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The Perfect Opportunity: Keith Thurman vs. Kell Brook?


By: Kirk Jackson

Exiting the scorching months of the summer and entering the fall, the recent talk of significant welterweight match-ups in the making, features the combination of talents ranging from current WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s), former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KO’s) and former IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KO’s), also known as “Special K” or simply “The Special One.”

As of last Friday, there are talks or at least the beginning stages of negotiation between Crawford and Brook. Reportedly, an offer of 1.5 million was offered to Team Brook, for a fight against Crawford to take place at some point later in year.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed he’s aligning Brook to face the three-division champion Crawford.

“I had a couple of conversations with Bob Arum and Top Rank VP of operations, Carl Moretti yesterday. And I feel that’s a big fight for UK TV, so we’re trying to help out and get that over the line,” Hearn told IFL TV.

“I would love to see Kell get that fight. I think Top Rank had a conversation with Keith Thurman and obviously they wanted too much money. It’s difficult at the moment. Crawford wants a lot of money and Kell wants a lot of money. He deserves it. We’re trying to make that fight happen to assist Top Rank in getting the numbers together.”

But preceding this negotiation, were talks of Crawford potentially facing Thurman. Prior to that, there were discussions of Thurman facing Brook.

“Thurman’s people got in touch with me, but they’re out to lunch,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com. “They have such crazy expectations that just don’t exist anymore. Their money demands are crazy. They said they were free agents, which I’m sure they are. But again, who’s gonna pay what they’re looking for?”

However, Arum didn’t disclose the dollar amount Thurman’s representative requested, nor identify who contacted him on Thurman’s behalf. Thurman in recent interviews talked about potentially facing Crawford in the near future, but never mentioned a price tag.

Thurman is likely to return and headline a FOX broadcast later this year in December, albeit his opponent has yet to be determined.

Crawford for his part, spoke on the potential fight with Thurman in a recent interview.

“You don’t know what you want to do,” said Crawford. “Because if a contract was sent to Keith Thurman, he would find a way out. So, stop playing with my name. You’re a guy who just cries wolf.”

Thurman’s retort however, conveys the opposite of what Arum and Crawford insinuate about Thurman regarding a potential showdown between the pair.

“Right now, I want [Terence] Crawford more now, man,” Thurman stated. “He got under my skin. Errol [Spence]? That’s a timeline issue. I know how the game works. We got the same manager. That’s a timeline issue. This Crawford dude? Send a contract, bro. Tell ESPN to send some zeroes my way. They know an appropriate number. I sign on the dotted line.”

“Don’t act like I run from you. You never got respect in the game anyway at 147. You ain’t pushed the buttons at 147. You ain’t touched Shawn Porter. You ain’t touched Thurman. You ain’t touched [Danny] Garcia. You ain’t touched Spence. I’m gonna run out of fingers! I can name all my opponents you ain’t touched. I’m gonna run out of fingers, boy! Stop it, just stop it!”

Question is, why can’t Arum and company negotiate a price tag with Thurman, if the demand is that high? Negotiate with Team Thurman, like the negotiations that took place with Team Amir Khan last year.

Unless of course, a fight against Thurman is not what Arum and company truly want. Arum and Crawford for that matter, have their sights set on current WBA champion Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO’s). But with representation on behalf of Pacquiao mentioning he’ll be on the shelf for the duration of 2020, “Bud” has to set his sights elsewhere.

However within this current welterweight mix-up, exists a pairing that makes perfect sense for each participant. 

Focusing on that pairing; featuring Thurman versus Brook, makes the most sense for both fighters.

For Brook, his last three opponents since losing his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017, are Sergey Rabchenko, Michael Zerafa in March and December of 2018 respectively, along with Mark DeLuca in February of this year.

Nice string of comeback fights to work out the ring rust, to build confidence and tread towards the path back to the top again.

Brook is searching for that signature fight and payday before calling it quits on a pretty solid career. As mentioned in his interview with IFL TV, he wants either Thurman or Crawford and the former unified WBA and WBC champion provide Brook with what he is seeking.

Expanding on the signature fight, and more importantly the signature win aspect, Brook’s biggest fights to date were against Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. After securing victory in a close fight against Porter to win his world title, Brook suffered technical knockout defeats against Golovkin (In a bid for middleweight world titles) and Spence (Losing his IBF world title).

Brook has staked claim in wanting more. He wants to be known for something greater and if that’s the case, he will chase another signature win against another high-level opponent.

“Making 147 (lbs.) is something Terence [Crawford] and all these American fighters seem to love to ask me to do when it’s put on their toes: ‘Would you fight Kell Brook?’ Tell Kell Brook to make weight,’” Brook said. “It’s fine though. It shows me they respect my ability and take some sort of comfort from convincing themselves it might not happen.”

“I boxed in February. I’ve been ticking over during lockdown and I’m back in the boxing gym training. By the fall time, I’ll be more than ready, I will make the weight. Then I’ll make the wait worthwhile!”

Concentrating on Thurman, who commands strong standing and a high measure of star power amongst his contemporaries. For Thurman, suffering defeat in a closely contested championship bout against a future Hall of Famer doesn’t lower his stock. Especially considering he was exhilarating in defeat.

Any fight featuring Thurman will be on network television like FOX and will be a headliner event. Meaning, there will be a ton of promotion, high viewership and great revenue earning opportunities. If Brook is to secure a bout with Thurman and emerge victorious, that places him in great position for an even bigger fight.

It’s important to state, a hypothetical victory for Brook over Thurman would also be his biggest win to date. Due to certain variables, the fight against Thurman may be Brook’s best chance for a win against high-level and highly acclaimed opposition.

One of those variables, is Thurman’s history of injuries. Dating back to July of 2015, Thurman has only competed five times. But like “One Time,” “The Special One” has his history of unfortunate injuries.

According to his own testimony, Thurman was injured in most of his recent fights. The mental aspect of recovery and rehabilitation is a battle in itself, a battle Brook shares.

“It’s hard for someone to show me an opportunity and watch me say no,” said Thurman. “I could maybe take a tune-up. But I like great fights and significant challenges. Whoever, I fight, I know there’s going to be a following. I want to make it worth my while. Those training camps are not easy. I want my opponent to be worthy of all the pain and suffering that is involved in the whole event for it to be really worthwhile.”

What would be the incentive for Thurman to fight Brook?

Brook is a name, a former champion and a fighter with a following. Brook has the support of the United Kingdom. They have interesting styles, contrasting styles but share many traits in common. It can be argued both are entering the back-end of their professional careers and plotting for pivotal standing in a loaded division at welterweight.

Based on the quote from Thurman, Brook represents what he is seeking. They both bring great intangibles to the table and can mutually benefit from facing one another.

Fans and critics alike question if Thurman still has it and wonder if he can return to the same form that he had when capturing the WBC and WBA welterweight titles? What better way to begin his comeback trail than against a fighter in a similar position?  

Another facet to consider, a common link the two share is Errol Spence. Many observers believe Thurman visibly ducked Spence for several years, while Brook was the first active champion at the time, to provide Spence an opportunity for the world title, as Spence worked his way up to mandatory challenger. Thurman in fact told Spence to acquire a world title or two first, before he would grant that opportunity.

In recent months, Thurman claimed desires of wanting to fight Spence, while Brook has maintained his yearning for a rematch ever since losing to the Texan back in 2017. If Thurman faces and defeats Brook, that may place him in position for Spence, as they’ll then share another common opponent. For Brook of course, if he were to win the hypothetical, keeps him in the sweepstakes for a rematch.

An added benefit for “One Time” by facing Brook, is he keeps other unfavorable options on the back burner.

Thurman is a highly sought out target and may find himself fighting off a bevy of would be challengers. The aforementioned Spence was always a name pursing a clash against Thurman, Porter is seeking the rematch and Garcia stated he would like a rematch at some point as well. The Clearwater native may not be ready for those bouts when he returns in December.

There is also a crop of young talent, itching at the opportunity to get a crack at Thurman. Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KO’s), who fights September 19 and Vergil Ortiz (16-0 16 KO’s), fresh off his victory last month over veteran Samuel Vargas.

