Johnny Wilds’ Panel Picks: Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman



Johnny Wilds’ Panel Picks: Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman

Boxing icon and legend, Manny ‘PacMan’ Pacquiao (61-7-2 39 KOs) takes on Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (29-0 22 KOs) for Thurman’s WBA Super Welterweight Title Saturday night live from the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV.

This mega matchup is being billed as ‘Welterweight Supremacy’ with Pacquiao holding the “regular” welterweight world title and Thurman the current “super” welterweight champion. There has been a complete flip-flop of odds as seen below and fight fans should tune in to what should be a terrific fight…

Opening Odds:*      Current Odds: as of 07/15/2019   

Pacquiao +125           Pacquiao -150

Thurman -145       Thurman +130

* Odds courtesy of SuperBook, Las Vegas


Here's a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, boxers, boxing TV personalities, trainers and my prediction for the fight.

 Line movement:

At The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Jeff Sherman,VP of Risk Management, opened the fight with Thurman -145 and Pacquiao +125. “We have had 56% of the tickets written and 68% of the money on Pacquaio. We moved the line to Pacquiao-150 and Thurman +130,” said Sherman. 

He also posted the total rounds prop of the fight at 11.5 rounds over -350 and under +275.  Sherman and the SuperBook haven’t seen much action on this as of yet.

At William Hill US, Assistant Director of Trading, Adam Pullen opened the fight with Thurman -140 and Pacquiao +120. “Great two way action so far. Money is almost the same, slightly in favor of Thurman. Tickets are another story, with a little over 2-1 in favor of Manny so we adjusted the line to Pacquiao -140 and Thurman +120,” said Pullen. He posted the total and props on Monday. They have 11.5 over -340 and under +280 on the rounds proposition and draw at +1800. 

*William Hill took a large 5-figure bet on the draw which is now at 13-1.


The Panel:

Julian “J Rock” Williams ( WBA/IBF Super Welterweight  Champion): “I think Thurman has youth on his side and it should be enough to edge out a controversial decision.

Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): “I’m going to put myself out there and say that this is going to be a great fight! Thurman WILL be on his bicycle early in this one as he will try to see what Manny has while keeping him at a distance with the left jab. Around the fourth or fifth round, is when you will see Manny landing big shots and possibly hurting Thurman. In or around the tenth round, Pacquiao will score a knockdown over Thurman. With some of the earlier rounds going to Thurman, I can see a split decision of sorts at the end of twelve. Your winner will be Senator Manny Pacquiao and we will all patiently wait until 2020 to see him back in the ring again defending the WBA “Super” Welterweight Title.”

Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring ( WBO Super Featherweight Champion): “I want to pick Pacquiao but I’m not sure if Father Time will  be in the ring as well this time around. People can point out how good he looked his last outing, but there were times where he looked a step slow, and was hit with shots he normally would’ve seen coming in his prime. I will say though, if Thurman shows up like his fight against Lopez, he’s going to have a long night, but I really believe he’s taken this camp a lot more serious, and knows what’s at stake. I’m going with Thurman by a close UD.”

John  “Iceman” Scully (boxing trainer): “I'm really torn on this fight. Both guys can win. My first thought is that Keith wins big but for some reason I think Pac-Man will figure it out and outmaneuver him over 12.”

Stephen ‘Breadman’ Edwards (boxing trainer): “A very tight controversial decision. Thurman boxes well but he often looks like he's running instead of boxing. He over moves and Pac will get credit for hustling. I see a Draw!”

Rich Marotta (Hall of Fame Sportscaster): “I think PAC-Thurman is a really good fight, and I think the dead-tight odds are warranted. I anticipate a close bout but I think that even at this late stage of his career, Manny will prevail. It takes someone VERY special to beat Pacquiao (except for that Horn fight, and I still don’t know what the hell that was). Keith is very good, but will be outmaneuvered and outhustled by Manny.  Pac-Man by decision.”

Joey Oddessa (boxing sharp/oddsmaker): “I'll keep it brief and leave the “X's” and “O's” to the trainers. From a numbers perspective, the sportsbooks opened the Thurman price right but with a bad number. Let me explain. The opening line in some sportsbooks listed Keith Thurman around a -150 wagering favorite. I say right because I believe Thurman is going to win the fight.  However, they failed to recognize history. As the fight nears post time, and wager limits go up, so will the handle and wager count on Manny Pacquiao. The line has already crossed and (at the time of this conversation) Manny has been as high as -170. The opener failed to look appealing to both sides. The general public loves to wager on Manny. The fact is Manny has only lost one of his last five fights in four years and arguably it would not have been a loss if contested anywhere but Australia.  No one would have batted an eyelash if Manny Pacquiao opened the favorite here. My point is sportsbooks could have got away with opening the fight a Pick'em (-110/-110) and gave risk managers less to worry about on fight night. Hindsight, they left chips on the table. Keith Thurman will beat Manny!”

Cynthia Conte (Ring TV Boxing correspondent): “Manny Pacquiao is still among the fastest fighters in the world and has a major edge in this elite-level matchup. Regardless being 10 years older than Keith “One Time” Thurman, Pacquiao holds major speed advantage & his explosiveness with will throw Thurman off.  It all depends on which Thurman shows up fight night…the “One Time” before his injuries or the one that fought Josésito Lopez.  Thurman has power coming from both hands that can be very dangerous. There’s no room for any complacency. Hopefully, Thurman doesn’t get shy for this being his first PPV fight because this isn’t Pac-Man’s first rodeo. Pacquiao W 12.”

