On Saturday night, ring legend Manny Pacquiao will look to reclaim his WBA Super welterweight crown as he faces Yordenis Ugas at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
Stripped of the title he won 13 months ago at the MGM Grand due to inactivity, Pacquiao, now 42, will face the Cuban in his first title defence after he himself won the vacant belt last September against Abel Ramos.
In what will be PacMan’s 72nd professional bout this weekend, the Filipino fighter is strong favourite despite now being more used to the political arena than a sporting one, having served as Senator of the Philippines since 2016.
For Ugas meanwhile, an Olympic bronze medallist from Beijing 2008, the orthodox 35-year-old from Santiago de Cuba faces the biggest challenge of his career, ranked only seventh by Ring magazine and having lost four times in 30 fights.
Best priced at 3/8 with SBK or 2/7 with William Hill or Bet365 the Pacquiao win looks a sure thing, however, better value could be had with a Pacquiao decision of any kind, offered at 6/5 with BetVictor or VBet. For a KO or TKO win meanwhile, 7/4 value, again with Bet365, or 13/8 with SkyBet is on offer. For an early Pacquiao win inside six rounds also, you can fetch 11/2 with William Hill and PaddyPower, which might look a little more worthy of investment.
But could Pacquiao show off any ring rust? A man once regarded as one the best boxers of all time, though his hand speed is yet to fail him, his overall agility is not what it once was now in his forties. For Ugas to pull off a shock win therefore, SpreadEx is the best place to visit, at full odds of 9/2 for the Cuban to take the fight via any decision.
More widely, for the fight not to go the distance, BetVictor’s 11/8 price looks quite appealing for a welterweight contest, whilst for the draw, 3/1 value can be found with Betfred.