While Thurman would be favored in any of those match-ups, or even in other bouts against Yordenis Ugas, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Jessie Vargas, Sergey Lipnets, Ray Robinson, etc., the risk may not warrant the potential reward. Especially if the end goal is to get the rematch against Pacquiao, or the eventual fight against Spence. Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia would be exceptions to that rule.

For Thurman, especially if he secures the December date, not only prolongs talks of  bouts against any of the aforementioned fighters, but a win and spectacular victory at that (Hopefully injury-free) over Brook leaves him with an opportunity for a larger scale fight against some of the bigger names once the welterweight schedule clears up.

Much is at stake for Thurman and Brook, but each fighter has the opportunity to make the best of this proposed scenario and this is a great opportunity for both parties.

Will it still be KO’s for life and are chocolate brownies on the menu?

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Can Keith Thurman Handle The Truth?


By: Kirk Jackson

Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KO’s) aims to not only get back on the winning track, but also targets to stake claim as top dog in this current wave of a welterweights in what is considered one of boxing’s historic divisions.

As of late, Thurman is keeping busy, barking threats at the top guy in the division.

“I’m ready to get back in with all this competition,” Thurman told boxing publication, Pep Talk UK.

“My mind mentally would love a rematch with Manny Pacquiao. I think it’s a worthy rematch and a deserved rematch. It’s an epic fight… It’s whatever doors will open. If I have to fight a Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia. I’d be surprised if Errol Spence hops on the table right away, but there are so many opportunities.”

That quote featured five names, all five fighters great in their own way. But there is one fighter among the bunch that sticks out as a thorn in Thurman’s side.

Enter “The Truth” Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KO’s). The undefeated, unified IBF and WBC welterweight champion, is noted for telling foes to “Keep that same energy,” essentially stating to hold on to the same stance held before and after the action that transpires.

Spence also happens to be one of the main names linked to Thurman over the past several years.

Following the actions of Thurman, or career trajectory as far as fight selection, and the lack of the fight transpiring between him and Spence over the past several years, there may be an understanding level of skepticism, upon hearing recent proclamations from the former welterweight champion.

“Errol [Spence] going to have to give me my respect one way or another. If he doesn’t want to see me at 147, he’s going to have to leave the division.”

After all this time, does anyone believe Thurman is in an immediate rush to face Spence? With lucrative opportunities and legacy defining fights awaiting Spence in the welterweight division, why would Spence leave this weight class? What leverage does Thurman hold, to force Spence out of the division?

Is Thurman serious, or is he clout chasing?

This is the fight game and business ideally must match the needs of each respective team before opposing sides can come to an agreement, but business and politics aside, Thurman never appeared in a hurry, to face what many fans and experts considered to be Thurman’s toughest challenger.

Well that was until Thurman faced Pacquiao, in what was a highly competitive, razor thin decision in favor of the senator from the Philippines.

And speaking of Pac-Man, it can be argued for the past several years, Spence has been chasing around Thurman, Spence portraying Pac-Man and Thurman portraying one of those ghosts chased around, once Pac-Man absorbs an energizer.

Thurman like other fellow fighters, athletes and everyone generally speaking, is plagued with issues from this pandemic. But even aside from that particular problem, Thurman’s lack of activity, is apparent over the past stretch of years.

Dating back to July of 2015, Thurman has only competed five times.

Injuries have also tampered with Thurman’s reign as world champion. Questions aimed at his durability and physical health, dedication and focus to the sport, have come into question in recent years. According to his own testimony, he was injured in most of his recent fights. The mental aspect of recovery and rehabilitation is a war in itself.

“It’s hard for someone to show me an opportunity and watch me say no,” said Thurman. “I could maybe take a tune-up. But I like great fights and significant challenges. Whoever, I fight, I know there’s going to be a following. I want to make it worth my while. Those training camps are not easy. I want my opponent to be worthy of all the pain and suffering that is involved in the whole event for it to be really worthwhile.”

With inquiries relating to his history of injuries, along with data to support certain claims, some observers are wondering if he will return to the form that earned him decision wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. The same form, that enabled Thurman to hold multiple welterweight titles at one time.

It’s fairly reasonable for someone to question Thurman’s true intentions regarding his desire to face Spence.

The truth is, Thurman is a talented fighter. Thurman is intelligent, has a gift of gab and is as entertaining with his words, as he is with his punches. That is a rare, complimentary combination.

But the truth may also be, Thurman is no longer the top guy across his division and at this moment in time, not even in the conversation. Words and accomplishments from yesteryear can only carry you so far. This is a what have you done for me lately kind of business.

Although boasting close wins over Porter and Garcia, they may be positioned with greater opportunities comparatively to Thurman. Due to their level of activity, success, public perception, durability and fortune of good health, they are positioned to take fights against Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence, or even Terence Crawford.

Due to inactivity and uncertainty, some may argued Thurman has faltered below to the second tier of elite welterweight. That talented group of fighters featuring Jessie Vargas, Yordenas Ugas, Sergey Lipnets, Adrien Broner, among a few others.

An additional problem for the former champion, is another wave of welterweights may be on the way soon. Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez may move up within the next year or so adding more muscle to the division. The young guns Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz are also waiting in the wing.

With this infusion of talent and additional depth added to the weight class, “One Time” may be on limited time.

As far as securing a showdown with “The Truth,” tables have turned indeed and it is Thurman allegedly giving chase to the opportunity that lies in wait with Spence.

“Everyone is gunning for him, and if he wants to stay champion, he’s going to have to answer to everybody or follow after his predecessor and dodge everybody and pick who he chooses,” Thurman said. “He’s faced some of my competition, but he’s never faced me. I did that with Errol when he fought Shawn Porter. I got a lot of people that think the way I beat Porter was better.”

Only difference is, Spence verbally expresses the interest to face his challengers and so far, is backing up his talk.

The predecessor Thurman is referring to, in Floyd Mayweather, defeated 24 world champions, won 11 world titles, five weight classes, etc.

Albeit Thurman never got his shot, Mayweather obviously faced his fair share of top-level competition. And for argument sake, Mayweather beat a younger version of the same fighter who handed Thurman his first professional defeat.

The truth is, given Thurman’s high intellect, there’s more than what meets the eye with his recent proclamations.

All roads through welterweight must eventually go through Errol Spence. Time will tell if Keith “One Time” Thurman can handle the truth.

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Angel Garcia: “We Want a Rematch With Thurman Bad”


By: Hans Themistode

Looking ahead is apart of all sports. Before the event even begins, the first question that arises is “what’s next?” 

In boxing, in particular, the thought of a big fight is always on the minds of everyone. It may sound cliché and a bit infuriating but when a boxer says “I can’t look ahead, I have to focus on the fight in front of me,” fans simultaneously role their eyes. 

This constant rhetoric used by fighters just isn’t what fans want to hear on a consistent basis, yet it is the formula that helps them carve out hall of fame level careers. 

When you look at former two division world champion Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs), he’s become the poster child for this. It is difficult if not flat out impossible for anyone to get him to mention any other fighter other than the one that is currently placed in front of him.   

His trainer and father, Angel Garcia on the other hand, now that’s an entirely different story. 

On January 25th, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn New York, Garcia will be taking on Ivan Redkach. It isn’t considered the most difficult matchup in the world for Danny. In fact, should he lose this upcoming weekend, you could make the case that this would rank amongst the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. 

The matchup with Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) is an important one, but it isn’t exactly on the minds of the fans. Contests against unified champion Errol Spence Jr and WBA belt holder Manny Pacquiao are more intriguing. 

You may not be able to get Danny to say much about what lies ahead for his future but his father is an open book.

“Anyone of them. We’ll take them all,” said Angel during a recent interview. “Listen, we’re here to fight so we’ll fight anyone of them. It doesn’t even matter if we have to fight on DAZN we can work with them.”

If you believe the rumbles then you’ll understand fully that Danny has a potential matchup with either of those aforementioned fighters awaiting him should he pull off the victory this Saturday. 

The problem for Danny is that Spence was only recently cleared for boxing activities following a horrific car accident, while Pacquiao is an unknown. 

Pacquiao has done just about everything in the sport of boxing and at this point, he’s almost like the golden ticket. One win over him and you have a chance of punching your own ticket to the hall of fame, while also pocketing a career high pay day as well.

