IN MORE THAN two decades of a Hall-of-Fame career, Filipino boxing superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has seen and done it all. But his upcoming fight against American Keith “One Time” Thurman carries significance of its own, hence the need to look at it with a keen eye, this according to one local fight analyst.
To take the Las Vegas ring anew on July 21, Manila time, 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2) looks to add Mr. Thurman (29-0-1) to his impressive list of conquered and seize the World Boxing Association welterweight title, in itself a solid achievement considering where he is now in his career, said fight analyst Nissi Icasiano.
“If at 40 years old, Pacquiao can engineer a convincing win over Thurman, a world champion who is bigger, stronger and 10 years his junior, it will become arguably the most significant win of his career,” said Mr. Nissi Icasiano when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts on the Pacquiao-Thurman fight happening at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Nevada.
“I’m not implying Thurman is a better fighter than Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto or any of the other Hall-of-Famers Pacquiao has defeated in his illustrious career. What I am saying is that under these circumstances with the age and size disadvantages, Pacquiao won’t have a more impressive victory on his resume,” the analyst added.
Both Messrs. Pacquiao and Thurman are currently on a roll heading into the clash, making the scheduled 12-round title fight, Mr. Icasiano said, a logical and exciting collision, but making the American a very dangerous opponent as well for the Filipino legend, who is also a sitting senator of the republic.
“Thurman has always been a thoughtful and elegant pugilist who is eager to show his technical expertise in the ring. I describe his style as a boxer-puncher. He has the ability to box while possessing a one-punch knockout power,” Mr. Icasiano said of WBA champion Thurman.
“Thurman will look to use his size and strength as an advantage. In particular, he’ll look to keep Pacquiao at distance with his jab and dictate where the action takes place in the ring,” the analyst added.
That being said, Mr. Icasiano said Mr. Pacquiao must be in his utmost best and play his cards correctly, lest he find himself at the raw end of the deal.
“In his last loss to Jeff Horn [in 2017], Pacquiao dropped a decision because Horn used his size to become the aggressor in the fight.,” the analyst said.
“Meanwhile, Pacquiao has made a career out of breaking down fighters who are often bigger, stronger and younger than he is. Since 2013, Pacquiao won fights convincingly by throwing significantly higher percentages of power punches, and he’ll look to take a similar approach against Thurman. He’ll be forward-moving and will try to slip inside, where height and reach don’t have a significant impact. Pacquiao should avoid being reckless against Thurman,” Mr. Icasiano added. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo