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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Pacquiao-Thurman, Whyte-Rivas)

Manny Pacquiao proved he's still a top welterweight with a hard-fought split decision over Keith Thurman.
22
Jul

PACQUIAO-THURMAN

Dougie,

I thought my fellow St. Pete resident, Keith Thurman, gave a good account of himself last night. Many pundits and supposed boxing fans are saying he is garbage and overrated in the first place. This is a man who faced the top welterweights and won (although very closely) before he was injured. He had the time off and correctly did not want to immediately face Errol Spence or another top flight welterweight. Josesito Lopez is always game, but obviously shocked Keith and everyone else when he had him so hurt in the 7th round of their fight. Keith survived and no one including Josesito questioned the outcome of the fight.

Now he faced a legendary fighter who, although his skills aren’t at their peak, is more accustomed to the big-fight atmosphere than any other active fighter. I believe he was slightly overwhelmed with the atmosphere, especially after the first knockdown, and yet still gave the fans a good fight. That is nothing to be embarrassed about, nor is it grounds for devaluing his entire career.

That being said, Manny Pacquiao showed again last night why he is a living legend. Although he was hit cleanly more than I have seen him be hit in years, he pressed the action against a bigger and younger fighter and clearly hurt Thurman on at least two occasions. I thought the fight was close, but I felt that Pacquiao was ahead and looked less damaged at the end.

Instead of spending all the energy debating whether or not this will bring Mayweather out of retirement or if Manny will fight the Porter-Spence victor, we should focus on the example that all the young fighters should learn from him. Manny Pacquiao has faced tough opponents and been the underdog (including his coming out fight against Ledwaba) many times too. That is what inspires fans and creates a legend inspite of having losses on your record. The young fighters have taken Floyd Mayweather’s stay-undefeated and take-little-risk blueprint, and the sport has suffered as a result.

This victory by Pacquiao is special because he not only faced a younger and larger opponent, but one who had skills and could have easily beaten him if he was not at his best. He is far from the dynamic whirlwind of punches that defeated Morales, De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Clottey, and Margarito in his classic run, but he is not afraid to challenge himself and still rise to the occasion to win big fights.

That is admirable, as is the humility he demonstrates before and after fights and the respect he shows his opponents. I truly feel that Keith Thurman learned a lesson from Pacquiao about humility and was responsible for his classy response to the loss after the fight. Two champions showing heart & skill and then being sportsmen afterwards. It was a good night for boxing and we should appreciate it. Now onto the questions:

  1. Wouldn’t this be a perfect way for Pacquiao to end his career? I wouldn’t begrudge him another huge payday if he can coax Mayweather into the ring again, but I personally wouldn’t watch that farce.
  2. What should be Keith Thurman’s next step? I think he should rebuild his confidence and fully shake off the rust before he takes on the top welterweights. An Adrien Broner fight could be a good way to generate interest without facing an opponent who is too dangerous.
  3. Mythical Matchups- Pacquiao-Pryor @140. Pacquiao-Whitaker @147. Whitaker-Curry (of 1985) @147

Thanks, Dougie. – Greg from St. Pete

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions, Greg. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you.

Mythical matchups: I’ll take Pryor by close decision in a great (brutal) fight, Sweet Pea by close (maybe unpopular) UD, and Whitaker by an up-from-the-canvas MD in a difficult fight for the defensive wizard.

What should be next for Thurman? Respect from the hardcore boxing community, but we know that’s not going to happen, so, yeah, a high-profile rebound fight against a well-known young vet (and showman) Adrien Broner makes a lot of sense. The PBC might even be able to sell that matchup as a PPV main event (or the co-feature to a bigger/better fight) but I think it would be great as a prime-time FOX headliner. I think the network would do sensational ratings for Thurman-Broner. Sergey Lipinets is also an option (but a much tougher fight in my opinion and a less-marketable matchup).

And, yes, I think Saturday night’s triumph over Thurman is a PERFECT swan song for Pacquiao, but you and I both know that he’s a prize fighter at heart and loves being in the ring, so the senator is probably going to stick around for at least a few more years. He’ll probably lose a few more times, might even get KTFO again, but I don’t think he’ll pull a Roy Jones Jr. and excruciatingly drag the twilight out forever.

