By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site of a Fox Sports Pay Per View Offering. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions is the lead promoter on the fight card as the Filipino Legend Manny Pacquiao takes on current undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman in the main event of the night.
The co-main event will be a WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator between Yordenis Ugas and Omar Figueroa Jr. Other televised fights on the pay per view telecast include a welterweight bout between Sergey Lipinets and John Molina Jr., as well as a bantamweight fight between Luis Nery and Juan Carlos Payano.
Fox will be televising some fights before the start of the televised pay per view. The main fight on the Fox portion of Saturday’s card is an IBF Super Middleweight Title Fight between Caleb Plan and Irish Mike Lee.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Yordenis Ugas (23-4) vs. Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1); Welterweights
This is an intriguing fight between two boxers who were once considered by many to be shoe in future champions, but have since lost a bit of their luster.
Yordenis Ugas was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics for Cuba, but has suffered four losses since turning pro, many against fighters he should have beaten. Figueroa turned professional at the age of 18 and is currently undefeated, but hand injuries have hindered the progress of his career. He has only fought twice since 2016.
Ugas has eleven stoppages on his record while Figueroa has nineteen. Ugas is thirty three years old and is in the tail end of his athletic prime, Figueroa is twenty nine years old and is still in the middle of his athletic prime. Ugas will have a one and a half inch height advantage while Figueroa will have a four inch reach advantage.
Ugas has been quite active the past three years. He fought once in 2019, three times in 2018, and three times in 2017. Figueroa, as stated earlier, fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, once in 2017 and zero times in 2016.
Ugas has a significant edge in amateur experience. He’s a former world champion as an amateur and won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. Figueroa turned pro at the age of eighteen and does not have the amateur accolades of Figueroa.
Ugas has defeated the likes of Ray Robinson, Thomas Dulorme, Bryant Perrella, and Jamal James. His losses were to Shawn Porter, Amir Imam, Emanuel Robles, and Johnny Garcia.
Figueroa has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero, Antonio DeMarco, Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada, and Nihito Arakawa.
Ugas has four losses on his record, but has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights, including a very close decision loss to Shawn Porter.
Figueroa’s lack of activity will hurt him in the ring against a veteran that has been surging as of late. This will be a close fight, but this writer expects Ugas to pull away in the later rounds.
Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) vs. Keith Thurman (29-0); WBA Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao looked sensational in his last fight against Adrien Broner, but he was fighting an opponent who is known to come up short in big fights and has recently seemed reluctant to let go of his hands.
Keith Thurman does not have that reputation. Thurman is ten years younger than Pacquiao and will have a two inch height and reach advantage. Pacquiao has thirty nine knockouts in his career for a percentage of 56%, but Thurman has twenty two knockouts in his career for a percentage of 73%.
Thurman also has an edge in amateur experience. He went 101-6 as an amateur and was a US National Bronze Medalist. As most already know, Pacquiao turned professional as a teenager.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Keith Thurman. He only fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, and once in 2017 and once in 2016. Pacquiao fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017 but this will be his second fight in 2019. It appears Pacquiao may try to fight three times in 2019.
Pacquiao’s list of defeated opponents is extremely impressive. He has defeated the likes of Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, David Diaz, Marco Antonio Barrera, Jorge Solis, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, and Lehlo Ledwaba.
Some of his losses were to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley Jr., and a disputed loss to Jeff Horn.
Keith Thurman has defeated the likes of Josesito Lopez, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Luis Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Julio Diaz, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chaves, Jan Zaveck, and Carlos Quintana.
However, Thurman looked a little rusty in his last fight against Josesito Lopez.
Pacquiao looks to be in incredible shape and he appears to be determined to prove he’s still a viable threat in the welterweight division. Keith Thurman could have used one more warm up fight before taking on Pacquiao, because Pacquiao doesn’t appear to have lost as much as some say he has.
Look for Pacquiao to win a close and possibly disputed decision. A fight with Errol Spence Jr. could be next.