Pacquiao Vs Thurman [Vol.III]: Pacland
WBA regular ass champion Senator Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39KOs) is something along those lines with a legendary asterisk, at least in the mind of unbeaten Keith “One-Time” Thurman (29-0, 22KOs), the WBA’s “super” titleholder at welterweight.
The point of their own unification– in a division divided by promotional division to prevent actual unification, is to find out if Thurman is a “Future Legend” as a result of the eight division world champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20 via FOX PPV on PBC. We will absolutely find out if “Pac-Man” has enough superpower left to gobble the psychedelic ghosts of Thurman to expose him as a myth, or if Thurman introduces what has been a classic ring videogame to an emphatic “Game Over.”
Something has to give and it will.
This past Thursday night I received an alert from Facebook that read “Manny Pacquiao is Live.” Without much thought I tuned in. There, about 10,000 or so fans witnessed a very festive setting with Pacquiao up close in the camera. A man from his sizable entourage with a rather funny accent kept saying things in broken english, puncutated by what sounded like, “Manny Pacquiao, pound-fry-pound!” You see Manny and the entire room burst into genuine laughter, along with myself and I suspect many others too, from wherever they are in the world. You got the sense that he’d just left the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live! in a “Manny Knows” t-shirt adorned with a Nike Swoosh, and that maybe he’d just left the Wild Card Gym in that dangerous section of LA just outside of Hollywood on Vine St and Santa Monica Blvd. It all seemed like old times, but this often happens with fighters who ‘kinda look like’ themselves. That is, right up until the point where the bell rings and the fighter just seems… old. So many things tell me that a decade has gone by since 2009, even as he’s wowed at times while observing his preparation for Thurman.
Energetic sidekick “Pac-Man the Dog”, an indefatigable Jack Russell Terrier, wanted nothing to do with training camp for Jessie Vargas in late 2016 and has decided to stay in the damn Philippines. Forever. There will be no more appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live. At all. And we all know why Nike long ago abandoned him.
A man of intense pride– in a month that’s celebrated it, the Filipino icon has seen all kinds of wounded variety assertions thrown his way: former promoter turned bitter rival Bob Arum expressing concern over possible brain damage facing Thurman at age 40, while citing the plights of Zab Judah and Adonis Stevenson; Thurman’s own diabolical indifference while dropping an edict to “crucify” him– an obvious reference to his Christian faith, with arrogant disregard for any sacrificial sentiment. In some circles, at least by implication [it says here], those combined remarks could Trump statements considered ‘worse than animals’ if you will.
In June 2012, an intolerant and defiant Pacquiao renounced Catholicism and acted ‘presidential’ with President Barack Obama during an oval office sitdown. Then a Congressman in the Philippines, a vocal Senator Harry Reid almost demanded a congressional hearing in protest of the blatant robbery that saw judges award Timothy Bradley his WBO welterweight belt. I thought Pacquiao won nine rounds, and wondered aloud whether Helen Keller would’ve detected the scent of a political rat caught in the cheese of a fix from vibration alone.
Months later, Yahoo Sports veteran Kevin Iole submitted a fair OpEd about what appeared to be an almost bionic 40 year-old Juan Manuel Marquez on the eve of his classic “One-Time” bombing of Pacquiao, rendering the 2012 campaign of the eight division world champion a year of two potential wrongs– resulting in an extreme right.
The Bobfather was able to get Top Rank retribution courtesy of a faux proxy in the form of PBC star Errol Spence, when he (eh mmm..) “crucified” a recalcitrant Mikey Garcia over 12 punishing rounds at AT&T Stadium on March 16 for leaving the reservation in favor of PBC. Pacquiao, by comparison, blew up a plantation and booked reservations on the island of Al Haymon, who’s all but rolled out the red carpet and treated Senator Pacquiao like a man who’s appeared on the cover of Time magazine (he has).
Freddie Roach, stand up guy who gave myself and ‘Pulp Fiction’ partner “Wiggy” a little Wild Card Gym respite after jumping a pimp who was strangling a prostitute in front of the LAPD around the corner from the world famous gym back in May 2017, knows how seriously to not take Arum’s concern about Pacquiao’s well being. “You mean the same Bob Arum that wanted to use Manny for a Terence Crawford fight?” said Roach, in response to ‘brain damage’ concerns while stating Pacquiao looks “phenomenal” with only weeks to go before July 20. “And he would obviously tell you that Crawford is better than Thurman, right? That just goes to show you he’s a promoter and will never stop being a lawyer. He can’t help it.”
Conversely, he also knows to not take the effusive praise of Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe too seriously. A masterful reverse psychologist vastly underrated for Floyd Mayweather’s unparalleled success, Ellerbe told Fight Hub and a throng of indie reporters that Keith Thurman has “Got shit fucked up” if he thinks he can knock out and end Pacquiao’s career, while extolling the virtues of a legend.
