Manny Pacquiao faces off against Keith Thurman Saturday night to unify the WBA Welterweight titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The 40-year-old from the Philippines will be trying to ensure this isn’t his last fight, as he could meet the winner of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter bout on Sep. 28 with a victory.
Spence is the IBF champion and Porter owns the WBC crown, so Pacquiao and Thurman have a chance to combine three-fourths of the welterweight title belts with two more victories.
The literal money prize Saturday has mostly been determined. According to the fight commission, Pacquiao will earn a guaranteed $10 million and Thurman $2.5 million. Forbes projects that these numbers will balloon to $20 million for Pacquiao and $8 million for Thurman.
These are the other prizes for the undercards bouts:
- Yorgenis Ugas $300K vs. Omar Figueroa Jr. $300K
- Sergey Lipinets $250K vs. Jayar Inson $10K
- Luis Nery $150K vs. Juan Carlos Payano $25K
- Caleb Plant $750K vs. Mike Lee $250K
- Efe Ajagba $15k vs. Ali Eren Demirezen $10k
The event will will air on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View and cost $74.99. The undercard fights start at 9 p.m. Eastern time, while the main event will probably start well after 11 p.m.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman Betting Odds & Preview
OddsShark has Pacquiao as the favorite at -145 odds, while Thurman sits at +115. As Scott Hastings notes, Pacquiao started as the underdog on the opening line.
The odds are a little surprising, as Pac-Man was an underdog on the opening 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 opening as a -150 favorite. Quite the swing with the fight nearing – I think this creates a lot of value on One Time.
That initial line might have been based on the age gap between the two fighters. Pacquiao is 40 and nearing the end of his career, while Thurman is 30. The Pac-Man plans to be a wise, old mentor to his younger foe.
“I want to teach him, like a professor,” he said to The Mirror. “This was one of the best training camps that we’ve had and the best conditioning. So it’s all set for tomorrow.”
Pacquiao sports a 61-7-2 mark with 39 knockouts, while Keith Thurman is undefeated with 29 wins (22 by knockout). As Boxing Scene points out, this match will be determined by whose defense is better. Pacquiao has been susceptible to counter punches in the past, which is Thurman’s game, but that comes with a caveat.
As impressive as Thurman’s offensive repertoire is, his defense has much room for improvement; he can be hit and he can be hurt. Lopez had Thurman so badly hurt in the seventh round that few, if anyone, would have objected had the referee intervened. Prior to that, Porter and Luis Collazo visibly hurt him with lefts to the body. Guess which hand Pacquiao’s power shots come from?
Pacquiao has lost four out of his last 11 fights, including one to a relative unknown in Australia’s Jeff Horn. His disadvantages are piling up, including age, reach, and defense against counters. Meanwhile, the only real knock on Thurman is experience next to Pacquiao, but at 30, he’s no spring chicken.
Thurman unifies the WBA belts by unanimous decision.