The WBA (Super) welterweight belt will be on the line when Keith “One Time” Thurman makes his seventh title defense against Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao on July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The champ, Thurman, is a +115 underdog with the challenger, Pacquiao, coming back at -145.
The odds are a little surprising, as Pac-Man was an underdog on the Sportsbook line and these are his lowest odds since he was an underdog against Floyd Mayweather in 2015. Meanwhile, this is the first time that Thurman has been an underdog after Sportsbook as a -150 favorite. Quite the swing with the fight nearing – I think this creates a lot of value on One Time.
How Will This Fight Play Out?
We are seeing a bit of a resurgence from Pacquiao, recently winning back-to-back fights and eyeing his first three-fight winning streak since 2013-14. Pac-Man looked tremendous in his seventh-round knockout win over Lucas Matthysse and put on a clinic against Adrien Broner earlier this year.
Thurman collected his second world title in March of last year with his split-decision win over Danny Garcia for the WBC title and became the WBA (Super) welterweight champ. He was rocked in his most recent fight with Josesito Lopez in January but still earned the majority-decision victory.
Both boxers have good knockout power, but Thurman has just one finish in his last six fights – when Luis Collazo didn’t come out for the eighth round – and Pacquaio also has just one finish in his last 11 victories dating back to 2010. Recently, Pac-Man has really improved his defensive boxing, restricting Broner to just 50 landed punches with a land rate of 17 percent. Thurman is a very aggressive fighter and has a great ability to read his opponents and pick up the pace the further a fight goes.
Pac-Man has the ability to change a fight with his power and One Time was hurt in his last fight with Lopez. That being said, I think Thurman’s relentless pressure can wear on Pacquaio if he doesn’t earn respect early with his heavy hands. I expect Pacquaio will be quicker and will load up on his punches more but Thurman will be more active and could land a higher percentage, which could sway the judges.
Prediction: Keith Thurman (+115) via decision
Odds as of July 18 at Sportsbook