Manny Pacquiao continued his boxing renaissance with a hard-working split decision victory over Keith Thurman at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) ‘Super’ welterweight title for his third consecutive victory.
An eight division world champion, Pacquiao, 40, was conceding ten years to the unbeaten Thurman who had predicted that he would demonstrate that the Filipino boxing icon was not the force that he once was.
However, it was ‘Pacman’, the nickname he has earned for his multitude of victories in the ring over the past two decades, who proved his resilience by standing toe-to-toe with the American for 12 solid rounds.
The judges saw the bout, in which Pacquiao sent Thurman to the canvas in the very first round, in favour of the Filipino scoring it 113-114, 115-112, 115-112.
Pacman, who is a Senator in the Philippines, improved to 62-7-2 in what has been an epic career while Thurman suffered his first-ever defeat.
At one point in the fight, former world heavyweight champion George Foreman, who was busy on social media, tweeted “Thurman holds on to the older man Pac-Man making 40, look good now”.
Pacman certainly looked good, good enough to win over his legion of fans all over again, and even had former rival Floyd Mayweather, smiling on occasion.
“He’s a good boxer, he’s strong,” Pacquiao, who becomes the oldest holder of a major welterweight title in boxing history said in the ring. “I was blessed tonight.”
Thurman paid tribute to Pacquiao calling him “truly great” as he said that he would love a rematch.
"I wish I had a little more output to go toe to toe with him,” Thurman said. “My condition, my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao.”
Pacman revealed that he was planning on fighting again in 2020, possibly against the winner of the 28 September fight between Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter.