You have to be impressed by Manny Pacquiao. A few years ago, I was sure he was on the verge of being done. But now, at 40 years old, he just beat the man who was considered #1 in the division just a year ago. And he did it not with the B-Hop method of wily veteran tactics – he did it with hand speed, foot movement, and power. Pacquiao, yet again, turned in an age-defying performance. He was fast, he was skilled… he was great. Yes, he is past his prime. But his prime was so high that he can be past it and still be pretty amazing. How amazing? Well, he’s now, at very worst, #4 in what is arguably the sport’s deepest division.
So what next for the future Hall of Famer? Well, Errol Spence and Shawn Porter meet in September, and the hope is the winner there meets Pacquiao in early 2020. If that happens, it would be a great fight to truly decide the king of Welterweight – a division that has lacked a definitive king since Mayweather’s retirement 4 years ago. I would have a hard time favoring Pacquiao in that fight, but I’m also tired of underrating him in this late career run. At some point, this will come to an end – time catches up with everyone. And it’s boxing, so that end might be violent. But for now, Pacquiao still stands strong. And he does so 7 years and 10 fights after the Marquez KO that I thought marked the end. How wrong I was.
As for Thurman – what a fall from grace his has been. He was slated to be the PBC poster child, and he was. But then he became strangely inactive, and when he came back this year, he almost lost to Josesito Lopez, and now takes his first loss on record. Hard to know where he goes from here.
Thoughts on the rest of the card:
- For the record, I had it 115-112 Pacquiao, the same as two judges. One scored it 114-113 Thurman, which I don’t agree with, but I’m not wildly outraged by.
- Yordenis Ugas came out firing against Omar Figueroa, Jr., putting the undefeated fighter on the canvas in the very first round. From there, he didn’t let up. Figueroa tried to keep it an inside game, but no matter – Ugas just kept outworking and outpunching him, whether on the inside or at range. It was a great showing from Ugas, and a real deflating of Figueroa that has felt like it’s a long time coming. Lots of interesting match-ups to consider for Ugas in the talent-rich Welterweight division – this was a WBC title eliminator, so in theory he should get the winner of Shawn Porter vs. Errol Spence, but you never know. Still, great night for Ugas.
- Sergey Lipinets was to take on John Molina, Jr. here, but less than 48 hours before fight time, Molina had to step out with a back injury. The 18-2 Jayar Inson got the call up, and lasted about 4 minutes before Lipinets put him down and out. The southpaw Inson was leaving his right hand down after punches; Lipinets saw it, caught him there a few times, then landed a big one to end it. Lipinets deserves credit for not being thrown by the late change to a southpaw opponent, and for bringing the fight and ending it early. Not much else to this one – it is what it is.
- In the PPV opener, it took Luis Nery a bit to find his stride, but he eventually got there, and ended things in style with a seriously nasty body shot KO of veteran Juan Carlos Payano in the 9th round. That KO was one of those gorgeous body shot stoppages that just shuts an opponent down, and is another big win for Nery on a PPV. Credit to Payano, who is a tough opponent and made Nery work for it though. Payano’s style and skills made this not the most spectacular performance for Nery until that KO shot, but Nery remains undefeated and adds something to his already impressive highlight reel.
About the author