Manny Pacquiao scores knockdown in opening round, holds off Keith Thurman rally
Manny Pacquiao proved to Keith Thurman that 40, is the new 25. Pacquiao knocked Thurman down and captured the WBA welterweight title by split decision at a rocking Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV, Saturday night.
Scores were 115-112 twice for Pacquiao, and 114-113 for Thurman.
Maxboxing judged Pacquiao the winner by a 114-113 tally.
Thurman got off first in the opening round, but it would be Pacquiao, a southpaw, who did well at the end of the stanza. Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) connected with a left. Thurman landed a right, but Pacquiao connected with a hard-left-right combo that knocked Thurman down. Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) got up with a bemused look on his face, but Pacquiao had already proved a point.
Pacquiao was a little too aggressive in round two and ran into a right. Thurman was moving more, very aware of Pacquiao’s hand and foot speed. Thurman let fly with more lead right hands. Pacquiao, as if annoyed, popped Thurman with a number of rights.
Thurman fired a sweeping left in round three. A Pacquiao combination connected. Thurman missed with a hook. Pacquiao quickly moved inside. His quickness, even at 40, had Thurman confused. He went to the body, and seconds later, came back with a combination.
In round four, Pacquiao dug to the body. Thurman fired rights and lefts. They weren’t very hard, but they were landing. Pacquiao used angles to punch. He was outworking the champion. He drove Thurman into the ropes with a right hand.
Thurman was still searching for answers in round five. He was there, but Pacquiao was winning. Pacquiao moved to his left and fired. Thurman went to the body. He landed a right. Pacquiao jabbed. Thurman, bleeding from the nose, connected with another right. Pacquiao fired freely. Thurman went to the body as Pacquiao connected with a wicked shot to the face.
Thurman was more aggressive in rounds six and seven. Pacquiao made him pay by tagging him with stinging jabs. Thurman’s nose was bleeding badly. He fought back with shots to the head. A hard right connected. Thurman was finding Pacquiao more consistently for the first time in the fight. Pacquiao walked into another combination, but did crack Thurman with an uppercut.
In round eight, Thurman tried to build off success he had found in rounds six and seven. He moved to his left and jabbed. Pacquiao whipped a combo. Thurman fought back with the old 1-2. Thurman landed two right hands. Pacquiao clocked Thurman with a left. Thurman countered with an uppercut-and a couple of right hands.
Thurman did well in rounds nine and 10. He fired a right to the body. His success was due to taking the fight to Pacquiao. He bounced and jabbed. He let fly with a four-punch combination. Thurman tagged Pacquiao with more blows, but Pacquiao fought back hard. Thurman clocked Pacquiao with another right and left. Pacquiao was backing up. Was he tired? Thurman tagged Pacquiao with a sweeping left. The Philippine legend ducked inside with shots. Thurman fought back, but Pacquiao doubled him over with a shot to the ribs, a punch that in a sense, won him the bout.
In round 11, Pacquiao, who appeared to have found his second wind, went back to the body. Thurman fired more shots from the outside. A hard-right landed flush. Pacquiao ate the blows and fought back.
Entering the 12th and final round, Thurman was likely behind on the scorecards. He’d need a knockout to win. He fired an uppercut. Pacquiao kept his hands up and looked to counter. He went to the body and head. Thurman was loading up his right hand, but the shot was filled with blanks. He did catch Pacquiao with a punch that might have won him the round.
“This was fun,” said the victorious Pacquiao. “I did my best, he did his best, and we made the people happy. I really love the fans.”
“Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter,” said Thurman. “I’d love a rematch.”