By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao versus Keith “One Time” Thurman match is almost upon us, and they are fighting for the WBA Super Welterweight Championship (147 lbs.). They will trade blows at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada on July 21, 2019 (PHL time).
Before this match materialized, rumors were abound as to who Pacman would face. There was IBF World Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, while others pointed out that Pacman will trade punches with WBO World Welterweight champion Terrence Crawford.
Instead, everyone was surprised when they announced that it would be Pacman vs Thurman.
A little backstory on Thurman; he was a former unified Welterweight world champion, holder of the WBA title since 2015, and other WBC titles from 2017 to 2018.
But injuries slowed down Thurman’s career as he underwent surgery in his right elbow and another injury in his left hand, forcing him to rest for almost two years.
Despite the injuries, Thurman made his comeback fight after 2 years in a successful title defense against Josesito Lopez.
Known for his one punch knock-out, Thurman earned the nickname “One Time” and devastated opponents in his division fight after fight.
Meanwhile, the former Fighter of the Decade, Pacman still employs the same training routine he had during his peak years, still together with his long time winning coach Freddie Roach, the two have tasted the sweetest of success and endured the bitterness of defeat.
Fresh from a convincing unanimous decision win against Adrian Broner, Pacman will set foot in the ring once again after six months.
With Pacquiao still fresh, will his continuous ring appearance gain him an edge against Thurman?
Whether it is a question about age, or a question about how busy he is, Pacman just answers all of them with a single line: “I don’t care, I still love the sport.”
By the numbers, Thurman, in 29 fights, has an impressive 22 knockouts with 76 percent KO percentage, compared to Pacman’s 39 KO’s in 61 matches with 56% KO rate.
Thurman is undefeated while Pacman has 7 losses.
Thurman enjoys a 3-inch advantage against Pacman, with Thurman’s standing at 5’9’’.
In terms of reach, Thurman also has a slight advantage of 2 inches.
This fight is greatly anticipated as both of fighters love to throw jabs and prefer to box toe to toe with their opponents.
Thurman loves to set up his punches with his right jab, and throws a lot of body punches. He’s got heavy hands that can drop you, may it be a single uppercut or a single hook, but his speed isn’t as fast as Pacman’s.
Pacquiao, as the world witnessed, would surprise his opponents with his inhumane speed coupled with incredible footwork. Still deadly with that left hand, Thurman now has to watch Pacman’s right as well, as Pacman mixes his combinations well with his left jab-left straight-right hook compared to his earlier fights where he goes to his set up by throwing his right first all the time.
Both are beasts when it comes to the cardio game. Both are durable and can sustain 12 round fights, sometimes without even showing any signs of fatigue.
One thing will be critical in this fight, is that who will counter punch more? Both fighters don’t counter that much, as both love to start trades and love to engage first.
With all the speculations and the talks, one thing is for sure, both of them will give us the fight we all deserve.
Will Thurman prove he’s fully recovered from his injuries and is still a legitimate Welterweight world fighter?
Will Pacman defy father time once more and silence his haters?
July 21 can’t come soon enough.