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BETTING BOXING: The Pick For Me Is Pacquiao, I’m Not Touching Ugas

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Photo by Ryan Hafey

Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO’s) will take on Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12 KO’s) in a welterweight title fight this Saturday from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The bout will headline a Fox PPV card.

As of this writing Pacquiao is listed as a -360 favorite whereas Ugas can be had for +290. The over/under is set at 10 ½ rounds with the over gaining steam at -215 and the under sitting at +155. As usual all odds are courtesy of SugarHouse Casino and subject to change.

Analysis

Ugas of course is filling in for Errol Spence Jr. who had to withdraw from the event with an eye injury. But Ugas was already slated to appear on the undercard and should be in peak shape despite being a last minute substitute.

Before I get into the breakdown of the fight I want to touch on the opponent change for Pacquiao. Yes he was going to face an entirely different type of opponent in Spence. However let’s keep in mind that Pacquiao has been a pro since 1995 and has seen basically everything inside the boxing ring. I personally do not think the last minute change will have any impact on Pacquiao.

Now to the breakdown. Let me start with the obvious. Pacquiao is a -360 favorite for a reason. He has a massive speed edge, both with his hands and his feet, over Ugas. Pacquiao is also the harder puncher. And let’s be honest he is the “A” side here as well as the “recognizable” name which will probably carry some sway with the judges in close rounds.

Don’t get me wrong, Ugas is a very competent fighter.

Publisher Note: Does Ugas understand that he has to knock Manny Pacquiao out to get the win? Someone get him that memo if he doesn’t.

Since he lost to Amir Imam in 2014 Ugas has gone on a run winning 11 of his last 12 fights. He has put on some solid performances during that stretch which includes dominant wins against the likes of Jamal James and Omar Figueroa Jr. The only blemish during this stretch for Ugas was a debatable twelve round split decision loss to Shawn Porter.

Ugas does a lot of things well inside the ring. He is first and foremost an excellent counter puncher. Ugas is a well-schooled fighter coming from the Cuban amateur program and is very adept at using feints as well as other movements to draw his opponents into leading to set up his precision counter shots.

Offensively, Ugas possesses decent hand speed and heavy handed power, particularly with his body shots. Defensively, he is very sound. Ugas is just an all-around solid professional fighter who on any given day can give anyone fits in the welterweight division. Shawn Porter can attest to this.

So is Ugas worth a shot at the +290 tag. Well let’s take a deeper dive looking into some recent punch stat numbers for both fighters.

In his last fight, against Abel Ramos, Ugas was fairly busy with his hands throwing a total of 768 punches per CompuBox. That comes out to roughly 64 punches per round.

However, when Ugas fought Shawn Porter in 2019, he threw a total of 445 punches. That comes out to roughly an average of 37 punches per round. The difference here is that Porter is a much better fighter of course than Ramos. And when facing stiffer competition Ugas has a history of getting more conservative with his punch output.

In his last fight against Keith Thurman two years ago Pacquiao threw a total of 686 punches. In his previous fight against a much less aggressive Adrien Broner Pacquiao threw a total of 568 punches.

My point here is that I believe Pacquiao is going to be the much busier fighter on Saturday.

Activity, volume, working harder than the other guy, that wins fights ALL THE TIME. And that will likely be the case Saturday.

I think Ugas is probably going to be around his total for the Porter fight of 450 punches or so. Pacquiao will probably end up somewhere between his last two fights, so let’s say 600 on the conservative side. So we are looking at about 12 more punches thrown a round conservatively by Pacquiao. This would in theory give Pacquiao a significantly better chance at simply out-landing Ugas and even if he somehow doesn’t we all know activity alone can sway judges in close rounds.

I don’t think Ugas has the punching power to hurt Pacquiao. And I don’t think Ugas’ temperament is going to be to try to out hustle Pacquiao. The only thing that could go in Ugas’ favor is if Pacquiao suddenly gets old overnight. But we saw no signs of Pacquiao slowing in his two fights in 2019 and while possible I don’t think that is a realistic outcome.

The pick for me is Pacquiao. I am not touching Ugas here.

Finally, how is Pacquiao likely going to win? The prop for him to win by decision after 12 rounds is +120. The prop for Pacquiao to win by KO, TKO or DQ is +160. The majority of Pacquiao’s wins at welterweight have come by decision and Ugas has shown to be durable so that would be my lean.

Undercard Thoughts

The only bout I am interested in betting straight up on the undercard is the welterweight clash between veterans Robert Guerrero (36-6-1, 20 KO’s) and Victor Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KO’s). Currently Guerrero is listed as a slight -150 favorite and Ortiz’s underdog price tag sits at +120.

First of all what an odd matchup to say the least. Both have clearly seen their better days and quite honestly there is a wide array of outcomes possible in this contest.

Guerrero retired after a 2017 TKO loss to Omar Figueroa Jr. This was a third straight loss for Guerrero at the time and he looked like a totally shot fighter getting man-handled by Figueroa from the opening bell. But as fighters often do, Guerrero decided to return to the sport in 2018…he explained why here.…and has reeled off three straight wins in his comeback. However those wins have all come against non-descript opposition.

Victor Ortiz last fought in February of 2018, when he battled Devon Alexander to a twelve round majority draw. Let’s be honest though, Alexander dominated Ortiz that night, and this can be chalked up as a classic bad decision that we unfortunately see way too much of in boxing.

Interestingly, when you look back at Ortiz’s record–here, click here and look– his last win against a non-journeyman type opponent came all the way back in 2011 when he out-slugged Andre Berto for a welterweight title belt. Yes, it’s been that long.

Ortiz’s mental state is always a question when he steps in the ring. Just which version of him are we going to get coming off such a long layoff? Guerrero has at least been a little more active recently and seems to be taking his comeback seriously.

I really like the price tag on Guerrero but we do have to keep in mind how he looked against Figueroa. Ortiz has at the very least a puncher’s chance so I won’t be going crazy but I do like Guerrero to pick up the win here.

Final Betting Card

Manny Pacquiao to win -360
Manny Pacquiao to win by decision after 12 rounds +120
Robert Guerrero to win -150

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