Evan Rutkowski (Former HBO sports marketing exec): ”In terms of what happens in the ring I slightly favor Pacquiao by decision, based both on how rusty Thurman looked and how well Pacquiao has adjusted his style with age. It should be close though, and I expect both fighters to make adjustments during the fight so we should see some momentum changes. The really smart bettors will end up getting + money on both sides, and the fight is close enough that I would say dog or pass if you're betting on fight night.”

Evan Young (boxing sharp): “Thurman has shown a bit of hesitancy to engage and I have seen him hurt visibly to body on several occasions. I think Pac is really up for the fight and Thurman has not seen anyone this unique over his career. So I’m going with crafty southpaw Pacquiao to take the play away from Thurman, keeping him on the back foot. I’m expecting Pacquiao to score a clear point’s win perhaps in the 8-4 to 9-3 range. A late stoppage is not out of the question. While Pac doesn’t score as many KOs as he used to, he hurts everyone he fights at some point in the bout, and he could conceivably get Thurman out of there.”

Jonathan Leir: (boxing sharp): “Working in angles and the ability to counter is still what makes a difference for Pacquiao. He’s facing a man who will need a “one time” to avoid a points victory in Vegas. Count on the Senator to win on the cards, setting up the payday for all involved with a Spence showdown in 2020. Pacquiao- Decision.”

Tim Catalfo (Sport Psychology Practitioner): “ I like this matchup quite a bit. With Keith Thurman, I would not be surprised if he tries to fight hard early. From what Manny has shown of late, there is still an abundance of spring in the Senator's battle-tested legs. I expect a mixed and frenetic attack from Manny that will eventually have Keith backfooting for large stretches of the fight. Manny Pacquiao on points for me.”

Jules Philippe-Auguste (boxing sharp): “Going with Thurman via Decision. I feel like although Pac looks good at 40, he does not have the work rate he used to when he was younger to keep Thurman moving backward.”

Jim Karas (boxing sharp): “Thurman is going to have to use his size and reach advantage to its fullest by utilizing his jab and movement to keep Pacquiao off of him and at long range to have any success here. Because as soon as Pacquiao gets into his range (mid to close) I feel like he has a distinct advantage and that will win him this fight. Pacquiao is too quick, too diverse with his attack, too clever, and too crafty for Thurman once he gets him into his range. I am picking Pacquiao to win via UD. ”

Matt Andrzejewski (boxing sharp): “Manny Pacquiao has looked tremendous in his last two outings. But let's look a little closer at those performances. One was against a totally shopworn Lucas Matthysse. The other was against a fighter in Adrien Broner who doesn't throw a high volume of punches and thus played the part stylistically to make an older Pacquiao look in great form. Thurman did look rusty his last time out against Josesito Lopez but is younger and in the prime of his career. He will be too much for a now 40 year old Pacquiao who has been fighting as a pro since 1995. I already grabbed Thurman at +105 and will be buying more shares as we near closer to the fight. Thurman by wide unanimous decision.”

Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): “With the market completely flipped I’m not comfortable betting Manny for the win. It’s a close fight and Thurman was too ordinary to be true last time out so I’m forgiving him this “one time” and I’ll have something on Thurman winning a close Decision +180 and something on the Draw +1600.”

Vince Cummings  (boxing sharp): “I see Keith Thurman walking away with a highly disputed split decision that sees both men touch the canvas early with the difference in the fight being Thurman's left hook and him landing clean hard counter punches that will barely win the day over the volume of Pacman. I think when the dust settles on Saturday night we have a fight that's in the FOTY conversation and will be shrouded in controversy from fans on either side as to who should've got the nod. So a little of everything that makes boxing the greatest sport on the planet.”

Ryan O'Hara (boxing sharp): “Pacquiao-Thurman will be a closer fight than expected. Pacquiao will take the early rounds but Thurman’s movement will trouble Manny as the fight goes on. I am taking Manny by split decision.”

David Lopez: (boxing sharp): “Wildly intriguing, highly anticipated 50/50 fight between an all time great and an undefeated champion in his prime. I'm going with Thurman based on him having the fresher legs. Pac looked great in his last two fights but it was against guys who stood right in front of him. I think Thurman's movement and boxing ability will cause Pac a lot of problems. He will survive some shaky moments and win a unanimous decision.”

The fight:

There are few schools of thought for this matchup for me: 1.) Will father time rear his head and prove he’s unbeaten to the 40 year old Pacquaio?  2.) Is ‘One Time’ going to regain his impressive ways like in 2016 and 2017 when he beat Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia before he injured his elbow? 3.) Was it ring rust versus Josesito Lopez or did Thurman just peak in 2016/2017?

In Pacquaio's last ten fights he is 8-2 with his sole ‘real’ loss being to Juan Manuel Marquez via KO in 2012 and Jeff Horn where I felt it was a horrible decision loss in Australia. He scored his first KO since 2009 (Miguel Cotto) when he stopped Lucas Matthysse via KO in round 7 in July of last year and then went on to dominate Adrien Broner via UD last January. He seems to have found his way back of sorts since the mega fight loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2015. 

Keith Thurman who has never tasted defeat has beaten the likes of Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia as mentioned above and is certainly a top tier boxer. An elbow injury derailed his career and resulted in a 22 month layoff. He has a 73% KO average stopping 22 of 29 opponents but has not secured a KO since 2015 over Luis Collazo when he didn’t come out for the 8th round. Will be see the old ‘One Time’ or has the time off an injury changed him?

Prediction: The panel has 10 votes for Pacquiao and 8 votes for Thurman and one draw from ‘Breadman’. I am passing on the fight as I lean Pac but the line is washed and I don’t see any value.  Enjoy the fights!


Check out the new show, “Taking Shots,”  featuring Johnny Wilds, produced with Lou DiBella; he talks Pacquiao vs. Thurman, with a lot of insights on the line, movement, and yes, you will get some tips to help you make money.