I thought my fellow St. Pete resident, Keith Thurman, gave a good account of himself last night. Hey, he didn’t win it like I thought he could, but he (and Pacquaio) made it a fight to remember. It was legitimately competitive. I had it seven rounds to five for Senator PacMan or 115-112 (with the opening round knockdown he scored). Had Thurman not started so hard and gotten caught in Round 1, who knows how the fight would have played out? But Thurman got up from the knockdown, was bamboozled (as most are) by Pac’s style for the next few rounds, but then gradually began to figure out the legendary veteran by the middle-to-late rounds. Again, I gotta wonder how the fight would’ve played out had Thurmy not gotten hurt to the body in Round 10.

Many pundits and supposed boxing fans are saying he is garbage and overrated in the first place. Whatever. Keith rubs a lot of slobs out there in the Twitterverse the wrong way. But even with a loss to Pacquiao, he’s still got a better welterweight resume than Errol Spence and Terence Crawford (the two guys they claim he’s ducked). And Thurmy’s detractors know this.

Now he faced a legendary fighter who, although his skills aren’t at their peak, is more accustomed to the big-fight atmosphere than any other active fighter. True. Pac’s been in more mega-PPV main events than Thurman’s had title bouts. Keith has been the headliner to a couple big fights (vs. Porter and Garcia) but nothing like he experienced with the Pacquiao media circus. But going through this will make an even more mature professional than he already was.

I believe he was slightly overwhelmed with the atmosphere, especially after the first knockdown, and yet still gave the fans a good fight. It’s one thing to analyze Pac’s style from outside of the ring, quite another to experience in it (I’ve been told by his former opponents and sparring partners). I agree that Thurman was a little too keyed up at the bell and was momentarily shocked when he got dumped on his ass. But he deals with adversity, as he’s shown in past fights and in Round 10.

That is nothing to be embarrassed about, nor is it grounds for devaluing his entire career. S__t! It’s something to be PROUD of! I was more impressed with Thurman’s performance against Pacquiao than I was of his winning efforts vs. Porter and Garcia. Any so-called boxing fan that would crap on Thurman after the fight he put up against Pacquiao is just a schmuck.

That being said, Manny Pacquiao showed again last night why he is a living legend. Yes, he was magnificent. I might have to reevaluate my previous stance on his all-time rating.

Instead of spending all the energy debating whether or not this will bring Mayweather out of retirement or if Manny will fight the Porter-Spence victor, we should focus on the example that all the young fighters should learn from him. Indeed. I’m glad he joined the PBC because he can show the still-in-their-prime titleholders and contenders of that organization how a real prize fighter goes about his business. Manny’s all about making good money and being part of a big event, but he puts the sport first and generally goes after the top fighters in his weight class (including threats). The PBC welterweight pool had become stagnant. It took an “old man” enter the fray and mix things up.

Manny Pacquiao has faced tough opponents and been the underdog (including his coming out fight against Ledwaba) many times too. That is what inspires fans and creates a legend in spite of having losses on your record. Yes Sir! Losing is not a sin when you challenge yourself and put forth your best effort.

The young fighters have taken Floyd Mayweather’s stay-undefeated and take-little-risk blueprint, and the sport has suffered as a result. Preach! It’s not too late to save boxing’s soul.

This victory by Pacquiao is special because he not only faced a younger and larger opponent, but one who had skills and could have easily beaten him if he was not at his best. Agreed. And Pac was in the absolute best shape (mental/physical) and technical form that he could be at his age, and he still had to dig deep to beat Thurman.

I truly feel that Keith Thurman learned a lesson from Pacquiao about humility and was responsible for his classy response to the loss after the fight. That’s a good lesson to learn (as Thurmy admitted during his post-fight interview). As Coach Schwartz says, ALWAYS TAKE THE HIGH ROAD.

Two champions showing heart & skill and then being sportsmen afterwards. That combination is the recipe for a perfect big fight experience. I watched the fight in mixed company (old and young, men and women, hardcore fans and casuals) and everybody left the party excited about what they’d just watched, buzzing about the sport and what might be next for BOTH fighters, and content. That’s the way it should be.

 

WHO CAN PAC KO?

Doug –

Is there anyone in The Ring’s 147-pound top 10 you could see Manny stopping? – Kevin Key, Duluth, Mn

Hmmmm… he’s a badass but he’s long-in-the-tooth, Kevy Kev. I don’t expect prize fighters to score many stoppages by their late 30s (even if they were known for their power during their primes). Greats like Ray Robinson, Archie Moore and George Foreman were freaks of nature.

Looking at Ring Magazine’s top 10, I don’t see any soft chins for Manny to exploit. Everyone said Thurman was “fragile,” but he took a licking and kept on ticking. The top five that he’s a part of is comprised of talented-AND-durable cats. He might be able to stop No. 8 Egidijus Kavaliauskas or No. 10 Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, but who knows? While limited and/or untested, those two might be as tough as it is to spell and pronounce their names.

