One fighter is regaining the devastating form that used to be his calling card. The other could return to his aggressive ways and match his opponent’s tendency to duke it out.
With two such boxers in Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman showing up in the ring in Las Vegas on July 20, it’s possible that type of a clash won’t go the distance.
“Tingin ko within 10 rounds matatapos tong laban ’pagkat you have two power punchers,” fight analyst Ed Tolentino said.
“Unlike (Adrien) Broner and Pacquiao, you have a pressure fighter, ’yung isa dancer so suntok-layo. ’‘Yung [si] Thurman, sa tingin ko, he will stand up and fight.”
Pacquiao had laid off on his propensity for knocking out opponents, until he floored Lucas Matthysse last year. He has also voiced his displeasure over Thurman, who Pacquiao felt has repeatedly disrespected him.
Given those pent-up feelings, Pacquiao could step inside the MGM Grand with that extra juice and give Thurman a lesson he won’t forget.
“This will be a very good fight,” Tolentino said. “I think critical para kay Manny to put the pressure on Thurman.”
Like Pacquiao, Thurman, who has a catchy moniker, has a history of stopping opponents on their tracks, having won 22 fights via knockout, although he has slowed down in recent years.
“The reason why he’s called ‘One Time’ is with one punch he can knock his opponent out. That happened the first 20 fights, talagang KO lahat ’yun,” said referee-turned-analyst Danrex Tapdasan.
“Pero 5 of his last 6 fights ended in decision. It also reflects the evolution of the quality of his opponents. The quality of his opponents improved so he also adjusted his style.”
Boxing journalist Nissi Icasiano described Thurman as a dangerous fighter.
“He possesses a quality of a boxer that has hand speed, outstanding jab, combination and counter-punching while possessing a slugger type of power. That makes him an outstanding type of fighter,” Icasiano said.
One advantage Tolentino believes that Pacquiao can exploit is Thurman may not be a polished fighter.
“There are occasions when he is more flatfooted and the old puncher in him takes over,” Tolentino said.
“Some say his style changed after he injured his elbow and hands, that the injuries made him more cautious. Some say the upgrade in opposition forced him to employ a little boxing, too.
“Thurman owns a good right hand, but also a powerful short left hook usually delivered while he is moving side to side or sidestepping a little.”
According to Tolentino, Thurman’s size will pose a challenge for Pacquiao, but he is beatable.
“[Thurman] is no longer the same guy, and I think it’s one of the reasons why Pacquiao chose him, Tolentino said.
“Undefeated champion, pero may depekto. Tingin ko ito ay lalabas come fight time.”
Which fighter hurts comes out of the gates, dictates the tempo, and find his mark early and often will come away with the win.
“Unahan ’yan. [Malalaman] natin kung sino ang gunslinger, sino’ng mas mabilis,” Tolentino said. — With a report from Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)