BOXING

Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugás fight: odds and predictions

Last-minute changes to Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring after two years have drastically changed the odds of the match.

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Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugás fight: odds and predictions
Michael Owens AFP

Last-minute changes to Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring after two years have drastically changed the odds of the match.

After eight-division world champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) announced his match with undefeated WBC and IBF welterweight title holder Errol Spence Jr (27-0, 21 KOs), the bout was expected to be one of the biggest of the year.

Pence, 31, was heavily favored to win over 42-year-old Pacquiao, who last saw action in July 2019, when he defeated Keith Thurman by split decision.

Ugás steps in for Pence

However, Spence was forced to withdraw from the much-anticipated fight after an eye injury he suffered while training. His replacement is WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12 Kos), who has been promoted to “super” champion, replacing Pacquiao who in turn has been relegated to “champion in recess”.

Ugás of Cuba was set to fight in the undercard but was by necessity moved up to the main event, to be held on August 21st at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao favored to win over Ugás

Against Spence, Pacquiao was a +240 underdog, but with the change in opponent, he opened as a -310 to -300 favorite against Ugás, at +245 to -240. With these odds, there is an implied 75% chance to win for Pacquiao, while Ugás is given around a 29% chance of winning.

Pacquiao, a Philippine senator, has titles in eight different weight classes. He has three straight victories including the match where he secured the WBA welterweight title. He was only stripped of the title because of inactivity.

Ugás meanwhile won the vacant WBA belt last year by beating Abel Ramos, but has yet to defend his current belt.

Despite the odds, Pacquiao is not taking his opponent lightly. “This fight is not an easy fight,” he says. “Ugás is a champion, took my belt and we have to settle it inside the ring”.

Ugás says he understands that Pacquiao is the favorite, but has full confidence that he can win in what he calls “the most important fight” of his life.