At 40 years old, Manny Pacquiao is no spring chicken.
The springs on his legs may be gone and the power on his punches may be reduced contrary to the aggressive puncher who once clobbered the sport’s legendary names like Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Miguel Cotto.
But last Sunday, he proved that there’s still enough gas on his tank.
“I can still fight,” Pacquiao said in a press briefing shortly after clobbering Keith Thurman to claim the World Boxing Association welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Last Vegas.
“I think I can still entertain fans. I can still inspire people.”
True enough, his clash with Thurman brought his countrymen on their feet.
Ranged against a taller, heftier, and more, younger fighter in the 30-year-old Thurman, Pacquiao climbed the ring as an underdog.
During the pre-fight press conferences, Thurman made fun of his short arm, religion and, yes, age. The tough-talking American said this could be Pacquiao’s final fight as he would slap him with a loss so embarrassing that he has no choice but to go into retirement.
It didn’t happen.
Pacquiao started the bout with fire on his eyes and uncorked a wicked left hook in the final 24 seconds of the first round to send Thurman into the canvass. Then, he withstood an avalanche of body punches from his aggressive opponent in Round 7 before retaliating in Round 10 en route to an easy defense in the final two rounds.
Pacquiao admitted that Thurman gave him a tough time.
“Keith is like (Antonio) Margarito. I think he was too big for me,” he said. “It’s actually the first time I encountered a heavy handed opponent like Thurman.”
Thurman said he knew that he was way behind in the scorecards so he did everything to score a knockout, resulting to being battered by Pacquiao, who is known as a good counter-puncher.
“I felt that I needed a knockout to get back into the fight,” he said, admitting that he was still inexperienced to overcome a seasoned boxer like Pacquiao.
There’s no commitment about a possible rematch, but the fighting senator wishes his victim well.
“Don’t be discouraged after this loss. You’re still young. Your journey doesn’t end here,” said Pacquiao before excusing himself to prepare for his long flight back to Manila.