GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 02 June) — Watching few videos of Keith Thurman fights makes you agree he packs a wallop. His unbeaten record in 22 fights makes him scarier on paper.
But reading between lines of his previous fight record and looking at the way he throws his punches, I say he is not only hittable but also easy to dissect for a seasoned Manny Pacquiao, one of boxing’s all time greats.
If their July 20 bout happened 10 years ago, Thurman will not have the chance of beating a prime Pacquiao at all.
Not that his chances now are better, his fighting style simply fits Pacquiao’s strength that we may yet see another knockout win for the (still) fighting Filipino senator.
Thurman throws his punches from way back his elbow and does not possess an effective jab to keep Pacquiao honest.
Most of all, he can get hurt. And he is not accustomed to facing punchers that throw punches in bunches and from all angles.
Pacquiao may have lost a step and has now slowed down the volume of his punches. But against Thurman, he will be a lot faster and more powerful than the brass American.
The beauty of this fight however is that neither boxer has faced a common opponent. That makes comparison a lot problematic.
Pacquiao has fought against the world’s best and through many adversaries and extreme situations. In fact, he lost a handful already.
Losses aside, Pacquiao has emerged more seasoned and a lot wiser from those debacles. At 40, he may no longer be the world’s best pound for pound boxer that he was a decade ago. But he is still a mean fighting machine.
A decade separates Pacquiao from Thurman who, at 30, may still be at his prime. The undefeated Thurman however has yet to be tested against heavy punching foes for which an aged Pacquiao is still a fearsome gladiator across the ring.
Ultimately, styles make fight. If Thurman continues to throw roundhouses and forgets to jab effectively, he will be a sucker for Pacquiao’s left straights and right hooks.
Once he gets to taste Pacquiao’s power, no matter how diminished, he will definitely become defensive and that will spell his doom.
For Thurman to win, he has to throw stinging jabs, shorten his punches and throw a lot of counterpunches.
Shortening his punches however is closing the distance between him and Pacquiao, whose short punches are still lethal. Throwing counterpunches means engaging Pacquiao in a slugfest. Now that is tricky for Thurman. Pacquiao is the most fearsome in toe-to-toe phone booth brawl. Not accustomed to throwing stinging jabs, Thurman may not be able to see Pacquiao’s right hook counters. As they say in boxing, the hardest punches are those you do not see.
So for Thurman, he has to be perfect to beat Pacquiao. Not too many has done that.