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Pacquiao vs. Thurman : The Battle of Two Kings
By Rich Mazon
Sat, 20 Jul 2019
LAS VEGAS - The World Boxing Association (WBA) is weird. Their 147 pound landscape is ruled by two champions.
First is the undefeated Keith Thurman Jr. of the United States - it’s Super Champion.
Then, there’s the legendary Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines- it’s World Champion.
In 2015, the organization’s welterweight throne was up for grabs when longtime champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired. The WBA then elevated Thurman, who at that time was their interim champ - to the status of full champion.
Thurman held and defended the belt successfully since 2015. But a series of injury kept him out of the ring for almost two years.
This prompted the WBA to make Thurman a champion in recess and mandated a welterweight contest between Lucas Matthysse and Tewa Kiram of Thailand in January 2018. The winner then became the “regular” champ at welterweight.
Matthysse won by knockout but his reign was short lived. He was dethroned on his first defense by Pacquiao in the Battle of Kuala Lumpur last year. Pacquiao blasted him in the 7th round in his first and only defense of the title.
Thurman returned to action and out-hustled Josesito Lopez in the Battle of Brooklyn earlier this year. He welcomed a fight against Pacquiao after his victory in New York and he knew then, that the inevitable battle of champs has to be made.
And so here we are, in the battlefield in the desert, at The Fight Oasis that is the MGM Grand Garden Arena- as we count down the hours to the day of reckoning between the two kings.
They faced for the last time today at the official weigh-in ceremony in the very site of their duel tomorrow night. Pacquiao and Thurman Jr weighed in at an identical 146.5 pounds.
Both pugilists relished in the cheers of their fans and countrymen and welcomed the jeers of the opposing camp. Pacquiao, like his previous battles here, always brings a loud and raucous army with him. Today and tomorrow night will be no different, he was and always will be the crowd favorite.
They sized up each other for one last time, they looked at each other’s eyes with mean intentions and displayed their own version of their championship belts during Fight Week.
Tomorrow night, barring a draw in the final tally, only one belt will matter, only one champ will be raised and only one king will be crowned.
And after that, the 147 pound kingdom of the WBA will not be weird anymore. It will revert to normalcy and have its one true ruler.
Tic, tac, tic, tac. The Battle of Two Kings is amongst us.
You can reach the writer at email@example.com and @Freemazon910 on Twitter.
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