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Pacquiao wins ‘The War of Two Kings’ against Thurman
By Rich Mazon
Mon, 22 Jul 2019
LAS VEGAS- Manny Pacquiao weathered a late surge from fellow champ Keith Thurman and scored a hard-earned Split Decision victory to win the World Boxing Association’s welterweight crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao, 40, the regular champ of the 147 pound division, snatched the younger Thurman’s (30) super welterweight title belt with scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 113-114, in an exciting championship fight that settled the question of who truly reigns the prestigious weight class.
The legendary fighter from the Philippines showed that age is just a number when he almost stopped Thurman Jr. early in the fight. Pacquiao sent Thurman Jr. down with a right hand in the opening round and the sold-out arena of 14,356 went wild.
A stunned Thurman smiled while he was on his butt, stood up, recouped and finished the round.
Pacquiao battered Thurman in the succeeding rounds. His jabs were on point and his right hand was very effective. He countered effectively against Thurman who was trying to even up the score.
In the 5th, Pacquiao bloodied Thurman’s nose with a another hard right. The undefeated champion retreated as blood oozed from his nose.
But Pacquiao’s age showed in the second half of the intense fight. He slowed down midway in the 6th and Thurman closed the round with a combo that found its mark.
Thurman stepped up his performance in the 7th, he perfectly timed his punches and hit Pacquiao plenty of times with head-twisting shots but the Filipino icon took his opponent’s shots well.
In the 8th, Thurman was again bleeding from his nose as a result of additional punches from Pacquiao but he did not back down and traded punches with his hard hitting counterpart. He finished the round with straight rights that landed squarely on Pacquiao.
In the 10th, Pacquiao took charge of the fight again. He hurt Thurman with a body shot and the previously unbeaten champion retreated once again - this time in obvious pain. Pacquiao pursued him but the American fighter was able to evade additional attacks to the torso by moving fluidly and by punching back.
Both fighters tried to finish the final two rounds on a strong note. Thurman went on the attack and Pacquiao countered and pivoted out of Thurman’s reach.
The fans yelled and cheered the two fighters in what has been q tense bout to determine the real WBA welterweight king.
It took Jimmy Lennon some time to declare the winner of what has been a close contest. The wait for the final decision added to the anxiety of an already tense night.
The crowd erupted in cheers when Lennon disclosed the scores and the winner - Manny Pacquiao. The 40 year old icon is now the new and the only WBA welterweight champion.
“I got him in the first round and that’s the key. That’s the turning point of (me) being the winner tonight,” said Pacquiao in the post-fight conference.
“He is very tough.” Pacquiao describes Thurman. He is heavy handed unlike the other opponents that I faced before. He can fight.“
The losing Thurman conceded his defeat to the fighting senator from the Philippines. He was meek and modest this time. It was a stark contrast to his brazenness before their duel.
“Like I always said, I got an 0 and I’m not afraid to let it go. I was beaten tonight and that’s the sport of boxing. I’m not going nowhere and I’ll be back.”
The humbled loser relinquished his crown, surrenders his belt and conceded the throne that he’s held for seven years to winner of The War of Two Kings - the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
You can reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org and @Freemazon910 on Twitter.
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