Boxing’s only eight-division world champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao demonstrated to the boxing world that despite being close to forty-one-years-old, he is still a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division, as he dominated previously undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman, en route to a twelve-round split decision victory. Pacquiao obtained the WBA world title, the fourth time that he won a world title at 147-pounds, and he became the oldest welterweight champion ever.
Judge Glenn Feldman scored the fight (114 to 113) for Thurman, however, he was correctly overruled by judges Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti, who both scored the fight (115 to 112) for Pacquiao, and prevented Pacquiao from being robbed by the judges, as was the case in his first Timothy Bradley Jr. fight, and more recently against Jeff Horn.
This bout was televised by Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of a sold-out crowd of 14,356, who shouted Pacquiao’s name throughout the fight.
It is absolutely amazing to see how well Pacquiao can still fight, and after all of these years, he still has his amazing speed, and power. He is a freak of nature who Father Time has not yet quite caught up to. Despite being ten-years older than Thurman and having fought twice as many fights has he had, he still defeated him despite Thurman being the bigger fighter who was in his prime, and was considered one of the best boxers in the division. This was one of Pacquiao’s best performances of his career, and while he is not the same fighter as he was ten-years ago, he is still good enough to defeat just about any boxer in the world.
Pacquiao set the aggressive pace early on as he knocked down Thurman with a left hook to the body, followed up by a right hook to the head with about twenty seconds left in the first-round. Thurman got up quickly and was not hurt by the flash knockdown. This was only the second time in Thurman’s professional career, he had been knocked down.
He rocked Thurman a couple of times in the second via straight right hands, and dominated the third and fourth round with his fast hand speed, good angles, and movement that allowed him to continue to get the better of the exchanges. He also landed the harder shots. Pacquiao bloodied Thurman’s nose in the fifth-round (from a hard straight right), which got worse as the round progressed. Thurman finished the round with two good right hands, but was on shaky footing as he walked back to his corner.
Thurman boxed much better in the sixth and seventh round as he fought more aggressively, and pinned Pacquiao on the ropes, and landed several hard shots, especially left hooks in the seventh. Pacquiao landed an overhand right in the eighth as Thurman’s nose began to bleed again, and he had Thurman backing up.
The ninth-round was close as Pacquiao controlled most of the round, however, Thurman ended it with several hard overhand rights. Pacquiao regained control of the fight in the tenth as he connected on a powerful left hook to the body that badly hurt Thurman, who was close to going down again, and backpedalled for most of the round.
It was a competitive eleventh-round as both fighters connected on hard shots to the head. Pacquiao controlled the twelfth but Thurman snapped his head back with two powerful straight lefts with about twenty seconds left in the fight.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Thurman landed slightly more punches than Pacquiao (210 to 195), Pacquiao threw more (686 to 571, nine more per round), and Thurman had a better a better connect percentage (37 to 28) in this competitive bout. Pacquiao connected on more jabs (82 to 18), while Thurman landed more power shots (192 to 113). This was the most amount of power shots that an opponent had landed on Pacquiao in the forty-three fights that CompuBox has tracked.
Pacquiao improved to 61-7-2, 39 KOs. He has won three in a row, and five of his last six bouts since his lost to Floyd Mayweather. He announced in his post-fight news conference that he will not fight for the third time this year (something he has not done since 2008), and instead, he will return to the Philippines and continue his duties as a Senator.
He will fight again next year, hopefully against either WBO titleholder Terence Crawford, or the winner of the (IBF) Errol Spence Jr. and (WBC) Shawn Porter unification bout which will take place on September 28th. Before this fight, Pacquiao would have been considered a significant underdog against either Crawford or Spence, but after his performance against Thurman, those odds will tighten up considerably.
Thurman suffered his first professional loss as he dropped to 29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC. He was making his sixth world title defense. This was only his second fight in about two and a half years, as he recovered from numerous injuries to his left elbow and hand.
He vowed in his post-fight news conference that he was going to come back stronger and better. He also wanted a rematch with Pacquiao, which probably will not happen.