Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman: Analysis and Bold Prediction

Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman are ready to fight (Photo: Stephanie Trapp – TGB Promotions)

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By: Dennis Guillermo

Las Vegas – In a few hours Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0) finally gets his chance to add the legendary Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (61-7-2) to his list of conquered foes. It would easily be the most precious feather in his cap.

Thurman has said a lot of things leading up to this fight; from hurling insults to singing Pacquiao’s praises all in the same sentence. Round zero goes to the WBA super champion. He won the verbal battle, for sure, and it’s safe to say he’s gotten under Pacquiao’s skin more than one time (pun intended). But can he capitalize on that proverbial point and win the war?

Styles make fights, as the old boxing adage says. If that holds true, this has the makings of being one for the books.

Thurman obviously has the youth, length and size advantage. Beyond that, he’s an intelligent fighter. Other than playing the heel and drumming up interest for the benefit of his cut of the pay-per-view money, Thurman only opened his mouth to set up the type of fight he wants on fight night.

Thurman’s smack talk was the invitation for Pacquiao to see red and come at him like a bull in the ring. Thurman will dance like a matador and snipe at a distance, hoping to catch the Filipino boxing legend at least one time and knock him out. And if he successfully does that, then he can say “I told you so”. Because a devastating knockout loss similar to the one he suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight pretty much guarantees that the 40-year-old Pacquiao is done with boxing.

There are several obstacles, however for Thurman to overcome. First, is the fact that he woke up the sleeping killer lion in Pacquiao. He did get what he wanted by getting inside Pacquiao’s head, but in return, he also motivated and angered his opponent into the best shape he’s been in the last ten years. Can he handle this monster, especially since he’s never faced one as bad as this ever before? On top of that, he hasn’t been in a stage quite like this big either. How will Thurman handle the pressure from the moment coupled with the pressure from his relentless opponent?

Thurman will try to time Pacquiao. He’ll swing for the fences to get that KO win. But when he fails, those wild swings and flat feet will get him in all kinds of trouble Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto know all too well about. He, in turn, can end up with his butt and Fashionova trunks on the canvas.

Another is the fact that Thurman still needs to shake off some rust and prove his injuries are a thing of the past. If he comes in as he did against Josesito Lopez in his return fight after almost a two-year layoff, Pacquiao will finish him.

If Pacquiao stays patient and sticks to their game plan, he can catch Thurman in the later rounds or score a unanimous decision. If he jumps in like a bull, he can get hurt and either knocked out or compromised for the rest of the fight and lose by decision. And if he can’t have success early on, I can see how Thurman can get on his skates to avoid serious damage and turn it into a boxing match.

All things considered, I’m going with Pacquiao for the 7th round TKO win. Pacquiao’s only legitimate losses since he broke through in the US were to legends. Thurman is a great fighter, don’t get me wrong, but he’s far from being considered a legend. Thurman hasn’t seen Pacquiao in the ring before unlike Marquez, who fought him 36 rounds prior to finally figuring out how to knock him out. Pacquiao is determined and in the best shape I’ve seen him in almost a decade. His speed, awkwardness, combinations, and explosiveness will get to Thurman. The old man will get to teach his lesson.

Dennis can be reached at dennisguillermo2@yahoo.com

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