Danny has a hall of fame case in his own right and he certainly isn’t hurting for money either, but more couldn’t hurt right? Danny would love a fight with the living legend but that doesn’t mean that he’ll simply wait around or beg for it either.

“We can fight Manny that’s not a problem but the point is this. Last year we were supposed to fight Manny. We sat and waited and then he ended up choosing Thurman. So we wasted a date last year. We want to fight at least two times this year.”

Speaking of Thurman, he of course handed the first loss to Danny in his career. It may have been over two years ago but don’t think Danny or Angel forgot about it.

“We want a rematch with Thurman bad. We need that rematch so that we can avenge the L. But if we don’t get him then we’ll take any of the other top guys.”

Before any of those dream matchups can actually happen, fans will have to revert back to those words that they hate to hear. “I have to focus on the fight in front of me.” It may not be the sort of statement that the fans want to be told, but it’s what they have to live with, for now. 

Angel isn’t looking past Redkach but he does expect him to be nothing more than a speed bump on the road to big fights.

“Listen, when Danny starts throwing leather will Redkach be able to stand there and take it? I doubt it. Danny is gonna knock him out.” 

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Surgery To Keep Keith Thurman From The Ring Until 2020


By: Sean Crose

Keith “One Time” Thurman is perhaps the most self-injurious big name athlete in the fight game. After making his presence felt through a series of dominant performances in the twenty-teens, the Florida native began suffering injuries which have removed him from the boxing ring for considerable portions of time. And, as of Friday, it is clear that Thurman will once again have to take a forced hiatus from the ring. “I recently had surgery on my left hand to deal with a nagging injury,” Thurman tweeted. “I feel great and can’t wait to get back in the ring in early 2020. My injuries have been frustrating, but thanks to your support I’m determined to become a Champ again soon… #OneTime .”

Such announcements regarding Thurman, an extremely talented and skilled 30 year old former titlist, are unfortunately not uncommon. A 2016 bout with Shawn Porter was delayed for months because Thurman had gotten into a car accident. After besting Danny Garcia in 2017, Thurman needed surgery on his elbow. He didn’t re-enter the professional prize ring for almost two years afterwards. With that in mind, it’s difficult to ascertain how these combined days away from professional fighting have impacted Thurman’s ring performance. He was seriously hurt in a return bout against Josesito Lopez last January, though that may have had as much to do with ring rust – or an impressive performance from the veteran Lopez – than it did with Thurman’s time away from the ring.

As for Thurman’s last bout, against the legendary Manny Pacquiao last summer, the previously undefeated Thurman was completely overwhelmed and outclassed by the iconic Filipino. Although physical wear and tear may have had something to do with Thurman’s ability that night, it’s hard to imagine the fight going any other way than it did, so impressive was Pacquiao. With that in mind, Thurman told Yahoo Sports that he was dealing with an injured hand through his last two bouts. “It was there in the Josesito Lopez fight and it was there in the Pacquiao fight,” he said of his latest injury. “But as a world champion, I had to fight and that’s what I did. At the end of the day, there are no excuses, but I wasn’t at my best physically in either of them. I had to fight through it.”

The good news for Thurman fans is the fact that he intends to be back in boxing business by the early portion of next year. There’s a big difference, after all, between a seven or eight month layoff and a twelve to twenty month one. “The last thing I want,” Yahoo quotes him as saying, “is to stop here and now. I have a bright future and I’m in one of the best and most exciting divisions. That helps me keep my head up high and helps keep me motivated.” Even though he was bested by Pacquiao in clear fashion, Thurman truly remains one of the top fighters at welterweight, where names like Errol Spence Jr, or even Terence Crawford might conceivably await.

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Defeat Can Propel, Not Define Thurman


By: Ste Rowen

At the weekend 40-year-old, all-time great Manny Pacquiao added yet another name to his ridiculous resume. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman was dropped en route to a split decision loss – Glenn Feldman, try watching the fight – but defeat to the Filipino veteran shouldn’t mean the end for the former unified champion.

This time two years ago Keith had overcome the two biggest hurdles, at the time, of the 147lb division. The Floridian native had consecutively decisioned Shawn Porter and then undefeated Danny Garcia. ‘One Time’ seemed ready for pound-for-pound greatness even as 2017 came to a close, but it wasn’t to be as Keith, with a mix of injury and personal life, wasn’t seen back in the ring for almost two years when he stepped back inside with Josesito Lopez in a rough showing that saw Thurman take a majority decision, as well as some testing body shots.

And then on to this following weekend against future hall of famer, Manny Pacquiao. Keith gave Pac-Man the stare down but as Tony Montana said, ‘It’s in the eyes…’ and Manny, a fighter of now seventy-one bouts with some of the greats was hardly going to be fazed by the vacant stare of a man handed favours by the WBA.

But as the headline suggests, this isn’t a column to bash the former welterweight champion. At 30-years-old and 29-1 (22KOs), Keith, if he wants to, has a lot more to look forward to. The bruised-up American was gracious in defeat when he proclaimed, ‘‘It was a blessing and a lesson…I fell short but we’ve gotta do a little bit more. You get knocked down, you lift yourself up.‘‘ And the defeated man needs to look no further than his opponent to see how to bounce back from defeat. Manny, 61-7-2, even before this weekend’s win, was headed for Canastota – and with a Thurman victory, leaves no doubt – but with that win it leaves the 30-year-old to reflect and wonder about what he, himself can achieve after losing his 0.

The first thing Keith needs to do is get rid of the ‘One Time’ alias, Come on man, it’s been four years since your last stoppage. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s time to acknowledge WBO champion, Terence Crawford. In every interview so far Thurman has done his upmost to dismiss the P4P player, but after looking defeat in the eyes for the first time as a pro, Keith no longer has or needs an excuse to avoid Top Rank’s bogeyman. The former unified champ lost at the weekend to a true great, it doesn’t mean he can’t stand with the rest of the current 147lb crop of fighters, including the non-PBC boxer.

The quality is clearly there, even after last weekend’s decisive defeat. The real question is; is the desire there for Keith? A man once in the running for Floyd Mayweather Jr’s final fight, seemed to lose interest once he’d unified the WBA & WBC titles. No small feat, but considering his pedigree, it’s a disappointing climax if ‘One Time’ decides to call it a day early.

Thurman has hit the wall of defeat, but with the number of welterweights, both contenders and champions in play, Keith has an immediate opportunity to rise back to serious challenger status within just a few bouts. He stepped in and lost to all timer. If Thurman can learn from Pacquiao’s philosophy, one defeat can be brushed off and Keith can come again and be back with the best.

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Blessings and Lessons: Pacquaio vs. Thurman


By: Kirk Jackson

“This is a beautiful night of boxing, Manny Pacquiao is a truly great legendary champion, he got the victory over me. I wish I have a little more output to go toe-to-toe,” said Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KO’s) in a post-fight conference after suffering his first professional defeat to Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO’s)

“You gave blessings and lessons, and tonight is a blessing and a lesson, Thank you, Manny Pacquiao.”
Sometimes people want to look the part and speak the part, but ultimately, it’s extremely difficult to be the part.

Not many can do it. It’s what separates the pedestrian from the very good, the very good from the great, the great from the extraordinary and the extraordinary from legendary.

This past weekend, Keith Thurman aimed to leap towards legendary status, by claiming the head of a legend, but fell a bit short.

To quote famous American author James Weldon Johnson, “Young man, young man, your arm’s too short to box with God.”

Timing is the variable in this scenario, in which makes the tale of Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman most intriguing.

Perception is Thurman, the younger fighter at age 30, has time on his side against the 40-year-old Pacquiao.

However, Pacquiao did not look 40-years-old in the ring the past weekend. It appears he didn’t just take a sip from the fountain of youth, he dove in the Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus pit.

As renowned trainer and boxing analyst Teddy Atlas alluded to, in a recent post-fight interview in the aftermath of Pacquiao-Thurman, the timing of their bout favored Pacquiao, due to the inactivity of Thurman.

Atlas questioned, “Is it worse to be old or inactive? Yeah Manny is 40-years-old, but Thurman was off for two years without a fight and only had one fight back. Inactivity can make you look old.”

“Again whatever he is drinking, I want some of it. Whatever supplements he is taking, I want some of it. He’s a special combination of speed, power and tenaciousness, mental toughness.”

