By: Hans Themistode
The fans at the MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas, Nevada got everything they were looking for on Saturday night. Both Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) put on a show.
Thurman came up just short in his quest to dethrone the hall of fame bound Pacquiao. The notion that he has fallen off a cliff are completely false. Any talks of retirement should be shelved. If Thurman can simply stay active, he can make his return to the top of the division.
Just who exactly should Thurman take on when he makes his return to the ring? We’ll tell you.
The former four division champion continues to be the heel of boxing. At this point in the career of Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs) it’s clear that he is not what he once was. He has a very low punch output but a granite level chin, so he should provide Thurman with a tough challenge. One that he won’t simply outclass. For all of Broner’s flaws, he is extremely durable and still does possesses some skill. This is a contest that at least on paper Thurman should win, but Broner will be in his face all night.
On the undercard of Keith Thurman vs Manny Pacquiao, Sergey Lipinets (16-1, 12 KOs) was busy at work making his own statement as he scored a vicious second round knockout over late replacement opponent Jayar Inson (18-3, 12 KOs). As it currently stands he is undefeated at the Welterweight division.
He also has looked very good in his short time there. A matchup with Thurman and Lipinets would be bombs away. It’s the sort of fight that could propel the winner to a title shot. It isn’t a soft touch for Thurman by any means, but if he wants to truly get back to the Thurman of old, then these are the fights that he needs to not only get but win.
Former title challenger Yordenis Ugas (24-4, 11 KOs) is coming off a dominant win this past Saturday night when he outclassed Omar Figueroa Jr. That contest was a WBC title eliminator, but with current champion Shawn Porter already set to face off with IBF champ Errol Spence Jr, that leaves Ugas without a dance partner. In steps Keith Thurman. Both men are eager to jump right back into title contention. A win for either of them will land them exactly where they want to be.