Manny Pacquiao Furthers his Legacy with Victory over Keith Thurman
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: July 21, 2019
LAS VEGAS, NV – In front of a sold-out crowd of 14, 356 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) once again dodged father time by putting on one of the most exciting performances of his career against Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs).
Pacquiao was fighting for Thurman’s WBA Welterweight championship at the age of 40, and in large portions of the fight, he looked like his former self.
Despite being ten years older than Thurman, (30) Pacquiao on fight night was the betting favorite to come away with a victory.
It was clear from the ring entrances that Pacquiao was the crowd favorite as the majority of fans in attendance were in support of the Filipino.
The first round in many respects was a microcosm for how the majority of the match played out.
Thurman was able to push Pacquiao backward and land some right hands; however, the fighting Senator’s punches caused much more damage.
Near the end of the first round, Pacquiao was able to land one of his patented combinations landing a left hand to the body and following up with a right hand up top that put Thurman down.
The Florida native pulled away from Pacquiao with his hands down, leading to the knockdown.
The crowd in the arena erupted when the knockdown occurred, as fans were elated at the thought of Pacquiao scoring a knockout.
The bout played out in two halves as Pacquiao won a majority of the first six rounds with one round that could have been scored for Thurman.
For the majority of his career, Pacquiao has used his right hand as mainly a range finder for his straight left hand or as a hook on the inside.
Over his last three fights, Pacquiao has utilized the right power jab that hits like a power punch.
The eight-division champion was able to utilize his right jab throughout the bout to counter and halt any momentum that Thurman was building.
The second half of the bout favored Thurman as Pacquiao slowed down and looked tired in spots.
Thurman was able to use his jab and right hand to win rounds six, seven, eight and nine on all three judges scorecards with the eighth round being the exception.
The eighth was extremely close with Thurman winning the first half of the round and Pacquiao the second half. It was your proverbial swing round.
In the tenth round, Pacquiao hurt Thurman with a body shot that almost doubled over the Florida power puncher. Thurman showed a large amount of heart, as he was able to hold off Pacquiao from causing further damage to survive the round.
The final two rounds were split between the two pugilists as they traded punches until the closing bell.
After twelve rounds of action, the feeling in the arena was that Pacquiao had done more than enough to earn the victory, especially with the knockdown in the first round.
When it was announced that the judges scored the bout a split decision, a gasp of dread filled the arena.
Many thought we could be witness to another controversial decision in a Pacquiao fight similar to his first fight with Timothy Bradley or his bout with Jeff Horn in Australia in 2017.
Two of the three judges scored the bout 115-112 for Pacquiao, and the final judge scored the fight for Thurman with a score of 114-113. Pacquiao now holds the true WBA Welterweight championship.
The victory added another accomplishment to Pacquiao’s resume, as he is now the oldest Welterweight champion in boxing history and the fifth oldest world champion in boxing history.
The lone judge who scored the match for Thurman awarded the loquacious power puncher every round after the fifth round except the 10th.
Most fans and pundits viewed the bout as close and competitive but as a clear victory for the Filipino Senator. The CompuBox punch statistics show how close the fight was contested.
Thurman landed more power punches (192) on Pacquiao than any other opponent the Filipino has faced over 43 fights tracked by CompuBox.
Pacquiao was the busier fighter throwing more punches overall (686 to 571) and more punches in each round (57 to 48).
Possibly the most significant discrepancy in the CompuBox numbers was in the jab department. Pacquiao landed 82 to just 18 total jabs for Thurman.
Both men will likely take the rest of the year off with Pacquiao stating that he will be in attendance for the upcoming Welterweight unification bout between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter.
Thurman’s status may have been elevated despite the loss to Pacquiao as there will be plenty of opportunities for the Florida fighter as he gained more fans in defeat with how he performed.
Pacquiao’s legend has already been cemented, and part of that legend is the fight night experience of watching him apply his craft. Pacquiao fights tend to leave lasting memories on observers.
For however much longer it lasts fans have been honored to witness one of the all-time greats consistently leaving us with nights to remember and a reminder as to why we love the sport of boxing.
(Featured Photo: John Locher/Associated Press)