Keith Thurman vowed to end the long career of the great Manny Pacquiao, yet instead, last night in Las Vegas, the now former WBA welterweight champion found out first-hand just how great Pacquiao is. How special he is. How Pac Man is a one of a kind fighter.
Knocking Thurman down, bloodying his face and taking the best shots “One Time” was able to land on him, during the middle rounds, Thurman’s best stretch of the action, Pacquiao thrilled his millions of fans with another epic victory. It was a split decision at the end, yet in the opinion of many (this writer included), Pacquiao scored a clear win: 115-112.
Pacquiao, at age 40, also scored an historic victory. The oldest-ever world welterweight champion in boxing history, the southpaw dynamo further sealed his claim to utter greatness. Already, though, instead of savouring the simply incredible display of speed, power, accuracy, durability and excellent all-round physical conditioning from arguably the most amazing 40 year old lower weight fighter in history, fans are asking what’s next for Manny.
Last night’s thrilling win would surely make the perfect swansong for Pacquiao, a fighter who has had nothing at all to prove for years now. It’s so rare for a great fighter to go out on top, avoiding a humbling defeat. Pacquiao is talking about fighting again next year – and he has plenty of options: a return with Thurman, a fight with the Errol Spence-Shawn Porter winner, a lucrative fight with Amir Khan in the Middle East among them – but perhaps he should look at his fellow ageless marvels and what happened to them as they tried to test Father Time for too long.
Bernard Hopkins, for so long appearing to defy time, ended up pushing his luck and was beaten in his last couple of fights. George Foreman, the oldest heavyweight king ever, went out on a loss. As special as Pacquiao is, and as much as he appears to have left in the tank when closing in on his 41st birthday, the miracles cannot carry on indefinitely.
What say you – should Pacquiao walk away now, as a champion all over again. Or should he roll the dice once more?