 

MANNY SHINES ONE MORE TIME

Hi Doug,

Cracking good scrap Saturday night. I am a little stingy with my pay per view dollars these days, but I had to see this one. Could the young undefeated lion send the old veteran into retirement? I wasn’t sure going in just what might happen. Both men came out with purpose but from the outset it was flashes of the Manny of old. The hand speed, the footwork, the angles… and the knockdown (shocker)! You know Thurman was surprised and embarrassed. I figured Thurman would adjust and then take it to Manny and just impose his youth on the older guy. Manny wasn’t having any of it. I remember Thurman bleeding and stumbling back to his corner after the fifth. I don’t mean to suggest that it was all Manny. Thurman had his moments and landed good shots along the ropes and at ring center, but they never seemed to visibly bother Manny who would beckon Thurman in after taking a hard shot. That left to Thurman’s body in the 10th was a real surprise. I have never seen Thurman visibly hurt like that. It was a rumble to the last bell.

When the judges scores were read, once again we had one blind judge, but thankfully truth prevailed. Pacquiao got his well-deserved win. Thurman was a gentleman and gracious in defeat making no excuses. His face showed the power of Manny’s punches. They way he looked in the dressing room interview was startling.

Unfortunately, when Manny could take this opportunity to retire on a very high note, no… he plans to fight on. The only high-profile bouts in the division left are Spence, Crawford or Porter. All three are bad ideas. I think Spence or Crawford would put some real hurt on him and Porter would be an ugly brawling wrestling match. I am afraid Manny will just fight until some young hungry fighter stretches him out like Marquez did. That would be sad to see. Do you think after last night that Floyd (who was ringside) might jump back in the mix? Not saying I want that but it would still draw big numbers and would be less of a health risk than the top guys I mentioned. What’s your take my friend? – David, Nashville

I think if Al Haymon and company can entice Mayweather back to the boxing ring against Pacquiao they will do so. I have to figure that when the PBC inked their four-year deal with FOX (which includes a $60 million annual budget) they did so with the promise that they’d not only provide top boxing programming but also make the network money by staging big PPV events – and nothing would be bigger than #MayPac2 (ugh, I just threw up a little bit). So, if Floyd wants to do a rematch, it will be there for him.

I agree that Mayweather is a “safer” matchup for Pacquiao than Spence, Crawford or Porter, but even the 40-year-old version of the Filipino superhero is a risk-taker. He’s not afraid of hard fights, or taking an ass whupping, or even getting KTFO. (If he were, he would have retired after Marquez cold cocked him December 2012.)

I understand your worry for the future first-ballot hall of famer. Boxing is very dangerous contact sport. What happened to Maxim Dadashev on Friday is a sobering and depressing reminder of that fact. So, pray for him and hope that he’s got good people around him to tell him when to say “no” to a challenge (or when to call it a career), because Manny doesn’t know when he’s had enough. Fighters seldom do.

Cracking good scrap Saturday night. I am a little stingy with my pay per view dollars these days, but I had to see this one. Good choice. The main event delivered. I don’t blame you for being stingy, though. We’ve had four PPVs in the past eight months with Spence vs. Porter on tap for September and at least one more before the end of 2019.

Thurman started fast and hard but Pacquiao took control of the bout with an opening round knockdown. Photo by Ethan Miller-Getty Images

Both men came out with purpose but from the outset it was flashes of the Manny of old. The hand speed, the footwork, the angles… and the knockdown (shocker)! You know Thurman was surprised and embarrassed. Um, yeah, the smile he flashed while he was on his ass kinda gave that away. Welcome to the Big League, Keith.

I figured Thurman would adjust and then take it to Manny and just impose his youth on the older guy. So did I. It’s a really good thing I don’t gamble or bet on fights.

Manny wasn’t having any of it. No, he wasn’t. I think Thurman woke up a sleeping tiger by taking it to him as hard as he did in the opening round. And he continued to do so every time he landed a big shot to Manny’s melon-sized head.

I remember Thurman bleeding and stumbling back to his corner after the fifth. By this point in the fight, I was thinking he needed to either get some instant respect with a monster punch or begin to figure out Manny’s style, and it turned out to be the latter, as he started finding his timing and spots in Round 6. He wasn’t able to hurt Pac with one big punch, but he was able to put hands on the Senator. I thought Thurman won Rounds 7-9.

