Manny Pacquiao defeated Keith Thurman via split decision tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, claiming the WBA welterweight title and showing he’s certainly still a top 147-pound fighter.
Scores were 114-113 for Thurman and 115-112 on two cards for Pacquiao. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-112 on two separate cards, both for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO) started fast, dropping Thurman (29-1, 22 KO) late in the first round on a right hook to the head, in a round Thurman was perhaps winning to that point. He notably hurt Thurman again late in the fifth round, and had Thurman scampering around the ring in the 10th after a body shot.
But Thurman, 30, gave a terrific effort overall, too. He outlanded Pacquiao by CompuBox numbers, and stood in there with an all-time great fighter having another outstanding night. Thurman had pockets of success, and landed his right hand fairly frequently, but failed to ever follow it up with much. Furthermore, every time he did land a good combination, Pacquiao would reset and try to roar right back with his own.
Pacquiao was able to open strong enough and build enough early momentum, putting rounds in the bank, to survive a decent surge from Thurman in the middle rounds, and down the stretch, they seemed to be going back-and-forth. But Thurman was just never able to take hold of the fight, and two of the three judges agreed that it was Pacquiao who had the better night overall. He did more noticeable damage, got a knockdown, and never let the younger man dominate the action.
“He’s a good fighter, a good boxer. He’s strong,” Pacquiao said. Asked about Thurman’s pre-fight trash talk, he was indifferent, saying, “He was just promoting the fight. He did his best, I did my best, and we made the people happy.”
Asked if he would try to do a third fight in 2019, Pacquiao said he’d “probably” return next year, as he’s headed back home for his job in the Philippines Senate.
“It was too close. He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one,” Thurman said. “Manny Pacquiao is a truly great, great, legendary champion.”
Thurman said his “conditioning and output were just behind Manny Pacquiao,” and said he’d like to do a rematch. He thanked the fans and Pacquiao, and didn’t complain at all about the scores.