Manny Pacquiao rolled back the years Saturday night to beat Keith Thurman by split decision in a completely competitive, back-and-forth, action-packed welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 40-year-old Filipino, previously the WBA’s world welterweight champion, becomes the oldest welterweight champion after capturing WBA’s “super” 147-pound crown from Thurman in a gripping clash in Las Vegas.
Two judges – Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti – scored their fight for Pacquiao by the same margin (115-112). Judge Glenn Feldman scored the fantastic fight for the previously undefeated Thurman, 114-113.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) knocked down Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) with a right hook late in the first round.
He also bloodied Thurman’s nose with a right hand in the fifth round and hurt Thurman badly with a left hook to the body during the 10th round.
Nevertheless, nearly six months after a somewhat troublesome performance against Josesito Lopez, the 30-year-old Thurman redeemed himself with a commendable, gritty outing against Pacquiao.
True to form, the Filipino legend paid tribute to his opponent in the post-fight interview.
“He’s a good boxer, he’s strong,” says Pacquiao, who becomes the oldest holder of a major welterweight title in boxing history.
“I was blessed tonight.”
Thurman, upbeat in defeat, calls Pacquiao “truly great” as says he would love a rematch.
“I wish I had a little more output to go toe to toe with him,” Thurman says. “My condition, my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao.”