There is no doubt that Manny Pacquiao is an automatic Hall of Famer. And, on Saturday night he proved it, yet again, winning a 12 round split decision at 40 years of age over previously unbeaten WBA Welterweight champion, Keith Thurman.
Pacquiao defied his age and out fought the 10 years younger Thurman over the course of Saturday night’s battle at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
From the very beginning, Pacquiao established himself by scoring a first-round knockdown with a hard right hand near the end of the first frame. Soon after that, it was obvious that Thurman, now 29-1, was tentative to Pacquiao’s counter-punching, at least for the next two or three rounds.
Then, Pacquiao, now 62-7-2, appeared to seriously injure, if not break Thurman’s nose, with a punch in the fifth round, and it bled significantly for most of the rest of the fight.
However, Thurman finally began to come on in the 6th round, scoring in particular with his straight right hand and a left hook behind it. Thurman’s best round to that point in the fight was the seventh, where he repeatedly landed hard right hands and backed Pacquiao up several times for the first time all night.
However, the only eight-division World Champion in boxing history showed his savvy and guts and pressed Thurman scoring with solid lefts and straight rights to win the 8th round. Thurman had hoped to wear Pacquiao down and won the 9th round. Then, you began to wonder if the Filipino sensation was going to eventually tire out?
However, Pacquiao responded big time and hurt Thurman with a left hook to the right side of the body early on in round 1o. He then dominated the rest of the round with Thurman backing up and wincing from that punch over a minute of action. Take a look:
.@MannyPacquiao with a massive body shot in the 10th!
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) July 21, 2019
Thurman won the 11th round and the 12th round was arguably up for grabs, but Pacquiao had clearly done enough by banking rounds early to earn the decision.
Still, Pacquiao had previously been robbed of a 12-round decision in Las Vegas to Timothy Bradley in 2012 and had more recently also lost a 12-round decision in a fight that he look like he had won in Australia in 2017 against Jeff Horn.
So, he, his trainer Freddie Roach and all of his fans had to hold their breath as ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced “Split Decision” before reading the scores.
In the end, Pacquiao got the nod winning 115-112 (or 7 rounds to 5 with a knockdown) on two of the three cards. The dissenting third judge had given Thurman the fight 114-113 (or 7-5 with a point off for the knockdown).
Pacquiao told Fox Sports in the ring post fight that he wasn’t concerned about Thurman predicting an early knockout and whether it motivated him,
“Well I’m not talking about that, I’m just promoting the fight. I think we did a lot of things and they did a lot of things to make the people happy
I really love the fans. I’m sure you are happy to see a god fight. I’m just blessed tonight.”
For his part, Thurman credited one of the All-time Greats with being better on Saturday night telling Fox,
“I knew it was too close cause he got the knockdown, so he had momentum in round one.Manny Pacquiao is truly a great, great, great legend. Oh Senator, Oh Senator, Oh great ye old Senator.”
He continued, “I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe. I felt like he was getting a little bit more tired but he did have experience in the ring, My conditioning and output was just a bit behind Manny’s..”
Now, we wait to see if, who and when Pacquiao will fight next as he turns 41 in December?
The educated speculation is he may very well be fighting the winner of the Errol Spence and Shawn Porter in unification Welterweight Title Fight on September 28th. The unbeaten Spence is will be the heavy favorite to win that fight, and then, set up a mega-payday on another pay-per-view early next year with Pacquiao, if he wants.
Pacquiao said to Fox about fighting again at 41 and maybe against the Spence-Porter winner,
“I think next year will be my next fight, I start working in the (Philippines) Senate. I’m going to witness the fight (Spence-Porter) and standby. “
However, for at least one more Saturday night on the worldwide stage, Manny Pacquiao amazingly delivered, again.