By: Hans Themistode
For the vast majority of Manny Pacquiao’s career, he has stepped inside of the ring as the betting favorite. As an eight division world champion it’s easy to see why. On July 20th, in Las Vegas, Nevada, he will stand across the ring from current WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs).
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) is once again the betting favorite, but should he be?
Experience goes a long way in the sport of boxing, and Pacquiao has an abundance of it. In 1995 Thurman was running around his Kindergarten classroom preparing himself to do such things as recite the alphabet and getting in his daily naps. Pacquiao on the other hand, was making his boxing debut. The age gap between these two is an entire decade.
It isn’t just experience that has pushed Pacquiao as the favorite, at least in the eyes of the betting public. Although the resume of Thurman is impressive, it cannot compare to that of his adversary come July 20th. The eight division world champion has shared the ring with the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr, Miguel Cotto and of course Floyd Mayweather. Simply put, there won’t be anything that Thurman can bring to the table come fight night that Pacquiao hasn’t seen before.
With the mental side of this bout squarely in the favor of Pacquiao, it is Thurman who holds a massive edge from a physical perspective. The WBA Welterweight title holder will enjoy a two inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage. Thurman also seems to have a bit more pop in his punches as well. At age 40, and with 70 fights to his name, there is no doubt that the odometer of Pacquiao is reaching its critical point. Still, the betting public are fully expecting Pacquiao to get the job done come fight night.
The question has yet to be answered. Should Pacquiao be favored over his much younger opponent? No he should not.
Thurman is a truly great fighter that is in the prime of his career. Don’t be fooled by his last performance against Josesito Lopez. It was a contest where Thurman was expected to dominate. Instead, he struggled against the long time veteran fighter. Pay no attention to that performance as Thurman was ending a two year lay off and was just getting back into the thick of things. Expect him to look much more like the version of himself who outpointed both Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.
Keith Thurman is being highly underestimated going into this contest. Pacquiao shouldn’t be the favorite going in, but he can very well still win it. This will be a close back forth contest. It’s anyones guess as to who exactly will win but Thurman should be viewed as the fighter who has the upper hand.