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Pacquiao vs Thurman (Vol. IV): Woodstock

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Previously, on Pacquiao Vs Thurman [Vol.III]: Pacland, my forecast for this fight featured an all-world version of Chris Algieri opposite a November 2014 edition of Pacquiao. In my opinion, that translates to WBA “super” champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman. Algieri was more or less facing a legend on the big stage for the first time in China, a foreign superpower; with an over inflated sense of ability mirrored by an equally myopic corner of delusional proportion. It’s hard to forget an unhinged Tim Lane telling Max Kellerman in the 9th round of that HBO telecast that he was about to let Algieri “out of the cage” just before Pacquiao struck and floored him with arguably the most beautiful straight left hand he’s ever thrown.

Is Thurman now a power punching iteration of the best Chris Algieri? Whatever he proves to be, trainer Dan Birmingham, never known for soundbites, warned the Filipino icon’s legendary trainer that he’ll have the wrong pair of dice in Las Vegas.

“Freddie Roach is going to lose a lot of money,” sprayed Birmingham, stomping all over Roach wager claims in Sin City against his 30 year-old champion. “When the fight is over Keith “One-Time” Thurman’s hands will be raised. Keith is going to win this fight and win it in fine fashion.” It is not hard to guess what Dan means there, or what they may have been doing since this fight was announced in late May at ASPI, or Applied Science & Performance Institute. In gaining an overall understanding of what this facility is all about in proportion with what I know of Thurman, it’s now understandable why this Millennial of eccentricity and avid intellectual absorber born of Woodstock era parents who believed in Peace & Love with daddy’s belt, adamantly believes he’ll “crucify” Pacquiao inside of three rounds.

Usually a fast starter of extreme aggression, Thurman now believes had he prepared the way he’s preparing for Pacquiao against Danny “Swift” Garcia and “Showtime” Shawn Porter, that both of them get stopped rather violently.

Insulted that Pacquiao actually took this fight, everything Thurman does at ASPI is measured with application to his fighting style; along with the one punch he’ll be aiming to land “One-Time”, with the malice of Thomas Hearns when he sent Roberto Duran back to his childhood in Panama courtesy of an atomic overhand right in 1984. For example, ASPI might maintain that a Thurman overhand right strike in their facility upon entry equated to 860 lbs of force. But that after an extensive, scientifically advanced strength training course at their facility, this same strike equates to 920 lbs of force. ASPI would hypothetically then extrapolate in real-life combat under the lights of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20 on FOX PPV for PBC, considering all of his heightened bio-metrics, a psychopathic Thurman blended with all four psychedelic ghosts chasing the game of “Pac-Man” could potentially catch him with 1220 lbs of wrath leaping in. Enough to blow his transfomer, or at least his fighting mind for good, while giving Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr or Terence “Bud” Crawford something to seriously think about. More importantly, it would render the Josesito Lopez near disaster an aberration.

Thurman offered the Filipino icon a colorful medley of mushrooms in a figurative Grafeful Dead box when positing a desire to become a vintage version of himself against Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008. In actuality, Thurman’s training camp is very much centered on what Pacquiao did after he rather coldly forced “The Golden Boy” to quit in humiliating fashion. He wants to replicate Pacquiao’s lethal destruction of Ricky Hatton in May 2009, right around the same time rapper T.I. dropped the song “Hurt”, eerily similar to Thurman’s mindset going in, having stated several times that Pacquiao had better “catch him first”.

This is why I’m seeing Thurman as some sort of possessed Chris Algieri going in. After careful evaluation, he’ll be facing a fighter who looks virtually identical in form to the fighter I saw in China nearly five years ago. Same sudden ability or explosion. Same ring presence and effective aggression. Same speed—albeit somewhat forced due to a loss of youth in the tendons. However, what is not quite the same are his legs and feet, to go along with an overall 5 to 10% reduction in overall pure body speed in the lower extremities, in addition to a slight loss in fluidity in terms of upper body movement.

Pacquiao is still a world class fighter, but what made him otherworldly, was [all that he still is] with such extreme speed balanced by a phenomenal form of physical flexibility and elasticity– particularly, in the springing action of his calves; in uncanny harmony with his thighs and hips. That allowed him to get to spots all over the ring in a nano-second from the southpaw stance, to unleash an offense more advanced and nuanced than anything we ever saw from Aaron Pryor or Henry Armstrong, in terms of all-time greats he compares to offensively. If Thurman does indeed have a Hearns Vs Duran approach– it better work, because if it doesn’t and Pacquiao survives those first 3 or 4 rounds, everything he’s done at ASPI and what he’ll do later to hone things at the St. Pete Boxing Club will turn into a bad day at the Wild Card Gym under MGM Grand lights of modern nostalgia. It would be like the dreams of a legend’s past became the reality of a has been’s future.

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About John Gatling

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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