On Saturday, July 20th, the legendary Manny Pacquiao steps back into the boxing ring to challenge WBA welterweight champ Keith Thurman in the headline fight for the highly anticipated PBC on FOX PPV.
This boxing card will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the main card set to begin at 9PM ET.
In addition to Pacquiao and Thurman battling it out for welterweight glory, the PPV portion of the card will feature three other fights including former champ Sergey Lipinets taking on John Molina Jr., the former bantamweight champ Luis Nery fighting Juan Carlos Payano, and a semi-main event of Yordenis Ugas taking on the undefeated, former lightweight champ Omar Figueroa Jr.
The non-PPV portion of this event will begin at 7 PM ET on FOX, and it features a super middleweight title fight as Caleb Plant puts his belt on the line against Mike Lee.
Another notable name on the card is the undefeated heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba taking on Ali Eren Demirezen.
In total, there are a dozen fights tentatively scheduled for this event.
Currently, boxing betting sites only have odds for half of the advertised card. Let’s take a look at these odds, identify any betting value or potential upsets, and KO our picks.
Over the last three years, Caleb Plant has been a large betting favorite in every fight except for one. In January, Plant was an underdog against Jose Uzcategui but ended up winning via UD.
Plant comes into this contest as a large favorite again and offers no betting value.
Mike Lee has been a betting favorite in his last couple of fights, which makes this bout the first time he’s been an underdog in several years. Lee is undefeated and has won regional titles.
He could be worthy of a flier for those extreme risk-takers out there.
|Boxer||Caleb Plant||Mike Lee|
Mike Lee is coming down from light heavyweight to take on Plant for the super middleweight title. He’s also putting his undefeated record on the line in a match where Lee is a large underdog.
Lee last fought 13 months ago and won via UD. Prior to that, he fought three times in the previous 21 months.
Lee has shown some speed and power throughout his career, but he has also spent a lot of time focusing on his business ventures outside the ring. Additionally, he’s had some health issues to deal with. With that said, this is the biggest fight of Lee’s career, and he’s definitely excited about becoming a world champ:
“I’m very excited. On July 20 I will be fighting for the world title live on FOX in Las Vegas and it’s a dream come true. I’m 21-0, about to be 22-0 and bringing everything I’ve got to this fight. I’m normally fighting at 175-pounds but I’m bringing all the power and speed down to 168 and I’m ready to win this belt. It has been a long camp and I feel ready.”
Lee has fought on a handful of Manny Pacquiao undercards. He enjoys the large crowds that come out to support Manny. Lee feels that they have embraced him as well.
As for his opponent, Lee doesn’t believe Plant will stop him from winning the belt. Lee believes that Plant is insecure, which is why he’s being overly critical of Mike’s career inside and outside of the ring.
This will be Plant’s first title defense as he won the belt by defeating Jose Uzcategui in January. It will also be Plant’s fourth fight in the last 22 months, and he’s looking to steamroll over Lee this weekend. Plant has gone the distance in five straight fights without wearing down in the latter rounds.
Against Lee, Plant feels that his opponent doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Additionally, Plant is shooting to finish this fight as quickly as possible.
That might be a tough task considering it’s been 37 months since he last scored a KO/TKO.
Lee might be the bigger of the two fighters, but Plant is clearly the more technical of the two and the better boxer.
Furthermore, it’s been 13 months since Lee last fought. That’s a long time out of the ring. I believe this is too big of a challenge for Lee to overcome. I expect Mike to put forth a valiant effort and possibly go the distance.
Unfortunately, I just think that Plant’s skills are better than Lee’s. I’m taking Plant to win via UD.
Nery is the largest betting favorite on the night, according to online betting sites with available odds. Not all of his fights have had listed odds, but his last bout against Arroyo did. In that fight, Nery was a massive favorite at -5000 odds.
He hasn’t been an underdog since the Yamanaka rematch in March 2018.
Payano has alternated between underdog and betting favorite over the last three years. He last fought in March and was the favorite, but his fight last October saw him as the underdog.
Payano is a decent fighter, but I don’t see him being worthy of a flier.
|Boxer||Luis Nery||Juan Carlos Payano|
Juan Carlos Payano has gone 4-2 in his last six contests with both losses coming in world title fights. His first loss was to Rau’Shee Warren in June 2016 via majority decision. His second loss was last October when he suffered a first-round knockout to Naoya Inoue.
