Some 24 years after first lacing up the gloves as a professional, ageless welterweight Manny Pacquiao once again turned back the hands of time against a younger challenger.
It seemed inactivity has caught up with victim Keith Thurman who struggled to cope with the raiding tactics of a man who will turn 41 in December. That’s when he is touted to next box against a fresher, perceivably hungrier, opponent in the form of Amir Khan. Khan initially viewed the fight as a done deal. Pacquiao now says otherwise.
Pacquiao was the deserved winner against Thurman, although the scoring after round five would suggest the Floridian had worked out the style issues to a certain degree. That has prompted some to call for a rematch. Given the PBC ecosystem at 147 pounds, one of Errol Spence Jr, Shawn Porter or Danny Garcia will fancy getting themselves into the mix. That’s not to mention the tantalising prospect of Terence Crawford crossing the street from ESPN and Top Rank should an agreement be made. Thurman, meanwhile, is an esoteric individual who might decide never to box again.
“You get blessings & lessons in life & Saturday offered both,” Thurman tweeted out after the fight. “I’ll be back on top soon. Manny: Let’s give em that rematch & another FOTY!”
The bout itself was an excellent, high-level encounter but not Fight of the Year material as suggested by some. One could see why Thurman would chase a rematch though, as Pacquaio continues to generate cash and interest in equal measure.
Undercard “attraction” Omar Figueroa is a bit of a car crash fighter at present. The chubby brawler did not arrive in any reasonable shape, he hadn’t even got a trainer, but showed that his chin is still adept enough to take punishment for the 12-round duration. All the usual boxes ticked then. Hopefully his brother Brandon -a talented 19-0 super-bantamweight- doesn’t follow suit.
Omar’s conqueror on the night, Yordenis Ugas, has pushed his own career in a different direction. Four losses on the slate do not tell the Cuban’s story. A recent reverse to Shawn Porter brought him plenty of credit in defeat, if not the WBC welterweight title. More opportunities will rightly come Ugas’ way after this one-sided win.
In the best of the rest, Luis Nery stopped veteran southpaw Juan Carlos Payano in the ninth-round after landing a brutal body shot that left Payano prone on the canvas for several seconds.
Even though the right man got the decision, the official scores in favour of Efe Ajagba were probably a harsh reflection of the efforts exerted by fellow-unbeaten heavyweight Ali Demirezen.
Sergey Lipinets scored a routine second-round KO over Jayar Inson. Jay Nady called it off too swiftly, but the writing was on the wall for Inson.
11-0 welterweight Peter Dobson could be one to watch. The 29-year-old New Yorker made up for lost time by putting his unbeaten record on the line against 16-0 Emmanuel Medina. Dobson will go scuttling up the rankings after starching Medina in the fifth.