While bestowing credit towards the newly crowned WBA (Super) welterweight champion in this interview, there were a few shots fired (supplements reference) – albeit along with insightful analysis of the stylistic breakdown between the two fighters.

When it comes to wins, losses and the timing at when they occur, context matters right? In spite of the observations and insight from Atlas, this win for Pacquiao is arguably his greatest win due to the difference in age of his opponent.

Now if Thurman were to have emerged victorious over Pacquiao, would he have received the same measure of credit? More than likely no, but what if’s do not matter.

Although Thurman lost to a 40-year-old fighter, that fighter has a lot left in the tank.

“I really love the fans,” said Pacquiao in an interview after the fight.

Gracious in victory, the future Hall of Famer acknowledged his toughness and how he is blessed to come out with the victory.

“Thank you so much for coming here and witnessing the fight. I’m sure they were happy tonight because they saw a good fight. Even though Thurman lost, he did his best. He’s not an easy opponent. He’s a good boxer and he’s strong. I was just blessed tonight.”

What happens from here with Pacquiao? Writing and passing laws, debating bills and amendments currently in place, and other duties as senator. But what’s next boxing wise?

“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 (Errol) Spence-(Shawn) Porter fight on Sept. 28.”

Although Thurman wants a rematch, maybe a date with the winner of Spence and Porter awaits Pacquiao for a huge showdown at some point in 2020.

Or possibly the elusive bout with Terence Crawford – who’s been dying to test his skills against Pacquiao. Mikey Garcia or Danny Garcia are lucrative options as well.

And speaking of lucrative opportunities, the biggest bag would be against the money man himself Floyd Mayweather. Although the likelihood of Mayweather returning is slim to none, stranger things have happened. History indicates anything is possible, especially whenever hundreds of millions are at stake.

What’s next for Thurman? This past weekend, was the “One-Time” he suffered defeat in his professional career. And while displaying heart and a good showing for his fight against Pacquiao, he fell short and did not do the things he discussed leading up to the fight.

Talks of retiring Pacquiao and re-assuming his claim as top dog in the welterweight division.

But as a great sportsman, Thurman didn’t complain about the decision during his post-fight interview with FOX’s Heidi Androl. “One-Time” also wanted to make amends, requesting a rematch.

“I knew it was too close,” Thurman said. “You know, he got the knockdown, so he had momentum in round one. I wanna thank the fans, thank everyone for coming out. This was a beautiful night of boxing.”
“Manny Pacquiao is a truly great, legendary champion. He got the victory over me. I wish I had a little bit more output, to go toe-to-toe. I felt like he was getting a little bit tired, but he did have experience in the ring. My conditioning, my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao. It was a great night of boxing. I would love the rematch. It is what it is, baby.”

According to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, Thurman landed more overall punches than Pacquiao (210-of-571 to 195-of-686). CompuBox counted more power punches for Thurman (192-of-443 to 113-of-340) and more jabs for Pacquiao (82-of-346 to 18-of-128).

For Thurman, his team and his supporters, there’s good and bad he can take away from the fight. There’s definitely “lessons” learned he can employ progressing forward. Even Pacquiao stated this isn’t the last we’ll see of Thurman.

It would be a mistake to condemn Thurman and write him off due to this defeat. Pacquiao is a prime example that fighters can bounce back from defeat and achieve something greater.

The biggest lesson Thurman can employ moving forward, is to never underestimate the opponent. He may have prepared his body physically to the best shape possible given his circumstances, but there were other elements that may have needed more preparation.

From a strategic standpoint, standing toe-to-toe with Pacquiao is not a good thing. From a sweet science perspective in general, the key is to hit and not get hit.

Pick spots to attack and if you’re going to face a fighter with fast hands and reflexes, you may want to have your guard up.

Far too often, Thurman placed most of his weight on his front foot, leaning in and while having his left hand down, facing Pacquiao. That’s how he got knocked down in the first round, when Pacquiao leaped in and exploded on him.

Due to these key errors and lack of preparation, he got punched more often than he anticipated.
Speaking of preparation:

Can’t tell a grown man what to do, but gambling a night before the biggest moment of your professional career is probably not the wisest thing to do.

Everything from dismissing Pacquiao’s size, to T-Rex arm comments, to using this as a “get back fight” as opposed to the most crucial test of his career, to various tactical errors – indicate the lack of respect for the game and this defeat was reminder. Thurman was only cheating himself and this may be a valuable lesson that helps him down the line.

Another lesson is be prepared for what you ask for, because Thurman got what he asked for.

The Clearwater native sought out that one opportunity, that one bright moment, for that stage to show the world what he is made of. He relished the opportunity, to live out his dream and to test a legend. He savored the opportunity, to punch a senator. It just so happens, that senator punched back and he packed quite a punch.

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What’s Next For Keith Thurman?


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.

Adrien Broner

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.

Sergey Lipinets

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.

Yordenis Ugas

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.

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Antagonistic In Leadup To Fight With Pacquiao, Thruman Is Gracious In Defeat


By: Sean Crose

“I’ve always said I’m not afraid to let my 0 go, if you can beat me — beat me. @Manny Pacquiao beat me tonight. Hats off to the Senator on a great performance. #OneTime #PacThurman”

With that single tweet, former WBA world welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman admitted outright that he was bested by the legendary and aging Manny Pacquiao on Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although Pacquiao was the betting favorite walking into the bout, the consensus around the serious boxing world (those who exist in or regularly report on it) seemed to be that Thurman was too young, too strong, and too big for the 40 year old Pacquiao to get the better of. The senator from the Philippians proved everyone wrong.

Employing angles, speed, and impressive power, Pacquiao literally beat the defending champion up. Not that Thurman wasn’t in the fight. Although it looked like it might be a quick evening after Pacquiao introduced Thurman to the mat late in the first round, Thurman got his act together in the middle rounds, and gave the iconic Pacquiao a true run until the Filipino icon landed a thunderous body blow late in the fight, a shot that figuratively put the nail in the coffin. Although Thurman won the match on one of the judge’s cards (welcome to Las Vegas), Pacquiao was able to carry the night with a split decision victory.

Thurman was gracious in defeat right off the bat, and has continued to be. This stands in stark contrast to the role Thurman was playing in the leadup to the bout. Usually known as a free spirit of sorts, Thurman decided to embrace the role of heavy when it came to Pacquiao. Perhaps he was simply trying to hype the fight. Perhaps he truly didn’t think Pacquiao was all that great a fighter. Or perhaps he was trying to get inside Pacquiao’s head. If the last possibility mentioned here is what motivated Thurman pre-fight, it backfired on the man explosively. Saying you’re going to “crucify” a devout Christian may get in that individual’s head. If that individual knows how to funnel anger or frustration into effective aggression, however, you may find yourself in some trouble.

Thurman had said he was going to knock Pacquiao out, that Pacquiao had “T-Rex arms,” that he was going to retire him. Now people are writing off Thurman as a serious fighter. This is ridiculous, of course. Thurman is a world class talent who performed well and bravely, despite being clearly bested on Saturday. So long as he wasn’t too damaged by Pacquiao this past weekend, a successful career may still await. No matter what happens, no one will be able to argue that Thurman hasn’t acted like a mature adult since Pacquiao took his title. “Of course, I wanted to win the fight,” the Floridian said after the match. “I fell short, but it was a blessing and a lesson because we’ve gotta do a little bit more.”

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Three Takeaways: We’ll Never Doubt You Again, Manny Pacquiao


By Jonah Dylan

Saturday’s welterweight world title fight between Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao was, for my money, the best fight on the 2019 calendar so far. It was a true 50-50 fight that also had extremely high stakes, and with all the diluted A-side vs F-side fights we’ve seen so far this year, it was refreshing to see top guys actually fighting each other. Terence Crawford and Errol Spence are still miles away from each other, sure, but we’ll take what we can get.

It was a great fight. Thurman may not have been the same guy who beat Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, but he came to fight and didn’t make it easy for the 40-year-old Pacquiao. The legendary eight-division champion just had more firepower than the younger fighter, and he walked away with a well-deserved victory.

Aside from Pacquiao-Thurman, we had an easy title defense for Caleb Plant (see: A-side vs F-side), a shaky performance from Teofimo Lopez and lots of heavyweight action in London, so let’s get right into it.

1. Pacquiao-Thurman is probably the Fight of the Year

With respect to Hurd-Williams and Roman-Doheny, this was the best fight we’ve seen this year. To me, the knockdown in round one mattered a lot more than most people seem to think. Thurman was winning the round and had landed a few clean shots earlier in the round, and though it was a flash knockdown, he clearly fought a much more tactical fight early on because of it. Maybe it was a footwork problem, maybe he wasn’t prepared for Pacquiao’s power, but it changed the fight.

To me, this was the most anticipated fight of the year. You could make the argument for Canelo-Jacobs, but Canelo was the clear favorite in that fight. This was the only fight that was both a high-level fight and also a real toss-up. If you want to award FOTY based on craziness and drama, then you really have no choice but to give it to the Robert Talarek-Patryk Szymanski fight that featured 10 knockdowns in five rounds.

But if you’re factoring in what the fight meant and what it was for, it’s tough to pick against Pacquiao-Thurman. To me, you could make a case for Roman-Doheny (it was a title unification) but Saturday was the rare pay-per-view that actually lived up to the hype. Both guys didn’t let up, both guys had their moments and the right guy won in the end.

2. As good as Pacquiao looked, he shouldn’t go near Errol Spence

And I don’t think he will. Spence will meet Shawn Porter to unify welterweight belts on Sept. 28 and had probably planned to fight Thurman after as he tries to fully unify the division. He’ll want the Pacquiao fight, but my guess is there won’t be much enthusiasm from Pacquiao’s side.

He’s probably headed for a fight with former titleholder Danny Garcia, which I’m fine with. Pacquiao-Garcia would be a good fight and based on Saturday’s result, Pacquiao would probably be a slight favorite. A rematch with Thurman could also be in the cards, assuming Thurman stays active and fights high-level opponents.

After Saturday, you can make the case Pacquiao is better than pretty much anyone in the division save for Spence and Crawford. At this stage of his career, there’s no reason for him to go near either one of them. He’s already proven more than enough, and he doesn’t need to take dangerous fights just for the sake of it. Fight Thurman, or Garcia, or even Mikey Garcia, and people will line up to watch.

3. Is Teofimo Lopez ready for a world title fight?

It doesn’t really matter now, because he’s about to get one. After a clear but somewhat shaky win on Friday night, Lopez – the 2018 prospect of the year – will fight Richard Commey for the IBF lightweight world title later this year. Like Lopez, Commey is a big lightweight and will make for an intriguing matchup. Lopez showed some defensive flaws on Friday and will need to correct that before his next fight.

Top Rank’s plan is for the winner of Commey-Lopez to meet the winner of Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell for the undisputed title in 2020. Lopez against Lomachenko would be a fascinating matchup, given that Lopez can barely make 135 pounds and Lomachenko is clearly fighting above his natural weight class. There was a lot of intrigue in the fight, especially when you look at what Lopez had been doing to the guys in front of him.

People will start pumping the breaks on the Lopez train, but there’s no reason to write him off. Lomachenko would have and still would be favored in a fight, but that doesn’t mean Lopez isn’t a real contender. Everyone has a bad night, and Lopez’s bad night ended with his hand getting raised. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

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Pacquaio vs. Thurman Round by Round Results: Pacquiao Wins Close Decision


By: William Holmes

The legend Manny Pacquaio took on Keith Thurman in the main event of tonight’s Pay Per View offering for the WBA Welterweight title.

The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the venue for tonight’s fight, and was a star studded affair. Even Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in attendance for Pacquiao’s 15th fight at the MGM Grand.

Keith Thurman was the first man to enter the ring to a muted reaction from the crowd. Pacquiao entered second to a positive reaction from the crowd.

The national anthem of the Philippines was performed first by the First Word Choir. The national anthem of the United States was sung by Lorena Peril.

The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.

Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) vs. Keith Thurman (29-0); WBA Welterweight Title

Round 1:
The crowd was clearly pro Pacquiao during fighter introductions. Pacquiao comes rushing out towards Thurman. Thurman goes to the body early, Pacquiao answers with a body shot of his own. Thurman barely misses with a jab. Pacquiao is reaching a bit for his punches. Pacquiao lands a good two punch combination. Thurman answers with a three punch combination of his own. Thurman lands a clean straight right hand. Pacquiao flings out his straight left hand. Thurman lands a good counter left hook. Pacquiao lands a two punch combination. Thurman bounces his punches off the guard of Pacquiao. Thurman lands another good straight right hand. Thurman lands a left hook that knocks Pacquiao backwards, and Pacquiao answers and rushes forward and lands a two punch combination and sends Thurman down. Thurman gets up before the count of ten and the round ends.

10-8 Pacquiao

Round 2:

Thurman looks recovered from the earlier knockdown. Thurman throws to the body of Pacquiao. Lots of feints early on. Pacquiao with a quick jab. Thurman lands a good straight right and they both exchange. Pacquiao lands a good straight left. Pacquiao pressing on Thurman. Pacquiao is on the attack. Thurman lands a good jab on Pacquiao. Thurman quickly switched to southpaw. Pacquiao with a good lead right hook. Pacquiao with a three punch combination that is partially blocked. Pacquiao lands a good straight left. Pacquiao with a hard three punch combination. Pacquiao waives Thurman forward. Pacquiao mixing up his combinations to the body and head.
10-9 Pacquiao, 20-17 Pacquiao

Round 3:
Thurman active with his jab early on. Thurman is pressing the action early. Pacquiao still looks fast on his feet despite his age. Pacquiao throws to the body of Thurman. Thurman has Pacquiao back against the ropes. Pacquiao with a quick straight left. Pacquiao flicks out two quick jabs. Pacquiao with a good lead right hook. Good body shot by Thurman. Pacquiao covers up by the ropes. Throws out two quick combinations. Pacquiao is inviting Thurman on the inside. Thurman has a two punch combo blocked but Thurman than goes to the body. Pacquiao lands a combination upstairs. The body shots of Thurman appear to be bothering Pacquiao.
10-9 Pacquiao, 30-26 Pacquiao

Round 4:
Thurman has Pacquiao backing up early and he attacks to the body. Pacquiao answers with two good body shots of his own. Thurman had Pacquiao by the ropes and lands some good shots to the body. Thurman lands another good hook to the body. Pacquiao lands two good hooks to the body of his own. Thurman lands to the body of Pacquiao again. Pacquiao comes forward and lands a two punch combo to the head. Pacquiao landing some good shots in the final minute of the round. Pacquiao looks like he is willing to exchange blows with Thurman. Thurman lands a hard left hook. Pacquiao with a good lead left cross. Good close round.
10-9 Thurman, 39-36 Pacquiao

Round 5:
Thurman lands two punches early on. Pacquiao looks a little tired. Pacquiao lands a lead right hook. Pacquiao keeps his jab in the face of Thurman. Thurman with some good body shots. Thurman lands two good right hooks on Pacquiao. Pacquiao with a good crisp jab on Thurman. Thurman lands another good straight right hand. Thurman with a good body head combination. Pacquiao lands two hooks to the body. Thurman’s nose is bleeding. Thurman lands a looping right hook followed by a jab. They exchange in the middle. Pacquiao lands some good combos in the middle of the ring. Thurman is bringing a lot of pressure on Pacquiao. Thurman flicks out several clean jabs. Pacquiao ending the round strong.
10-9 Pacquiao; 49-45 Pacquiao

Round 6:
Thurman pressing forward to start. Thurman lands some good body shots with some jabs. Thurman lands a good two punch combination. Thurman sticks another jab in the face of Pacquiao. Thurman gets tagged with a straight left. Pacquiao with three consecutive jabs. Thurman lands another jab. Good straight right by Thurman. Thurman is having a very good round. Thurman lands another good shot to the body. Pacquiao lead right hook shakes Thurman, but Thurman lands another good straight right. Thurman may have Pacquiao stunned a bit at the end of the round.
10-9 Thurman, 58-55 Pacquiao

