Boxing's only eight-division champion is back on top, claiming the WBA Super World Welterweight title in a furious Fight of the Year candidate on PBC on FOX Sports PPV.
The legend of Manny Pacquiao continues.
A sell-out crowd of 14,356 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas witnessed a historical night as the 40-year old Pacquiao turned in one of the finest performances of his career, dethroning WBA Super World Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman by 12-round split decision in a Fight of the Year candidate on PBC on FOX Sports PPV.
Glen Feldman scored the bout 114-113 for Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) while Tim Cheatham and Glen Feldman both had it 115-112 for boxing’s only eight-division world champion.
The scorecards reflected the torrid back and forth action in the ring.
"It was fun,” Pacquiao said afterward. “My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong.”
Fun, yes. But not easy. Thurman landed 192 power punches, the most ever landed on Pacquiao in the 43 bouts of his that have been tracked by CompuBox.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) landed less (113), but his punches seemed to carry greater effect, evidenced by the left to the solar plexus followed by the straight right upstairs that dropped Thurman late in the opening round. It was the first knockdown of the champion’s career.
Thurman rose to his feet wearing a sheepish grin, but he wasn’t entirely out of trouble. Pacquiao’s blazing lefty hands and feet allowed him to land combinations, step to the side and land some more.
Thurman began finding his footing in the third, inching forward behind the jab and working Pacquiao’s body. He carried that momentum until midway through the fifth, when a hard Pacquiao right hook left Thurman’s nose bruised and bloody. Yet “One Time” continued to come forward, backing Pacquiao up in the sixth and landed several rights to the head.
By the end of the seventh, the momentum had completely shifted. Thurman was now in control, landing his right to the head and body with regularity. Pacquiao wasn’t flurrying as often. The partisan crowd began encouraging him, shouting “Manny! Manny! Manny!” during the ninth.
“Pac Man” came alive in the 10th, badly hurting Thurman with a left cross to the ribs. Pacquiao pounced, landing another left downstairs that bent Thurman over. The Senator from the Philippines sought to close the show but Thurman showed some savvy, fighting him off to make it out of the round.
Thurman never stopped trying. And Pacquiao had an answer for it all. They took turns landing over the final rounds, although it appeared Thurman had the edge. It wasn’t enough, however, to sway two of the judges, who scored it in Pacquiao’s favor and making him world champion once again.
"I knew it was too close,” Thurman said. “He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one.”
“I really love the fans,” exclaimed the jubilant winner. “Thank you so much for coming here and witnessing the fight. I’m sure they were happy tonight because they saw a good fight. Even though Thurman lost, he did his best. He’s not an easy opponent. He’s a good boxer and he’s strong. I was just blessed tonight.”
With the victory, Pacquiao becomes the fifth-oldest male boxer to win a world title. The new champion says he will return to the Philippines before deciding on who his next opponent might be. For now, the legend continues—and is showing no signs of stopping.
Yordenis Ugas outclasses Omar Figueroa Jr., wins wide decision
This one was never in doubt. Ugas, the natural 147-pounder, used his size, strength—and his boxing skill—to dominate the smaller Figueroa.
Ugas got off to a hot start in the first. Toward the end of the frame, he landed a straight hand to the jaw, sending Figueroa stumbling backward to the ropes. Referee Russell Mora properly ruled it a slip, noting that only the ropes held Figueroa up.
The onslaught was on. Round after round, Ugas would drive Figueroa to the ropes and pound away at his head and body. The bigger man dominated the exchanges in close quarters, but Figueroa (28-1-1, 19 KOs) was full of fight. The Weslaco, Texas resident landed his fair share of shots although none appeared to perturb Ugas.
Save for a point deduction in the fifth (for clinching), it all went Ugas’ way who cruised to the victory by three scores of 119-107.
Ugas is now in line to face the winner of the September 28th unification bout between undefeated IBF World Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBC counterpart Shawn Porter. The two will square off at Staples Center in California, live on PBC on FOX Sports PPV.
Sergey Lipinets stops Jayar Insong in two
Insong (18-3, 12 KOs) was a late substitute for John Molina Jr., who pulled out of the fight only 24 hours before due to a back injury.
Lipinets started fast, working Insong’s body in the first. A beautiful counter left hook dropped Insong in the second. He rose to his feet on wobbly legs, but referee Jay Nady had seen enough, halting the action.
Luis Nery stops Juan Carlos Payano with body shot in the ninth
Undefeated Luis Nery extended his KO streak to 11, putting former world champion—and fellow southpaw—Juan Carlos Payano away with a crunching left to the liver at 1:43 of the ninth round.
Payano (21-3, 9 KOs) fought on even terms over the first half of the bout. Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) began figuring him out in the sixth. He took over down the stretch, countering Payano to the body. In the ninth, he landed a single left cross to Payano’s side. Payano crumpled to the canvas, writhing on the floor as referee Vic Drakulich counted him out.
For a closer look at Pacquiao vs Thurman, check out our fight night page.