Manny Pacquiao handed Keith Thurman his first loss Saturday night in a WBA welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) took the fight in a split decision with scores of 115-112 on two of the judges’ scorecards. One judge had Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) at 114-113.
USA TODAY Sports provided his round-by-round analysis throughout the championship fight:
Round 1: Chants of Manny, Manny. But nothing happening early. Manny threw a big right hook but missed. Now Thurman moving forward and throws decent punches. Thurman lands good right hand. Manny fires back and Thurman covering up. Manny moving forward. But thurman lands a combination. Thurman lands another solid right. big left by Thurman. Manny knocks down Thurman! Catches him with surprising punch. Square on the chin that punch landed. But Thurman up and will survive the round.
Round 2: Thurman looks re-energized. Manny firing a flurry of punches. Manny coming hard now. Forcing the action. Thurman looks a little unsteady. Thurman lands a right. Not ready to fold here. Another right by Manny. Followed by a combo. Looking sharp. Yet another combo and body punches by Manny. But Thurman coming back and firing some punches. Manny has Thurman wobbling again and now Manny’s showboating!
Round 3: Thurman trying to be the aggressor. But Manny keeping him off-balance. Thurman has Manny backed up in a corner, but can’t do anything with it. Manny lands a good right. Here comes Thurman, but Manny quickly goes on offense. Looks comfortable fighting off the ropes or at center of ring. Thurman staying active, but Manny lands again.
Round 4: Thurman stalking. Now has Manny on the ropes but doesn’t capitalize. Manny now counters and flails as he unloads punches. Manny looks significantly faster. Manny landing another flurry. Body punches and punches to the head. But Thurman looks solid on his feet. Big punch from Thurman nearly connects. But Manny escapes.
Round 5: Thurman once against stalking. Clearly intends to remain the aggressor. Thurman unloading and lands a solid right. Still pressing. Thurman lands another right and back comes Manny, but nothing serious. Blood coming from Thurman’s nose. Manny delivering more combinations, to body and head. But here comes Thurman. Thurman misses and Manny makes him pay. Manny closing round hard.
Round 6: Again, Thurman forces action. Now stalking Manny. Firing but landing nothing solid. In fact, Manny lands a stinging right. Manny seems happy to counter and use his footwork. Now Thurman lands a solid right. Now Manny stalking. And throwing punches. No serious damage here.
Round 7: Thurman firing. Manny covers up and avoids anything serious. Thurman plan the same — stalk. No sign that it’s a sound plan. Big right by Thurman. Another solid right. Solid left from Thurman. Thurman finally looks in control. For now. A big right hand and nice left hook from Thurman. Manny counters but Thurman fires back. Best action of the night.
Round 8: Manny letting his fists fly. Circling Thurman. Footwork propelling him. Now the fighters are settling in the middle of the ring. Thurman lands a nice jab. Withstanding Manny flurry. More blood leaking from Thurman’s nose, and here comes Manny, unloading his combination of punches. Thurman closes with a nice right.
Round 9: Thurman connects with a right. After a slow start to the round. Fighters tiring, perhaps? Slow left from Thurman. Fighters might be looking to recharge here. Thurman walking Manny into a corner and throws a few punches. Now has him backed up on the ropes. But here comes Manny. Nice exchange here at the end of the round.
Round 10: Thurman again stalking. Manny happily countering. Manny catches Thurman with a left. Neither fighter able to assert himself. Now here they go, exchanging a flurry. Thurman appears to be hurt. Manny chasing him down. Unclear what happened, but Thurman now backpedaling. But back comes Thurman. Terrific round.
Round 11: Thurman looks OK despite having taken a punishing body shot during the 10th round. But Manny looks in control. Now he’s doing the stalking. Well, back comes Thurman. Neither backing away. Thurman lands big right hand. Manny dancing. Away from Thurman. But moments later Manny is firing punches again.
Round 12: Thurman wisely out fast and aggressive. He’ll need a KO to win this fight. But Manny’s unorthodox style keeps him off-balance. Manny throwing punches and maybe looking for a KO himself. Solid exchanges here. Manny not playing it safe. Thurman unloading, but nothing big landing. Manny throwing combos. Thurman lands a right.