high as -360 with the total rounds set at 10.5 rounds with the over juiced to -200.
Nevertheless, this is an intriguing matchup between Pacquiao — arguably the greatest fighter of this generation as the only eight-division world champion in boxing — and Ugas, a worthy challenger whose only loss in the past five years was a questionable decision against then WBC champion Shawn Porter.
Will Pacquiao overcome Father Time and the two year lay off to add to his Hall of Fame career or can Ugas pull off the upset?
Is Pacquiao Still Right After the Layoff?
It’s tough to not analyze this fight without referencing the the disappointment of Spence pulling out of this fight. Spence is the Ring Magazine’s No. 1 ranked welterweight and No. 6 on the pound-for-pound list. He is one of the best the sport has to offer and would be a tremendous challenge for the 42-year old Pacquiao to overcome at this stage of his career.
There’s a reason Spence opened as a near 5-1 favorite over Pacquiao. While those odds did come down largely due to Pacquiao’s loyal fan base, it’s pretty clear that that Spence was expected to win the fight.
Things are drastically different for this fight where Pacquiao sits at -360 over Ugas. Still, similar to Spence, Ugas has some advantages that make him a tough opponent. While Ugas is an orthodox fighter unlike the lefty Spence, he also has an age advantage (he’s seven years younger than Pac Man), height advantage (3.5 inches) and reach advantage (2 inches).
Ugas lacks name recognition for the casual fan, but he is a highly skilled counter puncher with a keen ability to time opposing fighters. More importantly, he proved that he can deal with and explosive fighter like Porter and that will be key in the matchup against Pacquiao.
Considering Pacquiao’s struggles against counter punchers (Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley), there’s reasons to be optimistic about Ugas’ chances in this fight.
However, Ugas lacks experience against elite fighters and you have to wonder if he has the power to keep Pacquiao honest as he has just 12 knockouts in his 30 pro fights.
In addition, I’m not sure he has the foot movement to deal with Pacquiao who can attack and throw from unorthodox angles. From my view, Manny’s superior footwork should play a big part in this fight, but it’s worth it to note that at 42 years old coming off a two year layoff there is come concern.
This isn’t the 2009 version of Pacquiao and we have seen him fade during the second half of fights. Thurman was able to fight his way back into their match and while Pacquiao did enough early on in the fight to get a split decision victory, he was certainly playing with fire and he could find himself in a similar position in this match.
Overall, Pacquiao should be the favorite in this matchup even if there are question marks about what version of him you’re getting on Saturday night.
Pacquiao vs. Ugas Pick
There’s one bet that immediately stands out to me and it’s the over 10.5 rounds. It’s juiced at -200, which implies that you would need to win this over 66% of the time to make a profit.
It’s really important to recognize that this is not prime Pacquiao. In fact, he only has one stoppage in his last 16 fights, that was a TKO against Lucas Matthysse in 2018. Before that his last stoppage came against Miguel Cotto in 2009, also by TKO.
Pacquiao just isn’t getting guys out of there the way he used to. Neither is Ugas who has just 12 career stoppages. In addition, he’s never been stopped throughout his career. With Ugas being the bigger fighter, I don’t see that changing here.
Pacquiao is rightfully the favorite but at this number its dog or pass and I’m not willing to play it. The value is on the total because I don’t see a stoppage from either of these fighters. I’ll take the over 10.5 rounds.
The Pick: Over 10.5 rounds (-200)