BoxingManny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao can once again change how we view his legendary career with a win over Keith Thurman

Pacquiao has an inconceivable shot to further alter how we remember him

With his 2010 victory over Antonio Margarito to claim a vacant junior middleweight world title, Manny Pacquiao likely authored the first line of his boxing legacy by becoming the only fighter in history to win world titles in eight different divisions. Five years later, the Filipino icon almost certainly added the second line when he finally faced off against Floyd Mayweather and came up short in the biggest and richest fight of the modern era.

Yet here we are, an astonishing 24 years and 70 fights into his pro career and Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), at 40, somehow isn’t done figuring out exactly how we’ll remember him as a fighter entering Saturday’s pay-per-view showdown with WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Fox PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

As impressive as it would be to defeat a dangerous and unbeaten fighter in his prime, a victory over the 30-year-old Thurman wouldn’t necessarily boost Pacquiao, already an all-time great, in any kind of dramatic way to a higher rank historically. It certainly could, however, add a competing narrative to a legacy that’s most known for Pacquiao’s dramatic rise in weight throughout his career and his ability to carry his power along with him.

Respect box? Subscribe to our podcast — State of Combat with Brian Campbell — where we take an in-depth look at the world of boxing each week, including a complete preview of Pacquiao-Thurman at the 44:05 mark below.

Manny Pacquiao can once again change how we view his legendary career with  a win over Keith Thurman -

Should he prove able to compete on even terms with the top welterweights of today in this historically deep era and continue to win, it’s a wonder whether the ideas of longevity and reinvention will become the first thing historians think about when Pacquiao’s name is mentioned in the decades to follow him.

Boxers who begin their careers at such a small weight simply don’t last as long as Pacquiao has, mostly because of their reliance on speed to remain relevant the more they climb in weight. Somehow, even at 40, Pacquiao has remained the quicker opponent in terms of both hand and foot speed against seemingly everyone he has faced not named Mayweather.

For a fighter who turned pro at the age of 16 in the 108-pound division, it’s almost inconceivable that he’d still be competing nine divisions higher nearly a quarter century later. Yet Saturday’s fight isn’t about an aging Pacquiao selling his name for one last payday so he can sacrifice himself to a younger name primed to take over a new era. Ultimately, that’s the part that makes this so incredible, the fact that Pacquiao will enter the ring against Thurman as the betting favorite.

“We know that a lot of our fans and people in boxing were doubting my capability at the age of 40,” Pacquiao said during last week’s media teleconference. “So I have to prove something this time because at the age of 40 I’m not thinking about my age. I’m thinking about what I can do for the fans.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button