Payano bounced back from the Inoue loss and won via UD over Vasquez four months ago, but he’s jumping right back into the fire with Nery.
This is a dangerous fight for Payano, and a KO loss could send his career spiraling downward. With that said, Payano isn’t worried and is very confident heading into this bout. In fact, Payano insists that he will give Nery the worst beating of his career.
“We want everything to believe that I’m done, that I’m just a name opponent at this point. We know that’s what Nery and his people were thinking when they called us. I can’t wait to make him pay on July 20, he doesn’t know what’s coming. Luis Nery is in for the worst beating of his career.”
Nery is 11 years younger than Payano and also has the slight advantage with height and reach. More importantly, if it weren’t for a lack of discipline outside of the ring, Nery could’ve been a two-time world champ by now.
Nery has held regional or smaller titles, but he was unable to capture a world title after failing a drug test in the first fight against Shinsuke Yamanaka and then didn’t make weight for their rematch eight months later.
Nery won both fights via TKO.
Nery’s last fight was in March, and he won via RTD due to Arroyo not coming out for round five. McJoe Arroyo was already knocked down four times by that point.
Nery has an impressive 79% knockout rate with 23 KO/TKO wins in 29 professional fights. At 29-0, Nery has become a ranked contender and the #1 mandatory challenger for the WBC bantamweight title.
In fact, the WBC has ruled that the winner of Inoue and Oubaali must fight Nery next.
As for this fight, Nery believes he will win, but he does give his opponent credit:
“Payano is a good fighter, he (Inoue) caught him cold. Payano is not easy at all, he has experience, he is crafty, he moves, he grabs you, but with the preparation we have done, we will win.”
Nery’s goal is to clean out the division by defeating all of the champs like Tete, Inoue, and Donaire. For that to happen, he has to get past Payano, or these lofty goals won’t come to fruition.
Fortunately, I believe he will. Nery is a better fighter than Payano, who appears to be on the downside of his peak. I believe Nery is going to stop Payano inside the distance and collect another TKO victory.
I like Nery’s skills as he should’ve been the champ already.
Other than his bout against Mikey Garcia 16 months ago, Lipinets has been the betting favorite in eight of his last nine fights. He was a slight favorite over Lamont Peterson in March and scored the TKO win. Lipinets is a large betting favorite in this fight and doesn’t offer any value due to the -1500 odds.
Molina Jr. used to be a contender but is nothing more than a stepping-stone at this point in his career. I’m actually surprised he’s not a bigger underdog for this fight.
Molina is not worthy of a flier.
|Boxer||Sergey Lipinets||John Molina Jr.|
John Molina Jr. was once a contender in the junior welterweight division but has lost five of his last eight fights. Molina last stepped into the ring five months ago and suffered a UD loss to Omar Figueroa Jr. who’s fighting in the co-main event of this card.
Two and a half years ago, Molina suffered a TKO loss to Terence Crawford. From April 2014 to March 2015, Molina lost three straight fights to Matthysse, Soto, and Broner.
Bottom line, Molina has lost to any credible opponent he’s faced over the last seven years.
Molina will have a four-inch reach advantage and a three-inch height advantage. However, I don’t see either of those helping him in this fight.
Lipinets has bounced back from his fight against Mikey Garcia 16 months ago when he suffered the first loss of his career and dropped the IBF light welterweight title. Since then, he’s won two fights including a tenth-round TKO over Lamont Peterson in March.
That TKO victory bumped his career total up to 11 TKO/KO wins, which gives him a 69% knockout rate.
Lipinets is known for being a power puncher who can pummel his opponents. His only struggle was against Garcia, who was a better boxer.
Fortunately for Team Lipinets, Molina isn’t a better boxer. In fact, his team is preparing to retire Molina just like they did to Lamont Peterson in March.
I doubt that Molina will retire even with a loss, but I do see Lipinets finishing off his opponent this weekend. I like Sergey’s power, and I believe he is the better fighter in this contest.
Like I said above, I am surprised that Molina isn’t a bigger underdog considering the trajectory of each fighter’s career. Lipinets is closing in on a welterweight title fight while Molina is closing in on returning to the club scene or maybe even retiring.
