LAS VEGAS (KLAS-TV) — 40 is the new 30? It surely seemed that way tonight, as 40-year-old looked every bit the fighter he was a decade ago. Sure, his cardio may not hold up the same but for the first 5 rounds of Saturday’s bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pacquiao was his old self.
The speed, precision, level change, and must we not forget the power – it was all there for Pacquiao in the early rounds. His opponent, undefeated WBA champion Keith Thurman, struggled to catch up with the lightning-fast Pacquiao. There were times that Thurman was able to sneak in a power punch or two, but nothing that matched the PacMan’s output.
That is until the 6th round of the bout. For the first time, we saw Father Time rear his head and slow down the Filipino megastar. Thurman was able to hit the now patient Pacquiao. This allowed him to take a fair amount of those rounds on the judges scorecards. It also made the fight appear much closer than it seemed earlier in the bout.
Those young legs carried Thurman into the 10th round, but that is when Pacquiao caught his second wind. He used that second wind to attack Thurman’s body with a flurry of punches that had the young champ slumped over and in survival mode. Thurman was able to survive without tasting the canvas again, but the damage was done. The later rounds all but sealed the deal for Pacquiao and showed that Father Time hasn’t caught him yet.
With a split-decision victory, which was generous in many viewers’ opinion, now sets Pacquiao up for a plethora of big fight opportunities. The most obvious being a 2020 match up with the winner of September’s Errol Spence-Shawn Porter title fight.
“I think (I will fight) next year. I will go back to the Philippines and work and then make a decision,” said Pacquiao. “I hope to be at that (Spence-Porter) fight on Sept. 28.”
On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a Manny Pacquiao victory without the looming specter of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch. Mayweather was in attendance to see Pacquiao crowned WBA welterweight champion, which will only fuel the rumors of another “super fight” between the two legends.
For now, Pacquiao will enjoy the victory and return to his Senatorial duties in the Philippines. Weighing his options and keeping father time at bay once again.