Time to retire for Pacquiao?
By Al S. Mendoza
MY knockout prediction went pfft.
But not the other one: Manny Pacquiao winning by decision.
As I said, predicting the outcome of any fight is one of the hardest jobs of a columnist.
But we just had to do it each time as it is part and parcel of our calling.
Anyway, back to Pacquiao.
He could only outpoint Keith Thurman but that still merits applause.
Why, because Thurman had turned out a worthy foe as advertised.
He was tough. He was good. He was truly a world champion.
Unfortunately for him, Pacquiao turned out tougher and better.
A bit better I must say but that was all Pacquiao needed to do in order to defeat Thurman.
It was supposed to be a unanimous decision but for one judge (Glenn Feldman) who saw it, quite surprisingly, differently after making Thurman the winner by 114-113.
That resulted in a split decision victory for Pacquiao, who earned the nod of the two other judges (Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti), who had identical scores of 115-112.
I scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao in the WBA world welterweight unification bout.
I gave the first five rounds to Pacquiao like what Cheatham did.
But Feldman and Moretti each saw Thurman the winner in the third round.
From the sixth to the ninth rounds, Moretti and I had similar scores with both of us giving Thurman Rounds 6, 7 & 9 and Pacquiao Round 8.
But Rounds 6-to-9 went to Thurman in the eyes of Feldman and Cheatham.
Then came the pivotal 10th round, where all four of us gave the round to Pacquiao, who almost knocked down Thurman after landing a massive left to the solar plexus.
Thurman was so jarred with Pacquiao’s tummy blow that he reeled, stumbled and looked on the verge of falling down.
Alas, Pacquiao failed to deliver the final blows and, in the end, I give credit to Thurman for his tough as nails stance as he adroitly escaped what looked like an obvious defeat by knockout.
Thurman would recover somewhat but still, Pacquiao managed to sustain his momentum—although not as decisively as we would have expected of him had he been younger.
At age 40, Pacquiao clearly appeared to have slowed down after a smoking start to easily win the first five rounds, even decorating it with a crucial first-round knockdown with a right to the face of a retreating Thurman.
But the age factor clearly manifested itself when Thurman, 30, showing superb conditioning, asserted himself in the middle rounds—losing steam only in the 10th when Pacquiao got his second wind to deliver that gut-busting left blow beneath the left ribs of the brash American.
Stunningly, Thurman managed to come back, earning a Round 11 win from the three judges at ringside like me.
Then came the final 12th round, which Pacquiao won on my scorecard like the tallies of Moretti and Cheatham but, shockingly again, not Feldman who gave it to Thurman.
It was a close shave for Pacquiao, yes, and the recurring query now: Is it time for Pacquiao to retire?
Your answer is as good as mine.
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