Manny Makes History

Photo by Al Applerose

Manny Pacquiao Makes More Boxing History



By Tarrah Zael


LAS VEGAS, NV.-Age wasn’t a negative factor for Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao as he wins the split decision over Keith “One Time” Thurman and becomes the oldest welterweight champion in boxing’s history.


The 40-year-old Philippine’s fighter Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO) quieted his younger opponent, 30-year-old Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KO) of Clearwater, Florida when they stepped into the ring Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of a sold-out crowd of 14,356 .


A wide right hook was thrown by Pacquiao in the beginning of round one and

set the tone for the fight as he wasted no time going after Thurman. Thurman answered with good combinations and a left hook of his own but, Pacquiao’s quick hands scored the first knockdown at the end the round with a right hook straight on Thurman’s chin. Nobody saw the knockdown coming but it set the tone of the 12-round welterweight battle for the WBA super welterweight world championship title.


A quick foot shuffle at the end of round 2 and a smile from Pacquiao backed up his quote, “I feel like I’m 22” as he demonstrated just how much gas he had left in his tank with quick hands being thrown in the beginning rounds.


Thurman got his revenge on Pacquiao by landing hard body shots and keeping the pressure on him by pushing him back towards the ropes in rounds 3 through 5. Throughout those rounds we saw Pacquiao inviting the boxer in with a wave of his gloves and pounds on his own head. Quick hand combinations by Pacquiao was answered with a right hand thrown by Thurman, but Thurman ended round 5 with a bleeding nose. Pacquiao threw three straight left hands on the face of Thurman and two fast sets of combinations kept him dominating the fight all the way through the 6th round.


Round seven we saw Thurman throw a flurry of punches in the beginning of the round and he came after Pacman with hard landing straight right punches. After enduring the punishment long enough Pacquiao came back in the 10th with a hard body shot against Thurman, who winced in pain at the power of his opponent. If you watched closely Thurman quickly took out his mouthpiece after the body shot, “I even took my mouthpiece out of my mouth so I could breathe deeper,” Thurman said about his loss at the post fight conference. Shortly after, Pacquiao noticed he hurt him and began chasing Thurman around the ring to punish him more for the words spoken, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to destroy the legend”.


Quick hands by Pacquiao and multiple jab-cross combinations by Thurman ended the final rounds of the welterweight battle that went the distance. The Filipino fighter raised his hands at the sound of final bell. Not only did he give a dominating and entertaining performance against Thurman in another page of boxing history, he also completed 486 rounds in his professional career. It was a moment worth celebrating.


Ultimately, the judges scored the bout in a split decision: Judges Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham both scored the bout as 115-112 for Pacquiao. While Glenn Feldman scored it for Thurman at 114-113 leading seven rounds over Pacquiao.


Even at aged 40, Pacquiao showed the world he still had it in the boxing world and can compete and win against some of the greatest boxers in the welterweight division. It was Thurman who entered the fight with an undefeated record and had nothing but respect and congratulatory words for the winner “You get blessings and lessons. Tonight, was a blessing and a lesson. Thank you everybody, and thank you Manny Pacquiao”.


Thurman said he would love a rematch as he felt, “my conditioning and output was just behind Manny Pacquiao’s,” and he wished he had a little bit more output to go toe-to-toe.


“It was fun. My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong”, says Pacquiao who retained the WBA welterweight title. His plans after his win are to go home to the Philippines and work then make a decision on whether he will fight next year. He also let the boxing fans know that he will be at the Spence-Porter fight on September 28th.


Earlier on Saturday, the Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter fight was announced for September 28th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. These two welterweight world titleholders were talking about unifying their belts and now the date has been set. Spence (25-0, 21 KO) will be making his fourth title defense against Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO) won also obtained the vacant belt when he outpointed Danny Garcia, last September. Both welterweight challengers are focused on proving they are the best welterweights in the world.


