Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman Betting Preview and Odds

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Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman Betting Preview and Odds

There might not be a more intriguing matchup in 2019 than Saturday night’s FOX pay-per-view battle between Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman.

Pacquiao, 40, from General Santos City, Philippines, is one of the most accomplished fighters in boxing history. Thurman, 30, from Clearwater, Florida, is an undefeated world champion in the prime years of his life.

But what might normally be considered a crossroads fight with one fighter on the way up and the other headed the other direction because of age, isn’t quite so clear upon closer inspection.

Pacquiao-Thurman Betting Odds Flipped

Thurman opened the slight favorite back in May when the fight was announced. But the line flipped as top boxing bookmakers took in action. Pacquiao is now the slight favorite at -133 while Thurman is the +110 underdog.

The reason for the flip is probably equal parts Pacquiao’s tremendous popularity and Thurman’s recent lack of quality wins. The betting public most always backs the popular fighter, and that’s especially the case when it’s a mainstream sports star such a Pacquiao against a guy who could probably walk down any street in Florida without so much as a bother.

But Thurman’s lack of quality wins since 2017 is a real and present force on the boxing betting market. Because Pacquiao showed against Broner that his speed, power and reflexes, while diminished, are still very good, and that tremendously rare blend of speed and power which helped Pacquiao dominate Broner could help him beat Thurman, too.

Pacquiao-Thurman Betting Lines

Pacquiao on points is +160 at places such as DraftKings and 888Sport in New Jersey and is the most likely method for a Pacquiao win. Pacquiao hits hard enough to keep opponents from launching their own offense but doesn’t really carry one-punch knockout power at 147.

Pacquiao by KO, TKO or DQ is +400. There’s some value there but only if Thurman finds himself down on the cards late and tries to go on the attack. Even then, it might be difficult for Pacquiao to get the stoppage. Thurman is a career welterweight, and Pacquiao never really cracked one of those without another factor playing into things such as age or injury.

But Thurman backers have decent reasons to go that way. Thurman is younger, naturally larger and a very accomplished world champion who really might be on the cusp of establishing himself as the chief rival to Spence and Crawford.

A victory over Pacquiao would go a long way toward that endeavor. Thurman on points is +175. It’s possible Thurman could keep Pacquaio at this end of his left jab right cross most of the night and let his footwork do the rest. Besides, if Thurman can effectively counterpunch Pacquiao as the shorter fighter comes forward, he might do enough damage to keep Pacquiao honest.

The other notable piece of information is that sometimes a fighter seemingly gets old overnight. Just because Pacquiao looked so sharp six months ago doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll look the same now. If that happens, backing Thurman by KO, TKO or DQ at +600 could score big. Lesser fighters than Thurman have knocked out other all-time great champions late in their careers.

Whatever happens on fight night, Pacquaio-Thurman is one of the biggest and most noteworthy boxing events of the year.

Pacquiao-Thurman Not a True Crossroads Fight

Even though he’s far past his best years as a professional prizefighter, Pacquiao’s dominating performances over Lucas Matthysse in July 2018 and Adrien Broner six months later prove he’s still elite.

And while Thurman is probably the most accomplished of the original Premier Boxing Champions welterweight group that included the likes of Errol Spence, Shawn Porter and Andre Berto, he’s usually not universally considered to be the clear best of the bunch, much less of the expanded group that now includes Pacquiao, multi-division champion Mikey Garcia and former 140-pound champion Danny Garcia.

Spence and Terence Crawford would need to duke it out to settle that, so at best Thurman right now is the third-best welterweight in the world, and that placement is mostly based on the work he did over two years ago.

That’s a long time in a fighting sport. It’s hard enough to stay sharp for decades at a time the way the established greats like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao do. What’s much more common are fighters who come along and win world titles only to find themselves beaten to the punch by younger, better or simply more dedicated ones down the line.

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Pacquiao's Last 6 Fights

1-19-2019Adrien BronerWin (UD)
7-15-2018Lucas MatthysseWin (TKO Rd. 7)
7-2-2017Jeff HornLoss (UD)
11-5-2016Jessie VargasWin (UD)
4-9-16Timothy BradleyWin (UD)
5-2-2015Floyd Mayweather Jr.Loss (UD)

Is Keith Thurman an Elite Fighter?

What’s important about that is that Pacquiao is probably not good enough at this point to beat the pound-for-pound elite at 147 such as Spence or Crawford because he’s never really been a true welterweight. Sure, Pacquiao won world titles in eight different weight classes, from 112 to 154 pounds, but the majority of his career was spent between 122 and 140.

Even when the fighter unexpectedly but magnificently peaked between 2008 and 2010, what made those career-defining wins against Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley so spectacular was how so surprising they were. How could such a little fighter blast through Hall of Famers like that?

But that version of Pacquiao is long since gone. The current one can compete with top contenders but probably not against the very elite.

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