In his fifth career fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao defeated Keith Thurman by split decision to become the unified World Boxing Association (WBA) super world welterweight champion.
Two judges scored the fight 115-112 for the 40-year-old Pacquiao and 113-114 for the deposed champion.
While Thurman outlanded Pacquiao by 15 punches and landed 79 more power shots, the latter did the most damage―he hurt the 30-year-old American more.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) even scored a knockdown in the closing moments of the first round after Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) had controlled most of the round.
Thurman talked about being prepared for Pacquiao’s lunging style but after the knockdown, he never seemed to have the Filipino legend’s timing.
In the 10th round, Pacquiao badly hurt Thurman with a left hook to the body. While Thurman didn’t go down, he removed his mouthpiece and immediately retreated to his corner.
Thurman was all praises for Pacquiao and declared he wants a rematch.
“I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe. I felt like he was getting a little bit tired, but he did have experience in the ring. My conditioning, my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao. It was a great night of boxing. I’d love a rematch,” Thurman said.
Pacquiao will earn a guaranteed $10 million and Thurman $2.5 million but the figures coan balloon to $20 million for Pacquiao and $8 million for Thurman after pay-per-view receipts and other advertising revenues.
“I really loved the fans. Thank you so much for coming here and witnessing the fight,” Pacquiao said. “I’m sure you were happy tonight because you see a good fight. Even though Thurman lost, he did his best. He’s not an easy opponent. He’s a good boxer, strong. I think I’m just blessed tonight.”