I’m taking Lipinets to win via TKO.
Yordenis Ugas is the favorite for this fight, and it marks the seventh time in his last nine fights that he has been. Only his fights against Porter in March and James in August 2016 have seen Ugas as an underdog.
Yordenis is coming off a loss to Porter, which some people say that he should’ve won.
Nevertheless, online betting sites feel that Ugas is the favorite for this exciting matchup.
For Figueroa Jr., this is arguably the biggest fight of his career to date, and he’s a slight underdog despite being undefeated. Omar was a sizable favorite against Molina in their fight five months ago, but the roles have reversed.
With that said, I do believe Figueroa offers betting value. If you are adamant about Ugas winning, then he does have small value. Keep an eye on these lines; I can see them shrinking throughout the week.
|Boxer||Yordenis Ugas||Omar Figueroa Jr.|
Figueroa might be the undefeated fighter, but he’s viewed as the underdog and rightfully so. He hasn’t quite faced the level of competition that Ugas has as of yet.
However, this fight could put Figueroa in the driver’s seat for a title shot against Shawn Porter for the WBC welterweight title.
Speaking of Porter, he made his prediction for this fight known, and he’s picking Ugas to win.
As for Figueroa, he’s been counted out before. Yet he keeps on rising to the occasion. Against Robert Guerrero two years ago, Figueroa was counted out by some pundits and fans. He responded by going out to the ring and winning via TKO in the third round and retiring Guerrero.
Then against Molina, some fans and critics thought he wasn’t going to be able to get past the veteran. Omar would win via UD.
With that said, Ugas is the best fighter that Figueroa has ever faced before, and he’s determined to hand Omar the first loss of his career:
“This is a big opportunity for me to derail another undefeated fighter. Omar Figueroa Jr is a young hungry fighter who’s never tasted defeat but that will all change on July 20. He’s never been in with an experienced fighter like me. I have the style to beat him and I’m going to let my hands fly on fight night! …The fans deserve a war and that’s what I’m going to give them. I’m determined more than ever to prove to the world that I’m one of the best welterweights in the division.”
As mentioned above, Ugas lost a very close fight to Shawn Porter in March. However, he came out of the contest looking stronger than when he went in.
Now, he can earn a rematch against Porter with a win this weekend. Prior to the Porter loss, Ugas had won eight straight fights and became a world title contender in the process.
I’m certainly not counting Figueroa out as he has the skills to win this fight. But Ugas is more battle-tested.
As Porter said in a recent interview, Ugas is more prepared for this big stage because he just fought for the world title.
That experience will make a difference in this fight on Saturday.
I’m going with Ugas to win this fight via UD as I agree with Porter on his assessment. Ugas should wear down Figueroa with his powerful body shots and then take control of the fight. I don’t think he will stop Figueroa in this fight, but I do think he will get at least a majority decision.
I’m looking forward to a great co-main event fight and then the rematch against Porter.
Manny Pacquiao comes into this fight having been the betting favorite since his bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2015. He was a notable favorite over Horn and Matthysse but then was a huge favorite over Broner.
It’s quite remarkable seeing a 40-year-old Pacquiao being listed as the favorite over an undefeated world champ who’s ten years younger.
Thurman has only fought twice in the last 28 months, but he was the favorite in both of them. It’s been quite some time since he was the underdog in a fight.
If you believe that Thurman will win, then he does offer great value.
If you think Pacquiao will win, his odds are still low enough that they offer solid betting value as well.
|Boxer||Keith Thurman||Manny Pacquiao|
|Record||29-0, 1 NC||61-7-2|
As mentioned, Keith Thurman has only fought twice since March 2017. That fight saw him win the WBA and WBC welterweight titles from Danny Garcia via split decision.
Afterward, he would need time off for elbow surgery.
Unfortunately, as he was ready to return to the ring, Thurman had his career derailed due to a car accident that saw him suffer multiple injuries. After missing all of 2018, Thurman would return in early 2019 to take on Josesito Lopez where he won via majority decision.
It certainly wasn’t the performance that many expected. Nevertheless, the win still kept Thurman undefeated and in line for a bigger fight.
And that “bigger fight” is this weekend.
Thurman wants to go punch for punch with Pacquiao. Thurman believes that he has the power to win those exchanges, and his team is declaring that the champ is in the best shape of his career.