“Manny Pacquiao has seen every style there is out there. He’s fought everybody in this decade and the decade before that. And we know what he brings to the table, so there’s nothing that Keith Thurman can bring to the table that he hasn’t already seen. So come July 20th, Manny Pacquiao gone show y’all what he’s all about if you don’t already know.”
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Promotions CEO
Well I’ve seen a few different styles of vehicles from Mayweather Promotions that I’ve never seen before in Tampa, and can tell you first hand they’re spectacular. I can also tell you that Keith Thurman isn’t training at a local LA Fitness in Los Angeles by himself this time, as was the case for Josesito Lopez; which saw him nearly fall off of an imagined Max Kellerman cliff in the seventh round. Thurman is training uner the epitome of technology at ASPI (Applied Science & Performance Institute) in Tampa, under the tutelage of Yo Murphy. Curiously enough, Ellerbe supported the then 38 year-old Mayweather’s demand that conditional to his fight with a 36 year-old Pacquiao in May 2015 (at least five years after the public demanded it), that Pacquiao was required to submit to an extensive battery of testing by USADA (United States Anti Doping Agency), which after all the hoopla, was an agency used by Mayweather since his May 2010 comeback masterpiece over Shane Mosley.
Still, USADA was not and is not considered superior to VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency), which has conducted testing in all of Pacquiao’s fights since his November 2013 comeback wipeout of Brandon Rios in China. Two things of note on this topic:
#1. Mayweather was found to be in violation of anti-doping rules on the eve of his much delayed bout with Pacquiao due to banned IV’s administered to a fighter that didn’t fit the description of dehydrated at all, something well chronicled in the scathingly detailed report by Thomas Hauser, which has never been refuted.
#2. The last time Pacquiao did not use VADA, USADA or just flat out zip-zada aka “nada”, was the aforementioned Pacquiao/Marquez IV in December 2012. “If (Marquez’s body) is natural, I will kiss his ass… (Marquez) has gotten bigger and gained weight– it throws up a red flag,” sprayed Roach, upon seeing the result of Marquez and a training camp lead by the vilified Angel “Memo” Heredia.
Considering he’d seen Marquez go 36 rounds of combat with Pacquiao prior to that, his statement, as a Hall of Fame trainer, was in fact a “red flag” in itself. And while a battered Marquez on the cusp of being KO’d went on to electrocute Pacquiao in the 6th, given historical precedent and the particulars involved with this July 20 event (Mayweather Promotions, Arum’s ‘brain damage’ concerns and Thurman’s new scientific approach), one would think that every precaution would be taken into consideration by Team Pacquiao. This isn’t to suggest anything nefarious in conjunction with Mayweather Promotions, Top Rank, ASPI or Thurman (who has absolutely never been connected with any impropriety whatsoever), but in light of what took place with a critically injured Adonis Stevenson at the hands of a much younger Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and more recently with Zab Judah– whose brain was bludgeoned by Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin resulting in major swelling, and there’s more than enough precedent on the table for a Congressman turned Senator to have more oversight concerning any additional advantage(s) for an unbeaten world champion a full decade younger. PBC and Al Haymon have a strong history of using VADA in elite championship fights, and it’s very surprising to me that VADA will not be used on July 20.
But this is the same Pacquiao determined maul whatever version of Marquez that Juan Manuel considered his best, with the aid of Dr. David Banner be damned. He genuinely does not care what Keith Thurman does under any circumstances– I peeped the “Thanks for the donation” response to Elie Sechbach for EsNews, when he revealed TMZ cameras caught Thurman claiming he placed 10K on himself to stop him within 3 rounds. Since Pacquiao seems to be the same contemplatively irate warrior on the cusp of Marquez IV, this would seem to be his Marquez V sans preservatives or hubris. A rigidity in movement and an overall tightness in athleticism that marked the first two weeks in camp genuinely seems GONE, and I’ve watched hours of tape from Pacquiao for this camp, easily his best since Chris Algieri in late 2014. If they give a damn at the Wild Card Gym, the unofficial US “Pacland” for the all-time great, they’re certainly not saying or acting like it at all. Lead trainer Buboy Fernandez and strength/conditioning coach Justin Fortune sneered at reports of the wager at offered to up the ante. Roach dropped that Thurman hits “Like a girl”, which is really a glue trap on the floor for: “Don’t run from me son!” Speaking of Algieri, I’ll confirm this in a few days, but I’m expecting Thurman to be some sort of hybrid Timothy Bradley in ring IQ with elements of Juan Manuel Marquez, that should add up to an irascible Chris Algieri– whatever that means on July 20. We’ll see.
Up next, Pacquiao Vs Thurman [Vol IV]: Woodstock
Iole article for Pac/Marquez IV re:https://sports.yahoo.com/news/boxing–juan-manuel-marquez-newfound-muscle-raises-questions-about-ped-use-manny-pacquiao-200532499.html
Hauser report on Floyd: re: https://www.sbnation.com/longform/2015/9/9/9271811/can-boxing-trust-usada