By Daniel Gonzalez
Senator Manny Paquiao Floors and Defeats Keith Thurman to Become WBA Champion at the Age of 40
Las Vegas, NV – Manny Paquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) does it again! Despite being over 40 years old, the Filipino senator and all time boxing great, captured the WBA title with a split decision victory over Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Judges Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti both scored the fight 115-112 for Paquiao, while Judge Glenn Feldman saw Thurman winning the fight 114-113.
Boxing Action Magazine’s Predicted a 114-113 outcomes with Pacquiao winning by Split Decision:
Coming into the fight, boxing analysts thought that the younger 30 year old Thurman would have the advantage of youth on his side, but the timeless Manny Paquiao showed no signs of slowing down in this action packed fight. He once again put on a tremendous show in his 15th fight at the MGM Grand. The 40 year old began the fight on a high note by landing a left to the body of Thurman, followed by a right hook that put Keith Thurman on his backside late in the first round. Although it appeared to be a flash knockdown, it nevertheless set the tone for the fight. Thurman was visibly troubled by Paquiao’s speed, footwork and power. Thurman landed 210 punches, which was more total punches than the eight division world champion (195), according to Compubox punch stats.
However, it was the elder statesman’s blows that appeared to be doing more damage throughout the fight. A perfectly placed left hook to body in the 10th round appeared to be the best punch of the fight for Paquiao. Thurman even mentioned that blow in a post fight interview, saying that it caused him to pull out his mouthpiece so that he could breathe more deeply to recover. Manny sensed that Thurman was hurt in the 10th, but Thurman who had taken control of the second half of the fight used every inch of the ring to avoid the Filipino southpaw. He managed to make it out of round 10 and appeared to win both round 11 and 12, but it simply was not enough for the Clearwater native to earn the decision.
Thurman who suffered his first professional loss was graceful in defeat and gave credit to Paquiao. He stuck to his promise and chanted, “Oh senator, oh senator, how great is he?…oh senator, oh senator.” Thurman also humbly stated in his post fight interview, “You get blessings and lessons in life…today was a blessing and a lesson.” Thurman indicated that he would like a rematch, but that seems to be unlikely. The 30 year old, had successfully defended his WBA title 4 times since winning it in 2015, but did not look good after a 22 month lay off Josesito Lopez in January. Thurman looked as if he was back in shape and focused coming into this fight, but Paquiao was just to much for him.
Senator Paquiao, when asked whether he will fight again in 2019, stated that he has to get back to work and would like to get back in the ring next year. When asked what opponent stands out as a potential match up for him going forward, he indicated that he would like to attend the unified match up between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter on September 28 and potentially take on the winner of that fight.
Although, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was in the ring before the fight started, there was no mention of him in the post fight interview. Nor was there any mention of WBO champion Terrence Crawford, who many consider to be the pound for pound best in the world. It would seem if Mayweather would come out of retirement, that would be the most lucrative fight that Paquiao could made early next year. Senator Paquiao has previously indicated his desire to avenge his 2015 loss. There is no question that the 40 year old Paquiao should not be underestimated after convincing handling a very good young welterweight champion. As for Thurman, his options are wide open. The welterweight division continues to be stacked and he now has established name both for casual boxing fans and boxing purists. With this winManny Paquiao further cements his place in history as one of the all time greats.
Congratulations to Manny Paquiao. I actually picked Keith Thurman to win this fight, as I thought youth would prevail. Manny Paquiao is undoubtedly a statistical outlier in the sport of boxing and has once again made history.
Daniel Gonzalez is a Senior Boxing Writer. Dan writes for many publications including Boxing Action Magazine, www.BoxingAction24.com and www.SideStepBoxing.com
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Trapp & Ryan Hafey
/ Fox Sports