On This Day: Manny Pacquiao beats Keith Thurman to become WBA (Super) Welterweight World Champion

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 20, 2020 11:12 AM
On This Day: Manny Pacquiao beats Keith Thurman
Manny Pacquiao, reacts after knocking down Keith Thurman in the first round during a welterweight title fight Saturday, July 20, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Today, even at 41-years of age, eight-division boxing world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao remains a sought-after target in boxing’s stacked welterweight division. 

It’s not because he’s an aging big name that’s over the hill. Rather, it’s because that even at his advanced age (in terms of boxing), Pacquiao remains one of the best in the world and is still a legend that anyone would love to have on their professional record. 

The attention that Pacquiao is getting now, is thanks largely in part to a performance he put a year ago wherein he stunned an erstwhile-undefeated champion in Keith “One Time” Thurman. 

 

The Lead Up

Prior to getting matched up with Thurman, Pacquiao showed flashes that even in his 40s, he was still a force to be reckoned with. In January of 2019, Pacquiao returned to action and successfully defended his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against Adrien Broner in a one-sided unanimous decision. 

As impressive as that was, the quality of opponent that Broner was still gave people doubts as to if Pacquiao could compete with the best of the best in the division. 

By May of 2019, it was confirmed that up next for Pacquiao would be a shot at then-unbeaten Thurman, the reigning WBA (Super) Welterweight World Champion. 

Once the fight was announced, it didn’t take long for Thurman to unleash a barrage of trash talk aimed at the Pinoy icon. 

Thurman spoke about ending Pacquiao’s career and crucifying Pacquiao inside the ring, among other things. 

Pacquiao remained his usual, soft-spoken self, but the people around him confirmed that Thurman’s words did indeed light a fire under the sport’s only eight-division titleholder. 


Fight Night

Heading into the bout, people believed that Thurman, who was a full-decade younger than Pacquiao, would likely outwork the Pinoy star and early on, it looked to be the case. 

That was until Pacquiao dropped Thurman in the opening round, which set the tone for the  12-round contest. 

The two top-tier welterweights battled back and forth in the succeeding rounds, before Pacquiao once again landed big, connecting on a body shot in the 10th round. 

After 12 rounds, Pacquiao walked away with a 113-114, 115-112, 115-112 split decision victory. 


The Aftermath

Following Pacquiao’s stellar performance over Thurman, it was clear to many that while he may no longer be in his prime, he was still good enough to be among the elite. As such, names like Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence Jr., Josh Taylor, and even Terence Crawford all want a piece of Pacman.

After absorbing just the first loss of his career, Thurman is raring to run it back with Pacquiao and has, on multiple occasions, called for a rematch

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