Pacquiao – Thurman: Who You Got?

This Sunday, the legendary Manny Pacquiao trades punches with Keith Thurman for boxing’s WBA welterweight crown. This will be the year’s biggest boxing extravaganza featuring the legendary and only 8-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, against an undefeated champion in his own right, Keith Thurman.

The match promises to be an exciting one, with boxing aficionados divided right down the middle in their fight predictions. Betting stalls in Las Vegas have perked up in the last few days, a testament to the immense popularity of both fighters. They will be fighting to unify the WBA world welterweight division, considered the most dangerous, most crowded division in boxing.

The sentimental favorite will of course be Manny Pacquiao, the grizzled 40-year old star whose rags-to-riches story is one for the movies. Despite his age, he remains deadly with his blazing hand-speed, his power, his uncanny angles of attack, his smooth lateral movement, his aggressiveness, and his vast experience. His clean-yet-vicious, non-stop offensive, no-guts-no-glory boxing style has endeared him to fans all over the world.

The undefeated Keith Thurman, on the other hand, is younger, bigger, stronger than Manny. He has the reach and size advantage, he has the age and stamina advantage. He doesn’t have a rich resume like Manny’s, but that doesn’t faze him one bit. He hasn’t shown the slightest fear or awe over fighting a legend like Manny.

Breaking it down, it goes right down the middle once again. Manny takes speed, technique, experience; Keith takes power and stamina. That said, this should be an exciting fight with no clear favorite.

How do I see things play out?

For Manny, he will need to get close enough to detonate his two-fisted attacks. He must use his speed, lateral moves and get some clean shots early to dissuade Keith from moving forward. He should dictate the pace, pick his battles, watch out for those killer counters. He should play in-and-out, touch-and-go. If Manny wins, it will be by unanimous decision, not by knockout.

For Keith, he will need to take advantage of his power and stamina. He should keep sticking those jabs to obstruct any Pacquiao offensive attempts. He should bring the fight to Manny, then use his power to bulldoze him when they get close and personal. Keith should not look at the Juan Manuel Marquez blueprint to defeat Manny. Rather, he should work on the Jeff Horn bout as the ‘way to go’. He needs to play the bully, roughing up the smaller Manny into submission. If Keith wins, it will be by KO or TKO.

There you go, folks. That’s how it looks from my end. My heart goes to Manny, but my head says it could be Keith.

Pacquiao versus Thurman: who you got?

For a closer look, just click on the pics. Pictures courtesy of Now Boxing, Boxing News, Orange County Chronicles, Press From, Rappler, The Ring, South China Morning Post, Inquirer Sports, YouTube, MultiChannel News, Boxing Scene, Quora, BetFair.com, Premiere Boxing Champions, Chronicles of my Oddity.

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