Eight-division world champion and newly-crowned WBA (Super) Welterweight World Champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao once again put on an impressive performance in his split decision win over previously-undefeated Keith "One Time" Thurman in Las Vegas last July 20th.
While it was another win for the Filipino boxing icon, it didn't come as easy as he would have liked, as Thurman proved to be a tough customer.
In fact, the 30-year old American was the more active fighter in terms of punches, as he landed 210 punches compared to Pacquiao's 195 throughout the 12-round contest.
Early on, it was Thurman who was more aggressive, but everything shifted when he got clipped and dropped by a left hook in the latter part of the first round.
"Yung first round, siguro yun yung magandang advantage natin, dahil in that early round, naipakita natin na hindi mo pwede akong i-underestimate or taking me lightly, taking me easy sa fight. Parang doon natin na-tatak sa isipan niya na ‘mag-ingat ka.’, Pacquiao shared in an interview with Migs Bustos for ANC's Gametime.
Pacquiao continued to outwork Thurman in the succeeding rounds, but admitted to taking some rounds off, essentially allowing Thurman to catch up and land more punches.
"Nag-relax kasi ako sa 6, 7, 8, 9," Pacquiao revealed. "Nag-relax ako nung mga rounds na iyon, so medyo sinamantala niya yung pag-rerelax ko, and the nung 10, 11, 12, nag-sigurado ako, hindi ako nag-relax, kumbaga nag-ikot-ikot ako, nag-hanap ako ng mga strategy na hindi ako matamaan and kailangan ko sumuntok ng maraming punches."
Round 10 proved to be another momentum-shifting round, as Pacquiao landed a solid body shot that had Thurman visibly in pain and on the retreat.
"Pacman" explained why he opted to go to the body this time around.
"Mailap kasi sa mukha, umaatras siya pag-sumusuntok na ako, pag-gumalaw na ako," he said. "Siguro may nakapag-timbre na sa kanya, basta pag gumalaw na ako, nag-footwork na ako, umaatras na siya, so alam na niya yung strategy ko, so ginawa ko body shot, tapos napuruhan ko siya. Ayun, medyo tumiklop siya tapos tumakbo."
In the end, the two most-impactful shots came from Pacquiao in the opening round and in the tenth round, which likely swayed the victory in his favor.
All in all, Pacquiao said that he was happy with how the fight went and he was able to stick with the gameplan.
A big part of the success, he adds, was the fact that he was very motivated heading into the bout, thanks to the trash talk from Thurman.
"Really big difference, kasi my opponent is a good talker, tapos sabi ko naman na it will not help him, it will help me because it will give me more motivation to work hard, to focus on training, yun yung naka-ganda, kasi na-momotivate tayo sa mga sinasabi niya and then nakaka-tulong sa atin."
Check out the full interview here: