When it was announced that future Hall Of Famer Manny Pacquiao’s ( 61-7-2 39 KO), next opponent would be Keith Thurman (29-0 22 KO ), I was a bit puzzled by the matchup. It seems my observation is not one shared by the masses.
I get it, Manny’s a treasure in boxing circles. I’m among those who believes we are watching a living legend every time he enters the ring. That said, something is amiss with this matchup..
Understood that even at 40 years of age, The Pride of The Philippines is not an easy assignment. That said, has the twilight of his career been predicated on a lesson in matchmaking?
Is this the fight that he gets old? These past two years, his opponents haven’t been exactly high level.
Adrien Broner, a wasted talent who never performed against A Side talent, Lucas Matthysse, a shot fighter at the time of their matchup, Jeff Horn not highly regarded before or now.
Conversely, Thurman has fought high quality during the same time frame, Danby Garcia and Shawn Porter.
I purposely didn’t list Thurman’s last opponent, Josesito Lopez, because although a tough out, not top tier. I’d would argue; however, that Lopez would best Broner, Horn, or Matthysse if fighting then at the same point.
You know what you get with Manny. The hand speed, footwork, angles, and like the video game’s Pac Man…a relentless attack. But like the screen full of dots and fruit, the hero can’t always stop the attack and succumbs to a counter attack.
For all the great skill sets that Manny possesses, the one area that can be exploited is his inconsistent defense. Willing most times to take one to land his lighting quick barrage, the openings are there. The problem is that most of his opponents are so worried about the banshee like barrage they think first of covering up before making him pay. By then, it’s too late. Pac Man scores points are and he’s gone, or even worse, you’re gone.
Thurman’s story has been well chronicled. A gym rat, with a hindu spirit. He’s both power and finesse. The beauty of his game is molded by being in the gym at an early age with one of the most underrated pugilists of all time, Ronald Wright.
Against Pacquiao, Thurman will have to channel his inner Winky to negate the angles and speed, while scoring points, all the while keeping his minds eye keenly aware of the one shot to turn the fight, the power observed earning him the moniker..”One Time”
The thought here is Manny will start strong and attack Thurman. That said Thurman will adjust and counter Manny, using his aggressiveness against him. I see Manny being hurt in this fight, and depending on the shot he’s hit with, either being stopped or fighting, uncharacteristically, cautious the rest of the fight, earning Thurman the win. Look out for a Thurman uppercut.
Did he look good in his last fight? No; however, good enough considering his injury recovery. One full training camp back now youth looks to be served.
When one remembers this fight, it may be looked back upon as the one that set the end to a historic career.