By Keith Idec (photo by Ryan Hafey)
LAS VEGAS – Keith Thurman thought he was closing the gap on the scorecards as he and Manny Pacquiao pushed toward the championship rounds Saturday night.
Once Pacquiao caught him with that hard left hook to the body in the middle of the 10th round, however, Thurman determined that he’d have to do something comparably noticeable if he was going to sway the judges before their 12-rounder ended. The former WBA welterweight champion couldn’t do that and lost a split decision to the 40-year-old Pacquiao at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti scored their fantastic fight for Pacquiao by the identical distance (115-112). Judge Glenn Feldman favored Thurman, 114-113, in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event.
“I felt like I was grabbing some momentum back and in that moment, you know, I knew it was gonna be difficult to really get the judges back on my side for the remainder of the championship rounds,” Thurman said during the post-fight press conference. “My coach, Dan Birmingham, said, ‘You’ve gotta win every round.’ I felt like I needed to possibly get a knockdown. I think I ended the 10th kind of back with some trades, back to Manny.
“But, you know, I definitely was obviously hurt in that round. And, I mean, it was a close fight. That’s what boxing’s all about. You just never know what’s really gonna happen. You know, obviously he was well-prepared. He was in shape. I tried to push him to his limit, and he came out on top.”
Thurman likened the body shot Pacquiao landed to the left Luis Collazo caught him with late in the fifth round of their July 2015 fight in Tampa, Florida. Collazo’s body shot landed late in that round, though, whereas Pacquiao’s punch impacted Thurman about halfway through the 10th round.
“It was a good body shot,” Thurman said. “It reminded me of the Luis Collazo [body shot]. It was slightly under the solarplex. It was slightly under the rib. And it probably caught me in a breathing moment. You know, I just wanted to recover from it. I knew he was gonna put some pressure on me. I wanted to see if he would walk into anything, but you know, he’s very wise in there. He takes his time, he’s patient.
“I really think that I could’ve pulled the fight closer to a draw without that body shot because the later rounds were definitely starting to go my way. But there’s many, many times in the sport of boxing where one [punch] changes the course of the outcome. So, for me, he started with the knockdown in the first and that body shot there, later, and it was hard to convince the judges that I did enough.”
Cheatham and Moretti scored the 10th and 12th rounds for the Philippines’ Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs). Feldman credited Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) for winning the 11th and 12th rounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.