Round 7:
Thurman comes out firing at the start of the round with combinations to the body and head. Thurman is keeping the pressure on Pacquiao. Pacquiao landed a good straight left hand. Thurman does well when he mixes up his combinations to the body. Thurman lands a good straight right hand. Thurman lands another good counter right. Pacquiao with a lead right hook followed by a jab. Thurman lands another good jab on Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a straight left but Thurman answers with a good two punch combo. Thurman lands a hard left hook straight right hand. Thurman is light on his feet and circling away from Pacquiao. Thurman is having another very good round. Pacquiao lands a good right uppercut that momentarily slows Thurman. Pacquiao felt Thurman’s power in this round.
10-9 Thurman, 67-65 Pacquiao

Round 8:
Thurman looks confident and is pressing forward. Thurman misses with a two punch combo. Pacquiao lands a good straight left then moves out of the way. Pacquiao pressing the action now. Pacquiao lands two shots to the body on a retreating Thurman. Thurman lands to the body and Pacquiao answers upstairs. Thurman lands another jab on Pacquiao’s face. Pacquiao is slowing down. They have had some fierce exchanges so far. Pacquiao lands a good straight left by the ropes. Pacquiao landed a good left hook. Pacquiao is looking for his lead right hook. Thyurman lands a good short right upstairs. Thurman ended the round strong.
10-9 Thurman, 76-75 Pacquiao

Round 9:
This fight is turning in Thurman’s favor. Pacquiao showing good upper body movement early on. Thurman is keeping his jab in the face of Pacquiao. Thurman lands a straight right hand. Thurman’s body work may be paying off. Pacquiao looks tentative to throw. Thurman landed three straight jabs. The pace is favoring Thurman. Pacquiao lands a lead right hook. Pacquiao’s punches appear to have lost some zap. Thurman lands a right to the body of Pacquiao. Thurman lands a good combination on Pacquiao. Pacquiao looks like he is fading.
10-9 Thurman; 85-85

Round 10:
The announcers appear to think Pacquiao is ahead. Thurman comes out aggressive and lands several hard hooks. Thurman lands another combination upstairs. Thurman lands another good combination on Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a combination that ended with a right hook. Pacquiao with a left to the body. Pacquiao with a good start to this round. Pacquiao lands a good hook to the body and Thurman appears to be hurt. Thurman is holding on. Looks like a body shot hurt Thurman. Pacquiao with another good combination. Thurman lands a good left hook right hook combination. This is a good round.
10-9 Pacquiao; 95-94 Pacquiao

Round 11:
This is a close fight. Thurman comes out aggressive on Pacquiao. Pacquiao looks a little fresher. Thurman lands a good straight right hand. Pacquiao with a good two punch combination to the body. Pacquiao with another good left hook to the body. Thurman is landing to the head of Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a good jab. Thurman landed a vicious straight right hand on Pacquiao’s chin. Thurman landed a good lead left hook. Pacquiao lands a good short right hook. Thurman landed a good straight right hand, Pacquiao answers with a short combination.
10-9 Thurman, 104-104

Round 12:

Both corners implored their fighters they need to win this round. Thurman comes forward and lands some short shots. Thurman lands a straight right, Pacquiao answers with a check right hook. They both land at the same time. Pacquiao flicks out his jab. Pacquiao lands a left uppercut, followed by a two punch combination. Pacquiao lands a good straight left hand. Thurman had Pacquiao backing up against the ropes, and Pacquiao fights out of it. Thurman with a right uppercut to the body. Pacquiao landed a good jab to Thurman’s nose. Thurman with a good right hook. Thurman landed a good straight. Pacquiao lands a jab followed by a right cross.
Another very close round. 10-9 Pacquiao. 114-113 Pacquiao by Boxing Insider.

TThis was a great all action fight. The official scorecard was 114-113 Thurman, 115-112 Pacquiao, 115-112 Pacquiao.

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Pacquiao vs. Thurman Undercard Results: Ugas, Nery, and Lipinets Win


By: William Holmes

The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Pay Per View (PPV) Offering by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

The attendance in the arena was still sparse as the televised portion of the pay per view started. A portion of the undercard was televised on Fox and featured a stoppage win by Caleb Plant over Irish Mike Lee.

The opening bout of the pay per view was between Juan Carlos Payano (21-2) and Luis Nery (29-0) in the bantamweight division.

Both boxers fought out of a southpaw stance, and Payano was winning the early rounds and nearly doubled the output of Nery. Nery was short with his punches going into the third round, but had a strong fourth round and appeared to be gaining confidence.

Nery continued to stalk Payano in the middle rounds and remained the aggressor. Payano was still landing some good shots, but Nery did not appear to be bothered by the punches of Payano.

Nery turned the punch output in his favor by the seventh round and landed some hard blows on Payano by the ropes. Nery continued to land the harder punches and keep Payano on the defensive in the eighth round.

The end of the fight came in the ninth round when Nery landed a left hook to the body that crumbled Payano. Payano was unable to get up by the count of ten and Nery scored an impressive body shot knockout.

Nery wins by knockout at 1:43 of the ninth round.

The next bout was between Sergey Lipinets (15-1) and last minute replacement Jayar Inson (18-2) in the welterweight division.

Lipinets was preparing to face John Molina Jr., but he pulled out three days ago and Lipinets had to adjust his strategy for a southpaw on short notice.

Inson landed two straight lefts early in the first round, but that may have been the only clean punches he landed in the entire night.

Lipinets applied pressure in the opening round and continued that pressure into the second round. Lipinets landed a beautiful left hook on Inson that sent him falling flat on his face.

Inson got up before the count of ten, but he looked to be in bad shape and the referee waived off the fight.

Lipinets wins by TKO at 0:57 of the second round.

The final fight on the undercard was between Yordenis Ugas (23-4) and Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1) in the welterweight division.

Ugas started off strong and crisp counters on the forward moving Figueroa. Ugas scored a knockdown when a punch from him knocked Figueroa backwards with only the ropes to keep him up, scoring Ugas a knockdown.

Ugas continued to land heavy body shots on Figueroa in the second round, and was able to wither the pressure of Figueroa. Ugas out muscled Figueroa, and by the fourth round had outlanded him 62-42. Figueroa had a cut above his eye checked out by the doctor but was allowed to continue.

Ugas lost a point in the fifth round for holding onto Figueroa, and Figueroa had a better round. But Ugas was able to land some hard straight right hands on Figueroa when his back was against the corner in the sixth and reclaim momentum of the fight.

Ugas had an effective body attack in the seventh and eighth rounds, but was warned for a low blow in the eighth.

Figueroa simply was not able to mount an effective offense in the ninth and tenth rounds, as Ugas had him time countered.

Ugas wins the decision with scores of 119-107 on all three scorecards.

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Contradictions, Controversy and Predictions: Pacquiao vs. Thurman


By: Kirk Jackson

Fight time is here. The moment has arrived for the (Regular) WBA welterweight champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao (61-2-7, 39 KO’s) to take on (Super) WBA welterweight champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to destroy a legend,” Thurman told reporters ahead of Saturday’s fight. “It is my time. This is one time. Manny Pacquiao ain’t doing nothing to me, baby.”

Pacquiao has far grown accustomed to extravagant events of this magnitude. “For me nothing is personal,” Pacquiao said.

“Our job is to fight. He has to prove something, and I have to prove something. It’s easy to say things. But it’s not so easy to do it in the ring.”

“I am so prepared for this fight. This was one of the best training camps that we’ve had and the best conditioning, so it’s all set for tomorrow,” said Pacquiao.

One of the high-profile fights of the year, highly anticipated bout between Thurman and Pacquiao is predicted to produce fireworks.

This is the likely predicted result, in spite of who wins – as each fighter possesses fistic dynamite in their respective hands. Both Thurman and Pacquiao have the power, speed and explosiveness to produce what fans came to see; the dramatic ending, the knock-out.

Spectators beware however, what we see on paper does not always translate into reality. In spite of the false narratives projected by many media outlets, Pacquiao is not the same fighter he was 10 years ago. He is not the same fighter he was five years ago.

Same statements, albeit different context, apply to Thurman. Based on his last performance against rugged journeyman Josesito Lopez, it’s obvious “One-Time” isn’t the same fighter we’re accustomed to seeing after his 22-month long lay-off.

Prior to the lengthy exile, Thurman went through an impressive run from March of 2015 through March of 2017, defeating fellow world champions Robert Guerrero, Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.

