Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas: Bettor's Guide to the Main Event

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2021

Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas: Bettor's Guide to the Main Event

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    Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

    What: Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas

    Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

    When: August 21

    TV: Fox PPV

    What's At Stake: If you're Manny Pacquiao, the work's already been done.

    Regardless of what happens Saturday night against Yordenis Ugas, the Filipino will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with a resume that'll dwarf many of his Canastota contemporaries.

    He's won sanctioning body titles in seven weight classes. He's held the belt that Ugas will be defending, and actually never lost it in the ring. And he's repeatedly performed well in main-event spotlights.

    As for Ugas, there's still a bit to prove.

    The reigning WBA welterweight champ took the fight on short notice after Errol Spence Jr. pulled out with an eye injury, but the Cuban was already training for a fight on the same card and should be ready, at least conditioning-wise, to get to work this weekend.

    "This is a fight for my legacy, and I'm going to shock the world," he told Bleacher Report. "Everyone is counting me out, but I believe in myself and I had a fantastic training camp, which gives me tremendous confidence going into this fight. There was never a hesitation taking this fight."

    The question is whether he's ready for a guy, even at age 42, on Pacquiao's level.

    The folks who establish the betting lines say no.

    Pacquiao was a -360 moneyline proposition as of Tuesday evening at DraftKings, meaning it'd take a $360 investment to return a $100 profit if he earns career win No. 63. Meanwhile, Ugas begins the week at +275, which means he'd return a $275 profit on a $100 investment in the event he pulls off the upset.

    It's not hyperbolic to suggest the odds are just about right—Pacquiao has been a championship-level fighter since 1998, while Ugas was gifted the only title he's ever won—which makes it our job to sniff out the best places to invest with a worthwhile chance of generating a return.

    Click through to get a look at our thoughts, and feel free to let us know if the cash is flowing in the B/R Betting community section.

How Long Will the Fight Go?

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    If you're looking for options, you've come to the right place.

    DraftKings has a line for the total rounds the fight will go and prop bets for whether or not it'll go the distance and for what round or via what method a win will occur.

    Because Pacquiao is such a convincing favorite—read: unconvincing profit—to win straight up, we wanted to provide a handful of plays that could be worth a look if you're so inclined while knowing full well that they can't all pay out together.


    Lay the Juice: Over 10.5 Rounds (-210)

    It's not a sexy pick. But with Pacquiao commanding minus-360 on the straight moneyline, switching to the total rounds prop and getting the prospect of either him or Ugas winning at or near the full championship distance is a smart one. Given Ugas' sturdiness and Pacquiao's lack of recent KO pop, it's no reach to suggest this one goes 12 rounds. So investing toward that end is no lark. 


    To Go The Distance: No (+140)

    As we said, these picks will be contradictory in spots. And here's one. Truth told, there's not enough value here in either direction (the "Yes" play now sits at -195) to make it worth more than a passing glance on the way to something more lucrative. But if you're bound and determined to drop something here, you might as well give yourself a chance to save $95 while hoping for a KO.


    Sprinkles: Under 10.5 (+170), Yordenis Ugas by Points (after 12 rounds) (+400)

    If you want to win money on a fight where one guy is better than a 1-3 favorite, you're going to have to get creative. Sprinkle a couple of bucks on the prospect that Pacquiao (or who knows, maybe Ugas) gets it done before the deep water begins and it may work out. And for a little bigger winning method payout, watch Pacquiao's fight with Jeff Horn and imagine the Cuban doing the same thing.


    Dart Throw: Manny Pacquiao to Win In Round 9 (+1600)

    Feeling confident in your gut and frisky with your wallet? If so, then go ahead to the round betting and lay down a couple on Pacquiao to get the late stop. He began his first welterweight reign with a stoppage in the 12th, and though that was 12 years ago, it's still true that he's usually the fighter appearing fresher in the final third. He'll return $1,600 or better on a $100 bet for a win in any round past the eighth.

How Will They Win?

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    How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

    The best prospects for making money on how Saturday's fight will be decided lie somewhere near the corner of realistic and lucrative.

    Because Pacquiao is such a clear-cut favorite—and such a versatile fighter—it'd be no gigantic surprise if he won the fight in any number of ways.

    Again, that's good news for those choosing to veer off the straight-and-narrow moneyline path. So toward that end, here are a few suggestions.


    Hammer Lock: Manny Pacquiao Decision Or Tech Decision (+110)

    Sometimes it's best not to overthink things.

    Pacquiao is the better fighter. He's beaten better opposition. He's far more familiar with the pressures of a main-event slot on a pay-per-view show. And even at 42, he's proven completely worthy of placement among the top five on any respectable welterweight contenders list. 

    And somehow, though he's a -360 prospect on the straight moneyline, he's available for plus money to win on the scorecards and continue a 12-year run of fights without stopping a close-to-prime opponent.


    Dart Throw: Manny Pacquiao to Win In Round 9 (+1600)

    OK, we'll admit it. We're a little fixated on this Round 9 thing.

    Partially because we see Pacquiao as particularly dangerous in the mid-to-late going of this fight as opposed to earlier due to Ugas' awkward and potentially tricky style. And also because the payout for him winning in that round is $200 better than it would be in rounds 7 or 8. 

    Imagine a runner trying desperately to grind through the final few miles of a marathon. Only this time envision that runner being chased by a guy wanting to punch him in the mouth.

Who's Going to Win?

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    MB Media/Getty Images

    OK, here's how it is.

    We've shaken all the trees. We've looked under every rock. We've talked to everybody we can trust.

    And the prevailing wisdom hasn't changed. Manny Pacquiao is going to win Saturday night.

    Rather than playing the sublime, strategic game offered by past foes Mayweather and Marquez—the two who have given him the most trouble in the past 10 years—Pacquiao will seize the initiative and use his clear advantages in hand and foot speed to begin and end exchanges while avoiding sustained returns.

    It could go the full 12 rounds, as nearly every one of the Filipino's fights has since 2009, but it's more likely to end as a result of prolonged punishment that the slower, less powerful Ugas simply won't be able to take for a full 36 minutes.


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