That left to Thurman’s body in the 10th was a real surprise. I have never seen Thurman visibly hurt like that. He’s been hurt like that to the body before. See his 2015 fight with Luis Collazo. He’s been rocked and visibly hurt in several fights, but he always sucks it up and survives.

It was a rumble to the last bell. Yeah, I thought it was a really satisfying final round to a surprisingly good fight.

When the judges scores were read, once again we had one blind judge, but thankfully truth prevailed. I think the most rounds one could give Thurman is six, which would have him losing the fight by one punch, and that’s still giving him too much benefit of the doubt in every close round. Scoring seven rounds for my man is just a bad night of judging.

Thurman was a gentleman and gracious in defeat making no excuses. That’s the only way to be.

His face showed the power of Manny’s punches. The way he looked in the dressing room interview was startling. His face is often battered and swollen after fights.

 

DOES PAC MOVE AHEAD OF FLOYD IN ATG RANKINGS?

Does this win (at this age) rank Pac ahead of Floyd as an all-time great?

To me it does, especially since Manny fought, and beat, more fighters at their peak. – Omar

I ranked both Pacquiao and Mayweather (along with several other super-standouts of the past 25 years, such as Roy Jones Jr., James Toney, Oscar De La Hoya and Marco Antonio Barrera) outside of the top 30 of “modern greats” as defined (at the time) by the IBHOF (so, not including any boxer who had their last fight prior to 1943) when I participated in a Ring Magazine poll in 2014.

Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas. Photo by Mikey Williams-Top Rank

The poll took place before Mayweather outpointed Pacquiao, so at the time, I had Manny slightly ahead of Floyd. After their fight, I placed Mayweather slightly ahead of Pacquiao. But since the “Billion-Dollar-Sparring-Session,” Pacquiao has notched victories over Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and now Thurman (and most observers thought he deserved the nod against Jeff Horn). Mayweather beat Andre Berto and Conor McGregor after the “Mega-Dud.” So, given Manny’s body of work – mainly his round robin with that fabulous Mexican trio of Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales at 126 and 130 pounds between 2003-2008 – his welterweight title reigns, and becoming one of the oldest major beltholders ever with the Thurman victory, I would definitely rank him ahead of his nemesis and in my top 20-30 “modern greats.”  

 

NO SCHOOL LIKE THE OLD SCHOOL

Hi Dougie,

Hope you the family and team are all well.

Manny Pacquiao turned back the years last night. He was just brilliant. Can’t really fault Thurman, he was just beaten by the better man on the night. Nice to see class from Thurman after the fight. No excuses and the guts to put his “0” on the line. Massive respect.

Next for Pacman? I hear you when you say he’s old school and will want a crack at the top dogs, Spence and Crawford. If he can put on a performance like that against Spence, assuming Spence gets past Porter, I favour Manny to pull off a win, in a closer fight than we saw last night. Spence is special talent, but Manny’s just got too much I think. Spence has never had to deal with that type of speed or pressure Manny can bring.

Crawford is another matter I think. IMHO as good as Manny was on Sat night, this is still a “faded” version of the Pacman of yesteryear. And anything less won’t be enough against Crawford I feel.

Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing either. All good fights based on what we saw from Manny last night, and Spence and Crawford certainly deserve a shot at a legend like Manny.

However there’s the reported 7 figure $ carrot to fight Khan in the Middle East. Would love to have seen this a few years ago, but can’t see today’s version Khan hanging with today’s version of Manny.

Dillian Whyte. What a fight! This guy always delivers value for money and fan friendly fights. Rivas was dangerous until the last second, but Whyte’s physical advantages and experience at a higher level saw him to the win I think. Rivas is good and will improve with the experience he gained last night, but I think he’ll struggle against the likes of AJ, Wilder and Fury due to the size difference. He needs to learn to get into the pocket better/quicker and do the damage. Maybe watch some Manny Pacquiao or Mike Tyson videos.

So Whyte is WBC mandatory now.

Would have loved to have seen Whyte Vs Wilder!! Both their styles and personalities would have clashed. I’m glad he’ll get the winner of Wilder Vs Fury, but can’t help feeling that if AJ gets past Ruiz, he’ll want the winner next year.

There are so many ways this can play out. Just hope Dillian gets the justice he deserves and a crack at the title.

Derek Chisora. What a chilling knockout! Also it came earlier than Wilder delivered against the same guy. What next for him? As much as I like Usyk Vs Takam, Usyk Vs Chisora would be brilliant.

Also if Usyk’s planning on exercising his right to challenge for the WBA HW strap an introduction to the HW division against Chisora will see him well.