This particular fight features a combination of speed, power and precision. This particular match-up also poses a series of questions – most of which will be answered this Saturday.

Contradictions:

What makes this fight so intriguing, is this perception Manny Pacquiao seemingly drank from the fountain of youth, is rejuvenated and in position for recognition as one of the premier welterweights in 2019.

Which would be a remarkable feat, not only considering his age, but the accumulation of wear and tear on his body as a professional fighter for more than 20 years.

The question is with Pacquiao still possessing these great physical attributes – sharp, quickness with his hands, swiftness with his feet and heightened ring intellect and experience.

Is the senator still considered elite? Because not too long ago, the narrative upon losing to Mayweather, was Pacquiao is past his prime and no longer a top fighter. The same sentiments were echoed when Pacquiao suffered defeat against Jeff Horn, dating back almost two years to the date.

If he is washed or significantly passed his prime as a fighter, that may be solid reasoning of former Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum and current trainer Freddie Roach, to keep Pacquiao away from Terence Crawford, when they were stablemates. But that’s another story for another day.

As Thurman briefly mentioned in the build-up to this fight, his goal is to show the world Pacquiao is no longer elite and he intends to retire the senator. Thurman also questions if he is able to defeat Pacquiao, will he get credit, or will critics and fans suggest Pacquiao is old and washed up?

We have inconsistency ladies and gentlemen. But at the same token, Thurman is not without his contradictory statements leading up to the fight.

Thurman, who was once considered the hungry lion, in hunt of the huge score, the salivating prize of preyed upon fighters and earned rewards, is now the hunted.

As time passes, positions change, the evolution as a fighter and as a man or figure inside/outside the profession transpires and the energy and motives also shift. What was said then, what was regarded as in the past, is not the same sentiment echoed in the present.

Now Thurman has an understanding like Sugar Ray Leonard, like Floyd Mayweather and grasps understanding of building certain fights and reaching plateaus.

Controversy:

The issue with Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) testing and the lack thereof.

As first reported by BoxingScene.com, audiences were informed Thurman and Pacquiao e will be subject to testing standards limited to that provided by Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Original plans to secure the services of VADA were called off for reasons that have yet to be explained and unfortunately, a proper adjustment could not be applied for rectifying the matter and this dates back to four weeks prior to Saturday night.

VADA representatives declined further comment beyond confirming that they are not involved in any aspect of the July 20 series of bouts.

Pacquiao found himself at the forefront of a fiery, controversial, debate regarding drug testing as the issue was first raised by Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the demand grew for a super fight featuring the two biggest stars in boxing.

Eventually, the opposing sides came together to score one of the most lucrative sporting events in history. But not without drug testing in place. Their fight came with random testing, provided by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); whose services Mayweather used for each of his fights beginning in 2010 against Shane Mosley and continued throughout the rest of his career.

While Pacquiao never tested positive for a banned substance, a cloud of suspicion may linger for some observers of boxing regarding some of his exploits.

VADA provided its services for Pacquiao’s last ring appearance, a 12-round win over Adrien Broner earlier this year in January, also at MGM Grand. An interesting note, Broner alleged that he had yet to be tested by late December, less than a month out from the January 19 Showtime PPV event.

It’ll be interesting to see if this issue is swept under the rug upon conclusion of this event.

Predictions:

As we all know, fights are not fought or won on paper. Styles make fights, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – insert any cliché applicable.

The variables for this fight, as with any fight, will shape the outcome of this match. For Pacquiao, it may be the years of valuable experience, awkward angles, uniqueness in style and quick combinations that hold serve in victory for the future Hall of Famer.

Or the variables may factor in favor of Thurman; explosive punching power, graceful lateral movement, youthfulness (in comparison), high level of ring intellect, desire to secure and legitimize his legacy as a tremendous champion.

Thurman eluded to weaknesses and deficiencies in Pacquiao’s style, during their initial press tour run in Los Angeles, a few months back.

“Manny Pacquiao is beatable. He’s been beaten before in his career. He’s a fan favorite and a legend. For me his boxing tactics are predictable. He fights in spurts and you have to take advantage of that. You have to be respectful of his power. But I believe my movement, athleticism and ring knowledge will be able to present him something he’s not seen in all his years of boxing.”

Keep in mind, Thurman stated on many occasions he wants to retire Pacquiao and end the senator’s boxing career in his first Pay-Per-View event similar to what Pacquiao did against a fellow legend in one of his more highly publicized PPV appearances.

However. I do not foresee demolition comparable to what Pacquiao dished out to Oscar De La Hoya back in 2008, as De La Hoya was a walking skeleton limping into that mismatch.

Main difference, is Pacquiao takes training more seriously in comparison to most fighters and entering this fight, Pacquiao looked relatively good against the younger fighter Broner.

De La Hoya on the other end, got beat up by a much smaller and slightly younger Stevie Forbes, leading into the Pacquiao bout.

Thurman has the speed, athleticism, coordination and arm reach to keep Pacquiao at the end of his punches.

He has the ability to contain Pacquiao into a proper range to appropriately measure distance. May not be the most exciting tactics, but the key for Thurman is to win by any means.

Range control and discipline will be key points for Thurman’s route to success. If he wants to win, he cannot engage unnecessarily and he must be able to intelligently pick his punches and pick his spots for attack. He must maintain defensive focus and be wary of punches coming from any angle.

Even former opponent Floyd Mayweather mentioned, Pacquiao likes to set traps. As Mayweather, Erik Morales to a degree and Juan Manuel Marquez also displayed, you can control Pacquiao with a stiff, active jab. This will be key for Thurman.

For the “Pac-Man,” he must get his shots off first consistently for maximum effect. He must be the one pressing forward, dictating the pace, and controlling the action. Controlled unpredictability is his ally – as odd as that sounds. Unpredictability as far as where the punches come from when he start cranking his engine and letting his hands fly.

By controlling the action and initiating the sequences of engagement, that helps establish a consistent internal rhythm for Pacquiao. As Luis Collazo, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and a few other former opponents of “One-Time” exploited, Pacquiao should target Thurman’s body.

Pacquiao landed many purposeful punches to Broner’s body in his last outing and he would be best served continuing the trend Saturday night.

As the naturally smaller, older fighter, it’s important to wear down the bigger guy, sapping his strength and stamina as rounds wear on. Because of his vast experience, Pacquiao possesses certain tools to utilize in dire situations.

Pacquiao is best served causing that tension, creating uncertainty for Thurman to help further his goal of obtaining victory. Pacquiao will still have to operate under a modicum of defensive responsibility so that he’s not severely countered or clipped coming in. As great as he is, defense and slickness isn’t a strong suit for Pacquiao.

As we know, anything can happen with boxing. One punch can determine the outcome and in spite of the betting lines changing leading up to the fight in favor of Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, the smarter choice may be Keith “One-Time” Thurman via decision.

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Often Accused Of Disinterest, A Determined Thurman Emerges From Training


By: Sean Crose

The training camp of a serious boxer is an extraordinary thing. Perhaps the most striking aspect of a professional fighter preparing for his or her next match is the sense of repetition one gets from the photos, interviews and videos of camp life. As Tyson Fury recently indicated, a fighter must embrace the mundane in order to be properly prepared once the opening bell rings. And so fans, if they’re so inclined, can look at, watch, or read about their favorite fighters as these individuals get physically and mentally ready for their next matches by running daily, doing reps, doing more reps, and sparring round after round after round.

There is little doubt that the monotony of it all must get grueling. Manny Pacquiao recently told Sporting News that a fighter should eat the same kinds of food throughout camp. In other words, even mealtime is a repetitive activity for the fighter in training. Pacquiao knows well of what he speaks. At forty, he’s been through enough training camps to fill two full careers…and he’s just wrapped up another one at the age of forty. For Pacquiao will be facing WBA world welterweight champ Keith Thurman this Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Vegas in a bout that will be aired live on Fox Pay Per View.

Unlike Pacquiao, Thurman isn’t an aging lion. In fact, the Florida native is a decade younger than the Filipino icon. There’s other differences to be found between these two men. One is a high ranking politician. The other, a free spirit seemingly influenced by 60s American counterculture. One is humble. The other, flashy. Perhaps most tellingly, however, one has the reputation for being the picture of dedication. The other, fairly or not, has earned a reputation for sometimes being uninterested in the sport of boxing, the profession which requires so much discipline. At the moment, however, Thurman has come across as focused in the leadup to this weekend, extremely so.