With that said, Thurman also credits Pacquiao for his speed, his footwork, and the eight-division champ’s ability to throw a high volume of punches.
Manny Pacquiao comes into this title fight defying age and logic. The 40-year-old former eight-division champion continues to impress pundits and fans with his youthful fighting.
In fact, when watching him against Adrien Broner six months ago, it was hard to believe we were even watching a 40-year-old man. Pacquiao was faster and more athletic than the 29-year-old Broner.
That UD victory over Broner only further added to the legend of “Pac Man.”
Now, Manny faces an opponent who is undefeated and does have championship fight experience. Additionally, Pacquiao will be giving up a few inches in height and reach. But while he might be smaller, Pacquiao is clearly faster and throws more punches.
Additionally, he has better combos and footwork than Thurman does.
When it comes to stamina, there’s no doubting that Manny has this advantage as well. Thurman might be more powerful, but he will need to win the phone booth exchanges in order to win the rounds.
Another key to this fight will be how Pacquiao respects Thurman’s power and boxing skills. If he is careless, then he could eat one too many power shots and end up face-first on the canvas.
Manny Pacquiao is clearly the best fighter that Thurman has ever faced. Yet Thurman is not the best fighter that Pacquiao has faced since the Mayweather fight.
There are more questions than answers with Thurman at this stage of his career. He was once a dangerous fighter, but the last two years have hurt him inside the ring.
I believe that Pacquiao’s output, speed, and athleticism will be too much for Thurman to counter. If we get the same Pacquiao from earlier this year, then he will win via UD.
If we get any less of a Pacquiao, then Thurman will have a great chance.
With that said, I believe HOF trainer Freddie Roach will have Pacquiao in top shape and ready for anything that Thurman will throw at Manny.
I’m taking Manny to win this fight. As for the method of victory, check out the prop bet section below.
In addition to betting on the outright winner via their moneyline, sports bettors can also place wagers on prop bets for this fight. The following props are courtesy of BetOnline.
In Pacquiao’s career, 38 of his 70 pro fights have gone the distance. Over the last ten fights, Pacquiao has gone to the scorecards in eight of those bouts.
For Thurman, he’s only gone the distance in seven of his pro fights. However, five of his last six fights have been decision victories.
The odds favor this fight going the distance according to boxing betting sites. And when you look over each fighter’s recent resume, it’s clear that they’re going the distance in this one.
For this prop bet, the smart play here is taking the “Yes” option. Avoid the “No” option as there are better value plays in the next prop bet.
Since this fight is in Las Vegas, and there have been many questionable scoring results by the judges in recent memory, a draw would be a great way for all parties to get paid and then have a rematch.
However, let’s put the conspiracy theories aside for now and rule out a draw.
As mentioned above, I do believe this fight is going the distance. I feel that both fighters are too tough for the other to finish off unless a lucky power punch lands for either man.
With that said, we can rule out the KO/TKO betting options. This leaves us with the options for who will win via decision.
Both decision options have decent returns on your investment. If you place a $100 wager on either decision option, then you will win $185 dollars on Thurman or $145 dollars on Pacquiao.
As I stated in my prediction, I believe Pacquiao is going to win this fight and do so via decision. Whether it’s a split decision, majority decision, or unanimous decision, it doesn’t matter for this wager.
All that matters is that Pacquiao has his hand raised as the winner after we go to the scorecards.
This is quite possibly the biggest fight of the year to date. Unless we see another championship fight for Canelo later this year or the potential rematch of Ruiz vs Joshua, I don’t see any other fight eclipsing this excitement.
The legendary Pacquiao, who is my favorite boxer of all-time along with Marvin Hagler, brings a lot of excitement to his fights and will do so this weekend.
I believe Thurman is a great foe for Manny as it will allow for Pacquiao to show off his speed and footwork. I don’t see that being the case if Manny were to fight Errol Spence Jr. I would worry about Manny against Crawford as well.
The main card for this PPV is loaded with intriguing fights, including the co-main event of Figueroa Jr. vs Ugas.
The one black eye about this PPV is the $74.99 price tag. If you can afford it, then get this PPV.
Otherwise, go to a sports bar and watch the legendary Pac Man fight one more time.
The following boxing card is according to ESPN.
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