Loma Vs Campbell announced. It’s a big ask for Campbell but a good fight. I like Campbell. He’s got good skill, speed and a good engine. But Loma is a special special talent. How you calling it?

I’ll stop it there, as I went on a bit in my last letter according to the comments. Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Thanks, Tabraze. The comment section crew can be harsh at times, but they have a point. Sometimes less is more. Anyway, I favor Lomachenko by unanimous decision in a careful boxing match that makes him look human (which will encourage a legion of twisted trolls to take to social media to declare that he’s overrated and undeserving of his perch atop the P4P rankings).

Bring on Usyk vs. Chisora. Dereck remains the most formidable and reliable gatekeeper in the heavyweight division. However, as bold and talented as Usyk is, I wouldn’t be shocked if he challenged Whyte for his heavyweight debut. (He was no doubt scouting on Saturday at O2 Arena.) And I wouldn’t be shocked if Chisora accepted a third shot at lineal champ Tyson Fury in September in Las Vegas (or some other part of the U.S.) It’s past time Chisora visit this side of the Pond.

Next for Pacman? The Senate of the Philippines!

I hear you when you say he’s old school and will want a crack at the top dogs, Spence and Crawford. Manny gives no f___s. He ain’t scared of these young bucks. (Hey, that rhymed.)

If he can put on a performance like that against Spence, assuming Spence gets past Porter, I favour Manny to pull off a win, in a closer fight than we saw last night. DUDE! If Pacquaio can beat Spence at age 40 (or 41, he has a birthday in December) he probably crashes my top 10 all-time great rankings. I would be in shock.

Spence is special talent, but Manny’s just got too much I think. Spence has never had to deal with that type of speed or pressure Manny can bring. Yeah, but if Thurman can figure Pac out by the mid-rounds, so can Spence, and I don’t think the Texan would get dropped in the opening round. Spence is rangier than Thurman and he fires straight punches and works off his jab a lot better than Keith, who was able to catch Manny once he got his jab off and started countering with his straight right.

Crawford is another matter I think. IMHO as good as Manny was on Sat night, this is still a “faded” version of the Pacman of yesteryear. And anything less won’t be enough against Crawford I feel. I feel ya. Bud is all wrong for Pacquiao (maybe for any 147 pounder).

Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing either. All good fights based on what we saw from Manny last night, and Spence and Crawford certainly deserve a shot at a legend like Manny. Agreed, although a part of me would like to see Senator Pac stroll off into the sunset.

However there’s the reported 7 figure $ carrot to fight Khan in the Middle East. Whatever Khan and the Middle East offers Pac, I’m sure Uncle Al will at least double it to get him in the ring with the Spence-Porter winner or Danny Garcia (and Manny can write his own check if You Know Who comes out of retirement).

Let’s go, baby!

Dillian Whyte. What a fight! This guy always delivers value for money and fan friendly fights. We’d love to see him here in the U.S. Joseph Parker on DAZN or Kubrat Pulev on ESPN. Let’s get it! LET’S GO, BABY! LET’S GO!!!!!

Rivas was dangerous until the last second, but Whyte’s physical advantages and experience at a higher level saw him to the win I think. Whyte has evolved into a legit top-five contender during his 10-bout win streak since the lone loss of his pro career (the TKO to Anthony Joshua). He’s relaxed but focused, he understands how to control both distance and fight tempo with his jab, he’s accurate with his right hands and hooks, and downright vicious with his body punches. He would have broken down a lot of really good heavyweights, Larry Holmes-style, but the Colombian is a tough, rugged nut.

Rivas is good and will improve with the experience he gained last night, but I think he’ll struggle against the likes of AJ, Wilder and Fury due to the size difference. He’s solid fringe contender/spoiler. Whoever fights him, I don’t care how talented they may be, cannot afford to lose focus for even a split second. Dude is dangerous.

So Whyte is WBC mandatory now. Yeah? And what does that mean? I don’t see the WBC granting him that shot at Wilder until AFTER the proposed Wilder-Fury rematch next year.

Would have loved to have seen Whyte Vs Wilder!! Both their styles and personalities would have clashed. I’d definitely be into that matchup. Who wouldn’t be?

I’m glad he’ll get the winner of Wilder Vs Fury… Will he? I got two words for ya if the Wilder-Fury winner ain’t interested in Dillian: FRANCHISE CHAMPION!

… but can’t help feeling that if AJ gets past Ruiz, he’ll want the winner next year. Of course! Will the winner want him?

Just hope Dillian gets the justice he deserves and a crack at the title. Yeah, let’s beat the drums and push for it to happen while he’s still in his prime.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

 

 

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