Manny Pacquiao should expect Keith Thurman to be aggressive right out of the gate, and if Pacquiao survives the early onslaught he has a chance to close the deal late.
Some local fight analysts believe that Thurman has a better chance of winning in the early going, where he is expected to take the fight to Pacquiao.
However, if the bout goes on longer, then the more experienced Pacquiao will be in better position to defeat Thurman.
“Thurman will be dangerous in the first 6 rounds, but the moment the fight drags on, Pacquiao's work rate will take over,” said Ed Tolentino.
Fellow TV analyst Dennis Principe agreed, saying that “the best chance of Keith Thurman is the first half of the fight . . . If it goes beyond 6 at hindi pa niya nasasaktan si Manny Pacquiao, then the endurance factor, the agility factor will set in (for Pacquiao).”
Tolentino said speed and endurance will be Pacquiao’s best weapons against the slower American, adding that Thurman could take advantage of his longer reach by fighting from a distance.
“But Thurman is not that fast and Pacquiao will look to beat him to the punch. I think when he gets hurt, Thurman will stand and trade, which will be his folly,” Tolentino said.
Meanwhile, other fight commentators expects the bout to go the full route.
“I'm not saying he's going to knock out Thurman; it's going to be a decision victory,” Nissi Icasiano said. “Manny Pacquiao will have his hands full especially if Keith Thurman starts to run because he has to catch Thurman.”
“If Keith Thurman chooses to stand and trade then it’s going to end by knockout,” he added.
Boxing referee Danrex Tapdasan said he expects a close decision between the two fighters. He said, whoever controls the fight in the last 5 rounds will likely be declared the champion.
“I think this fight will end in a decision, matatapos ang 12 rounds,” said Tapdasan.
“But I can't pick a winner, it's still up for grabs sa akin. This will be a very close fight. Whoever wins 3 of the last 5 rounds will win via a slim margin. This is a nip and tuck fight. A lot of close rounds.”
Pacquiao and Thurman will fight for the WBA "super" welterweight title on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada (Sunday, Manila time).
The 8-division champion from the Philippines holds a record of 61-7-2 (39 KOs), while Thurman is an undefeated fighter with a record of 29-0 (22 KOs).
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