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Unbeaten opponents no big deal for Manny


PhilBoxing.com




When “super” WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman enters the ring to battle “regular” WBA titlist Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on July 20, he’ll brandish an unbeaten record of 29-0, with 22 KOs and one No-Decision. For Pacquiao, facing an undefeated fighter is no big deal.

In Pacquiao’s history, he’s beaten eight fighters with unblemished records. The victims who were dealt their first setbacks by Pacquiao were Chris Algieri (20-0) in 2014, Timothy Bradley (31-0) in 2014, Jorge Solis (34-0-2) in 2007, Emmanuel Lucero (21-0-1) in 2003, Nedal Hussein (19-0) in 2000, Seung Kon Chae (23-0) in 2000, Dele Desierto (4-0) in 1995 and Rocky Palma (4-0-1) in 1995. Of the eight, five lost by knockout.

On the flipside, four of Pacquiao’s seven losses were to unbeaten opponents. They were Medgeon 3-K Battery (18-0) in 1999, Bradley (28-0) in 2012, Floyd Mayweather (47-0) in 2015 and Jeff Horn (16-0-1) in 2017. The defeats to Bradley, Mayweather and Horn were on points and disputed. Against Medgeon, Pacquiao was stripped of the WBC flyweight title on the scales after weighing in a pound over the limit but went on with the fight the next day despite dehydration. Pacquiao, clearly not in condition to engage, was stopped in the third round.

Pacquiao’s win over Bradley in 2014 avenged his defeat by split decision to the man called Desert Storm two years before. In 2016, they met in a rubber match with Pacquiao taking the win by unanimous decision. It turned out to be Bradley’s farewell outing as he never fought again.

Bradley wasn’t the first fighter who gave up the sport after losing to Pacquiao. Lucas Matthysse retired from the ring following his loss by a seventh round knockout to Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur last year. Oscar de la Hoya was stopped by Pacquiao in the eighth round in Las Vegas in 2008 and never put on the gloves again. It was reported that De la Hoya was rushed to the hospital after the fight and convulsed. Korean Sung Yul Lee was stopped by Pacquiao in the second round in Alabang in 1996 and never stepped into the ring again. It was the same case with Desierto who was halted in the second round in Mandaluyong in 1995.

Two fighters suffered devastating knockout losses to Pacquiao, came back after a long rest, fought once, lost and never saw action again. Colombian Jorge Julio was knocked out by Pacquiao in the second round in Memphis in 2012 and after nearly a year, returned to lose to Israel Vazquez by a 10th round stoppage, signaling the end of his fistic career. Manchester’s Ricky Hatton was poleaxed by Pacquiao in the second round in Las Vegas in 2009 and came back after three years to lose to Vyacheslav Senchenko on a ninth round stoppage then retired for good. Julio and Hatton were never the same after their defeats to Pacquiao.

Thurman is known as a two-fisted, versatile, boxer-puncher. He’s not heavy-handed but packs enough power to make opponents think twice about taking chances by standing toe-to-toe. He likes to jab, circles in both directions and uses a right straight to counter foes who come forward. Thurman’s been hurt by body shots before and Pacquiao will likely target the midsection and sides to slow him down. When Thurman fights flat-footed, he leaves himself open for counters because he tends to lose balance after throwing combinations. Against Pacquiao, that would be a serious flaw as he’s quick to capitalize on the slightest lapse.

Oddsmakers are quoting a betting line that favors Thurman. A $100 wager on Pacquiao will win $105 while a $135 bet on Thurman will earn only $100. The odds may narrow to 50-50 as the fight draws near. What makes the bout a juicy proposition is it’s a WBA unification championship showdown since both fighters claim a share of the throne. The outcome will decide once and for all who deserves to wear the WBA 147-pound belt exclusively


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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