Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao rolled back the years to become the oldest welterweight champion in boxing history with a thrilling split decision win over WBA champion Keith Thurman on Saturday, July 20 (Sunday, July 21, Philippine time).
The 40-year-old Pacquiao, 10 years younger than the earlier unbeaten Thurman, produced a vintage performance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to leave the sell-out crowd of 14,356 roaring its approval, including former welterweight king Floyd Mayweather.]
Pacquiao floored Thurman in the 1st round with an electrifying combo and stayed on the front foot throughout a pulsating 12-round duel.
Although the bloodied Thurman rallied to narrow Pacquiao’s lead in the subsequent rounds, it was scored by the judges in favor of the Filipino. Two judges scored it 115-112 for Pacquiao with the final score 114-113 for Thurman.
A jubilant Pacquiao punched the air as the arena erupted after the victory had been verified.
Pacquiao said that it was fun and his opponent is a good fighter and boxer. Thurman had riled Pacquiao in the build-up to the fight by vowing to crucify his deeply religious opponent, and later promising to send the Filipino icon into retirement.
Pacquiao, who with 39 knockouts improved to 62-7-2, was gracious in victory.
Pacquiao, who gained an estimated $20 million from Saturday’s battle, is now once again a significant player in the competitive welterweight division after winning the super champion belt of Thurman’s WBA welterweight.