Caleb Plant Retains title


“I’m going to give him a boxing lesson”, Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (19-0, 11 KO) of Nashville, Tennessee said at the weigh-ins yesterday and followed through with his promise to his opponent Mike “White Bear” Lee (21-1, 11 KO) of Orlando, Florida. In his first title defense, Plant schooled Lee in the boxing ring with a clean left hook that sent Lee to the canvas in the first-round. With the first-round knockdown followed by two more rounds of boxing, Plant easily outclassed Lee. After the third knockdown, referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight at 1:29. “It went exactly how I planned it would go. I’ve been telling you all week it was not going to go all 12 rounds and I stuck to my words,” said Plant after he retained his IBF super middleweight belt. Lee was not happy with the referee’s decision. He angrily yelled right after the fight was stopped but claims “No issue with the stoppage, that’s the referees job and I respect it” after suffering the first loss of his professional career.




In the co-main event, Yordenis Ugas (24-4, 11 KO) of Cuba dominated Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-1-1, 19 KO) of Texas all 12- rounds in a welterweight bout. A straight right hand by Ugas pushed Figueroa back, followed by a flurry of punches in the first round. Throughout the rounds Figueroa offensively slipped the majority of Ugas’ punches but not enough exchange was answered back, “I thought I was able to do my thing but he was holding me. I couldn’t get my offense going” says Figueroa an aggressive fighter who won his last three fights against welterweights such as John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero and Antonio Demarco; he now suffers his first professional loss.


The official scores were 119-107 for the unanimous decision win for Ugas; who even lost 1 point for holding in the 5th round. Ugas was too strong for Figueroa and Figueroa took way too much punishment than necessary. “The fight played out how I thought it would. I came out strong and Figueroa was tough as well” says Ugas who says he is ready for the winner of Errol Spence Jr. vs Shawn Porter. Spence Jr. vs Porter was announced and set to fight September 28th in Los Angeles, CA.



Kazakhstan’s welterweight contender Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets (16-1, 12 KO) was set to fight John Molina Jr. (30-8, 24-3 KO) in a 10-round welterweight bout but Molina Jr. pulled out a day prior with a back injury. Coming off a loss in January against Jonathan Steele, Philippine’s Jayar “hitman” Inson (18-3, 12 KO) replaced Molina Jr. A quick left hook to the chin of Inson dropped him to the ground and the referee called the contest :57 seconds into the second round. Regarding the change of opponents last minute: “I spar with great southpaws, so I was comfortable with the change in fighters” said Lipinets. As for Inson, “I got hit and I slipped, that made it look worse. When I stood up I thought I was fine and tried to raise my hands and show the referee”.




A scheduled 12-round bantamweight title bout was stopped 1:43 into round 9 after a vicious left hook under the rib of Dominican Republic’s Juan Carlos “Baby Pacquiao” Payano (21-3, 9-1 KO); followed by a left hook to the chin administered by Mexico’s Luis “Pantera” Nery (30-0, 24 KO) that sent Payano to the canvas. Up until the 9th round, southpaw Payano kept the pace of the fight consistent against Nery by moving around and landing a flurry of punches. Nery, the young pugilist of Mexico, continued his undefeated record and 11-win knockout streak after walking down and wailing on Payano. “I saw the openings in the body and then that’s when the left hook came and it was over,” said Nery who obtained the World Boxing Council Silver bantamweight title. “The body shot came in from nowhere and hit me in a rib that I had broken years ago against Raushee Warren” says Payano about his knockout loss.     





Two 2016 Olympic and undefeated heavyweight boxers: Efe Ajagba (11-0, 9 KO) of Nigeria and Ali Eren Demirezen (11-1, 10 KO) of Turkey went all 10 rounds in the Fox Sports PPV opener of the night. This was the first fight Ajagba went past the 5th round in his professional boxing career. Demirezen landed great power shots and applied pressure but Ajagba was busier of the two brawlers. The judges scored the bout 97-93, 99-91, 99-91 for Ajagba with the unanimous decision win; Ajagba continues his undefeated record. “He was strong and could take my punches” says Ajagba. Demirezen had a different perspective with his performance in the ring, “I don’t agree with the scores. 99-91 is not correct. It was much closer.”