On Saturday night, the next big event in the sport of boxing will take place when FOX Sports pay per view airs the Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman fight from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Pacquiao is an eight-division world champion while Thurman currently holds the WBA welterweight title. The matchup is one of the best to make in the sport and will go a long way in telling us what each man has left at this point in their careers.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO’s) is a slight betting favorite over Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s) likely due to his experience in the pro ranks as well as how he has been looking recently. Pacquiao easily defeated Adrien Broner in January via lop-sided decision, while Thurman clearly defeated Josesito Lopez a week later, yet had trouble late in the fight.
During fight week in Las Vegas, several people have been weighing in on the action. Mexican legend and four-division world champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales defeated Pacquiao in March of 2005 and recalled his triumph over the Filipino star.
“To win that fight I was very technical against Manny Pacquiao and that’s what Thurman needs to do and be prepared for, which I was on that night,” Morales aid. “You definitely have to have a good strategy against Manny Pacquiao, and you have to have your timing right against him because he will slip out. So, you have to work on that, and if he gets out, you have to start again and pressure him.”
What is surprising to Morales is the fact that Pacquiao is still going this late into his career.
“I’m definitely surprised that Pacquiao is still fighting at this age, due to the fact that he’s been through so many wars,” said Morales. “So, it’s definitely interesting that he’s still fighting at this high of a level. Then again, I’m not surprised because mentally and physically he’s still training and still maintaining a great training regiment, which he has always maintained all throughout his career.”
Fellow Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera lost a pair of fights to Pacquiao and knows all too well the danger he possesses.
“When you’re facing Manny Pacquiao, you know that he’s a strong, explosive, fast fighter,” said Barrera. “It’s very impactful when you see him there in front of you, but we have Morales here who was one of few men to beat him, so it is possible.”
Barrera feels like the pressure and downstairs attack of Manny could pay dividends.
“Pacquiao puts in a lot of pressure and is always on top of you,” said Barrera. “Psychologically it’s a tough fight to fight Manny Pacquiao at any time because you think that he is going to go back but then he switches it up. He maintains a constant pressure on you mentally.
“Pacquiao hits to the body a lot,” Barrera added. “When he hits that left right into the stomach, it’s devastating. That’s how he hit me in that first fight that we had. Now he’s fighting a younger guy, 10 years younger than him, he is really going to work the body on Saturday.”
The truth will come out on Saturday night.