Manny Pacquiao defeats Keith Thurman in a very close and exciting bout!
Keith Thurman vs Manny Pacquiao for the WBA super world welterweight title is a fight that means so much to both men.
If Thurman wins, he immediately regains the fanbase and attention he once had before he went on a 22 month layoff.
Pacquiao will be able to mount an argument as the best fighter of this era if he wins! Possibly better than the man who defeated him in 2015 and a general consensus has been reached throughout the boxing community as holding that title, Floyd Mayweather Jr!
The Old Man Still Has It
To start, Thurman was surprisingly passive given he is the bigger and stronger man. He stayed on the outside for the most part and elected to play chess with his 40 year-old opponent.
Understandably, staying on the outside pumping the jab in order to setup the right hand has been the kryptonite for Pacquiao virtually his entire career. However, the super champion was more so looking to lead with his right hand and lunge in with hooks instead of actually setting these shots up.
Meanwhile, the movement of the regular champion was phenomenal! He kept himself out of range using angles and his quick footwork moving forward had Thurman confused.
Late in the first round, Thurman came forward behind a big left hook that was blocked and as he took a step back, Pacquiao rushed forward and caught his opponent with a glancing right hook, scoring a knockdown.
The crowd roared as the 40 year-old would start the bout with a 10-8 round in his favor!
Trying to Adjust to the Speed
Aside from landing the occasional hook while trying to turn with Pacquiao at mid-range distance, Thurman had zero answers for the footwork.
As he’s been able to do so many times in his career, Pacquiao effectively kept the undefeated fighter in a triangle, while angling all around him.
In addition, the hand-speed and volume was too much. Similar to how Adrien Broner was overwhelmed by trying to figure out where the eight division champion would be next, the volume punching in conjunction with the movement rendered Thurman offensively useless.
Then something clicked! Thurman’s trainer Dan Birmingham gave him a serious tongue lashing going into the seventh round. As the bell sounded, the super champion rushed his opponent and pushed him against the ropes.
Although, what was more intriguing was Thurman started using his jab! He beautifully set everything up behind it and caught Pacquiao with some nice combinations. In addition, he would feint then lead with the straight-right whenever Pacquiao would transition his weight on his back-foot.
One exchange in particular made the regular champion thump his own head in frustration for getting hit.
The fight at this point started to get a little tighter!
Finishing With Authority
Moving into the championship rounds, it seemed age started to finally catch up to the 40 year-old. He was no longer moving as fluidly as he did early on.
This allowed Thurman to utilize his own footwork more effectively behind the jab he was now incorporating. Since Pacquiao had lost a lot of his movement due to fatigue, he became a target directly in front of the super champion.
Then in the tenth round, Pacquiao exploited the kryptonite of his opponent that changed the tone of the fight again. In an exchange, he lands a sneaky shot to the body that made Thurman react the same way he did when Luis Collazo touched him there in 2015!
The younger fighter, was on the retreat, grimacing in pain. As he retreated, the all-time great stalked him around the ring, looking to land that punch once more. He would survive, but allowed a much needed round to slip away from him.
In the final round, these two warriors finished with authority. Both had their moments in a fight depending on how you scored it, could have depended on who you gave the championship rounds to.
In The End
This was an excellent fight! It was phenominal to see the 40 year-old living legend perform as if he was a 25 year-old fighter in his prime.
Additionally, it was great to see Thurman make the adjustments late and mount a comeback.
The judges would return a split-decision! The scorecards read 115-113 Thurman, 115-112 twice for the NEW WBA super champion, Manny Pacquiao!
3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 115-112 for Pacquiao as well.
By: EJ Williams