On Saturday, WBA “regular” welterweight champion and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will face the undefeated WBA “super” champion Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The highly anticipated matchup can be seen live on FOX PPV in the USA and on ITV Box Office (PPV) in the UK.
Tale of the Tape – Pacquiao vs. Thurman
|Manny Pacquiao||Keith Thurman|
|Record||61-7-2 (39 KOs)||29-0-0 (22 KOs)|
|Height||5’5 1/2″||5’7 1/2″|
Fight Breakdown – Pacquiao vs. Thurman
Considered to be one of the greatest of all time, Manny Pacquiao has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in boxing. Yet, at 40 years old with a well-established political career in his home country of the Philippines, the ‘fighting senator’ is still motivated to prove that he is still one of the best fighters in the world. In his last fight, Pacquiao won a unanimous decision over Adrien Broner.
Keith Thurman is a former unified welterweight champion and the current holder of the WBA “super” title. Since winning his first world title in 2015 against the Florida native has only fought four times. However, two of those wins came against top-tier welterweights in Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. In his last fight, Thurman defeated Josesito Lopez by majority decision.
Though he made a name for himself in the boxing world with his power (hence his nickname), what makes Thurman so good is his footwork and boxing IQ. He can move, box, and counter, and he knows how to deal with any situation in the ring. As far as weaknesses go, Thurman has been hurt by body shots in the past, and he was hurt during his fight with Lopez.
Manny Pacquiao is far from the same athlete he was in his prime, but he still possesses world-class talent and more experience than any active fighter in the game today. The southpaw slugger is known for his left hand which he oftentimes will use as a lead punch to throw off his opponents rhythm and timing. Pacquiao’s biggest advantage in this fight is his speed. Look for quick hands and quick feet from the Filipino champion.
I believe that Pacquiao should fight in bursts and jump in-and-out of the pocket to give himself the best chance of not only scoring points and winning rounds, but also landing a clean shot on Thurman. For Keith Thurman, he should keep his hands up and come forward to try and push Pacquiao back, as the latter does not fight as well on his back foot.
Prediction – Pacquiao vs. Thurman
I predict a unanimous decision victory for Keith Thurman. Pacquiao will likely be around 148 pounds in the ring. Thurman, on the other hand, will probably be close to 165, making him one of the biggest opponents Pacquiao has faced in his career, at least weight-wise. Not only will Thurman essentially be almost three weight classes larger than Manny in the ring (which is a big deal in itself), but he also brings youth, experience, talent, and a well-rounded skillset to the table. We could definitely see a knockout in this one, but if I had to bet I would go with Thurman on points.
Pacquiao needs to turn back the clock if he wants to beat an elite, younger, bigger fighter like Thurman. His punch output needs to be high and his footwork is going to have to be nearly perfect if he wants to decisively beat the American. If Pacquiao was a natural welterweight, I would pick him hands down to win this fight. I still give him a decent chance to pull it off, but I have to favor the undefeated true 147-pounder in his prime. No matter the outcome, this fight should have plenty of action-packed moments.
Who wins this mega-fight? Will Thurman try to box and move, or will he try to bully his smaller opponent? Should Pacquiao retire if he loses? Comment below with your prediction for Pacquiao vs. Thurman.