Watching footage of the man in camp for the Pacquiao fight, one can’t help but feel Thurman is buckling down, embracing the grueling repetition, and truly pushing himself through the harsh monotony of a serious training regimen. Whether he’s tossing heavy balls, on an exercise bike or whacking the pads, Thurman does not appear to be a man only half interested in his craft. Perhaps his latest scare, a near shocking stoppage loss at the gloved hands of Josesito Lopez last January, led to a reinvigorated view of the fight game. Or perhaps the drive has always been there, in spite of long absences from the ring. He did get married and need to heal from an injury, after all.

The one near certainty is that Thurman will step into the ring to face Pacquiao on Saturday thoroughly prepared. He’s been keenly tuned in to this fight, even going so far as living with his aunt during camp (it should be noted she’s also his strength and conditioning coach, one with an esteemed background, at that). Whether the fire will remain in Thurman’s belly after the weekend remains to be seen.

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Fox Sports PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs Thurman, Ugas vs. Figueroa Jr.


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site of a Fox Sports Pay Per View Offering. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions is the lead promoter on the fight card as the Filipino Legend Manny Pacquiao takes on current undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman in the main event of the night.

The co-main event will be a WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator between Yordenis Ugas and Omar Figueroa Jr. Other televised fights on the pay per view telecast include a welterweight bout between Sergey Lipinets and John Molina Jr., as well as a bantamweight fight between Luis Nery and Juan Carlos Payano.

Fox will be televising some fights before the start of the televised pay per view. The main fight on the Fox portion of Saturday’s card is an IBF Super Middleweight Title Fight between Caleb Plan and Irish Mike Lee.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.

Yordenis Ugas (23-4) vs. Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1); Welterweights

This is an intriguing fight between two boxers who were once considered by many to be shoe in future champions, but have since lost a bit of their luster.

Yordenis Ugas was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics for Cuba, but has suffered four losses since turning pro, many against fighters he should have beaten. Figueroa turned professional at the age of 18 and is currently undefeated, but hand injuries have hindered the progress of his career. He has only fought twice since 2016.

Ugas has eleven stoppages on his record while Figueroa has nineteen. Ugas is thirty three years old and is in the tail end of his athletic prime, Figueroa is twenty nine years old and is still in the middle of his athletic prime. Ugas will have a one and a half inch height advantage while Figueroa will have a four inch reach advantage.

Ugas has been quite active the past three years. He fought once in 2019, three times in 2018, and three times in 2017. Figueroa, as stated earlier, fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, once in 2017 and zero times in 2016.

Ugas has a significant edge in amateur experience. He’s a former world champion as an amateur and won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. Figueroa turned pro at the age of eighteen and does not have the amateur accolades of Figueroa.

Ugas has defeated the likes of Ray Robinson, Thomas Dulorme, Bryant Perrella, and Jamal James. His losses were to Shawn Porter, Amir Imam, Emanuel Robles, and Johnny Garcia.

Figueroa has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero, Antonio DeMarco, Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada, and Nihito Arakawa.

Ugas has four losses on his record, but has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights, including a very close decision loss to Shawn Porter.

Figueroa’s lack of activity will hurt him in the ring against a veteran that has been surging as of late. This will be a close fight, but this writer expects Ugas to pull away in the later rounds.

Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) vs. Keith Thurman (29-0); WBA Welterweight Title

Manny Pacquiao looked sensational in his last fight against Adrien Broner, but he was fighting an opponent who is known to come up short in big fights and has recently seemed reluctant to let go of his hands.

Keith Thurman does not have that reputation. Thurman is ten years younger than Pacquiao and will have a two inch height and reach advantage. Pacquiao has thirty nine knockouts in his career for a percentage of 56%, but Thurman has twenty two knockouts in his career for a percentage of 73%.

Thurman also has an edge in amateur experience. He went 101-6 as an amateur and was a US National Bronze Medalist. As most already know, Pacquiao turned professional as a teenager.

Inactivity should be of some concern to Keith Thurman. He only fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, and once in 2017 and once in 2016. Pacquiao fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017 but this will be his second fight in 2019. It appears Pacquiao may try to fight three times in 2019.

Pacquiao’s list of defeated opponents is extremely impressive. He has defeated the likes of Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, David Diaz, Marco Antonio Barrera, Jorge Solis, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, and Lehlo Ledwaba.

Some of his losses were to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley Jr., and a disputed loss to Jeff Horn.

Keith Thurman has defeated the likes of Josesito Lopez, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Luis Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Julio Diaz, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chaves, Jan Zaveck, and Carlos Quintana.

However, Thurman looked a little rusty in his last fight against Josesito Lopez.

Pacquiao looks to be in incredible shape and he appears to be determined to prove he’s still a viable threat in the welterweight division. Keith Thurman could have used one more warm up fight before taking on Pacquiao, because Pacquiao doesn’t appear to have lost as much as some say he has.

Look for Pacquiao to win a close and possibly disputed decision. A fight with Errol Spence Jr. could be next.

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Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman: Who Has More To Lose?


By: Hans Themistode

There is a lot on the line for Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman isn’t there? These two will square off on July 20th, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A win for either man could propel each of their careers to new heights, while a loss would be detrimental.

That seems like a mouthful for both of these fighters. In the case of Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) the notion of him coming up short in his showdown with Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) as a death nail in his proverbial coffin seems like a stretch. With 70 pro fights under his belt, what more does he have to prove? Nothing, to be quite frank.

The Filipino born star, is boxings first and only eight division world champion. Listing all of his accomplishments would take an absorbent amount of time. The best way to sum up the career of the fighter nicknamed Pac-Man is simple. He is an all-time great fighter.

At one point, much like Pacquiao, Thurman was considered not just the best fighter at the Welterweight division, but one of the very best fighters in the world. Injuries and long spells of inactivity have wiped Thurman away from those conversations. Still, when the undefeated WBA Welterweight champion is fully motivated, he can defeat anyone.

Both of these men have plenty to gain from winning this contest, but it is Thurman who has even more to lose.

At the age of 40, Pacquiao is thought to have lost a step or two. Sure he looked terrific in defeating Adrien Broner in his last ring appearance but, Broner has never quite lived up to the hype that had once surrounded his career. What would a loss at the hands of Thurman mean for Pac-Man?

Pacquiao is not a fighter that is looking to preserve a perfect record. His resume has already been tainted with losses, albeit to other all-time great fighters as well. Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez Erik Morales and Tim Bradley Jr (although highly controversial) are losses that are plastered across his record. Would a loss this Saturday night against Keith Thurman, severely damage his legacy? The answer is no.

At the age of 40, Pacquiao is still one of the elite fighters currently in the sport of boxing. You can hear the excuses already can’t you? Thurman was too big, too strong and too young for the much older Pacquiao who is 10 years his senior. Although you can expect Pacquiao too make no excuses in the event that he loses, he will undoubtedly and deservingly so receive a pass.

Should Thurman end up on the losing side of their encounter however, you can expect his critics to come out in droves.

Typically a fighters prime is consider to be in their late 20s to about their early 30s. Thurman is right smack in the middle of his. The WBA champion also has several physical advantages including height and reach. With so much already in his favor, a loss would effectively eliminate Thurman from any discussions as the best at his weight class. Let’s also not forget that at just the age of 30, Thurman is expected to do more in his career going forward. Pac-Man on the other hand is at the end of his.

Let’s put it this way. With a win, Manny Pacquiao is a lock for the hall of fame, with a loss, Pacquiao is still a lock for the hall of fame. He has done everything that you can think of in the sport of boxing. For Thurman this just isn’t the case. Win, lose or draw he is no lock for the hall when it is all said and done, but he would be banging on the door with a victory come Saturday night.

We have seen Pacquiao bounce back from devastating losses before. At this point, a loss for Thurman would spell the end for him as a championship threat and force in the division.

Thurman goes by the ring alias “One Time.” Come Saturday night, if he fails to defeat Manny Pacquiao, his career will go down the drain in “No Time.”

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