By: Hans Themistode
As it currently stands, Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman is undoubtedly the biggest fights of the year. It also will be one of the toughest in the long career of Pacquiao as well. When this fight was first announced, Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) was the betting favorite. The rabid fanbase of Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) has since changed that.
Pacquiao might be viewed as the favorite going into this contest according to the odds, but make no mistake about it, he will have several disadvantages including height, speed and a decided 10 year difference in age. For any other fighter, these unfavorable circumstances would prove to be too much to overcome, but not for Pacquiao. The fighter nicknamed Pac-Man has plenty of paths to victory.
Continue reading as we highlight the three most important keys that will lead to his victory over Keith Thurman on July 20th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cut Off The Ring
For all of Thurmans bravado coming into this contest, his natural tendencies as a fighter just does not match up with what he has been saying. Thurman has promised to bring the fight right to Manny but, if you have been watching Thurman for the entirety of his career then you will know that he isn’t exactly a knockout artist. He’s more of a boxer puncher. Thurman does have plenty of power but he would much rather use the entirety of the ring to make his opponents work.
Thurman has called Pacquiao a bunny rabbit because of his in and out nonstop movement. In actuality, it’s Thurman who moves continually during his contest. Pac-Man needs to neutralize that. If he can get his man in the corners of the ring or against the ropes then that will give him a chance to do what he does best, let his hands go.
Whether The Early Storm
The WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman has shown a tendency to get off too fast starts. He is a terrific fighter for the first half of fights. During the second half however, he tends to take his foot off the gas.
The reason behind this strategy is that he likes to build an early lead on the scorecards of the judges and coast to victory. When the championship rounds arrive, he’ll usually steal one of those rounds which will aide in his victory. Just ask Danny Garcia how effective this strategy is. During that unification contest which took place in 2017, Thurman dominated the first half of the action and coasted during the second half, picking up another round or two along the way which made it impossible for Garcia to win. Pacquiao needs to fight fire with fire. If the eight division world champion could at the very least battle Thurman to a draw during the first half of the fight, he should be able to dominate the back end of it.
Hurt Thurman Early
The theme of Thurmans game plan, at least the game plan he has revealed to the media, is roughing up Pac-Man. Thurman has condemned Pacquiao for struggling with the physicality of Jeff Horn. Although most of the boxing world believes that Pacquiao was unjustly given a loss during that contest, he did have a bit of a hard time with the rugged approach of Horn.
Let’s not forget that Pacquiao did almost have his man out in the ninth round. If Thurman truly intends to be physical than Pac-Man needs to get his respect early. If Pacquiao is able to buzz him, then Thurman might think twice about just trying to bulldoze the smaller Pacquiao.