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Who Wins and How? Pacquiao vs. Thurman, The NYF Squad Weighs In

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Who wins and how?

Isn’t that one of the best parts of being a fan of the sweet science…pondering…mulling..sifting skills sets..and trying to cover all the bases, factoring in momentum…age, etc etc.

The NFY Squad had a good time doing that, after I asked them “Who Wins and How” ahead of the Saturday clash between the 40 year old Manny Pacquiao and the younger gun Keith Thurman, seeking to prove that he is at the level he’s stated he at.

So, NYF Squad, talk to us!

“Book your Vegas trip now as Pacquiao wins by split decision in a absolute thriller,” said Abe Gonzalez, “which will set up the rematch between the two for January 2020!”

“Logic dictates that Keith Thurman wins this fight,” said John Gatling. “Manny Pacquiao is obviously a full decade removed from pound-for-pound supremacy, and has endured the most torturous tests a man can absorb in every possible way in the 10 years since his chilling destruction of Ricky Hatton. But somehow, Thurman seems five years older than his 30 years in chronological ring years, while Pacquiao, incredibly, seems a replica of the fighter that doomed a Chris Algieri full of hubris in November 2014. The type of arrogance Thurman has heaped upon Pacquiao far exceeds that hubris, when combined with the supreme confidence of Team Pacquiao, make for an early firefight that — if Thurman doesn’t end early, will result in a progressive massacre. He’s worked his ass off for this camp, but “One-Time” is not a big time A fighter; he’s an extremely hardworking athlete with a penchant for so many little mistakes that become glaring. He still won’t take body shots any better, and I don’t believe he’s as good as Adrien Broner technically… but he’ll damn sure take more chances. The problem with that is, his defensive lapses fundamentally will subject him to the full arsenal of Pacquiao at times, in a fight that seems very personal. I think we’re looking at a modern version of Roberto Duran’s systematic annihilation of Davey Moore if Thurman doesn’t overwhelm Pacquiao early. I don’t think he will. Manny just seems magical for this camp… I see the last epic performance of a legend. Pacquiao via brutal 8th round stoppage in an instant classic.”

“I’m picking Pacquiao by decision,” said Kelsey McCarson. “The story I make up is that Thurman hasn’t lived the life of a world class boxer over the last couple years, so I don’t expect him to be that on Saturday. If both look like they did in their last fights, it’s a clear decision win for Pacquaio. That being said, Pacquiao is 40 now so he could fall off a cliff any moment in terms of ability. I’m really excited about seeing how things play out. I think it’s the biggest fight of the year.”

“Here we have a great fighter who is very old in boxing years,” said David Phillips. “Then we have a much younger fighter who, while very good, has never quite become what we might have thought. Look, Manny can’t do this forever. The question is can he do it one more time? So, what can we expect? First things first, there will be no knockout. While both guys are capable of it, each man fights in spurts–Manny has done more of this in recent years–allowing both men to catch a breather. Thurman has a tendency to be cautious when he’s in with top tier comp. Unless Manny has calcified overnight (not impossible), I think Thurman gives Manny more respect than maybe he should. Thurman is long and should be the bigger man going into the ring. Which should keep Manny honest. That means we are going the distance. Which means this fight will likely be won on accuracy and activity. Can Manny defy Father Time once more? I suspect he can. I’m taking Manny in majority decision.”

Offers Chris Glover: “Thurman edges it on points for me via a narrow decision. Politics will come into factor in this fight. Thurman’s wins and he becomes an 8 figure fighter. So Thurman will win.”

“Keith Thurman by decision,” said Hamza Ahmed. “Senator Pacquiao will have his moments – he’s too good not to – but he’s always looked below his explosive self against guys who can move their legs. Expect Thurman, drunk from the elixir of youth, to discover his legs and form again as he boxes Pacquiao to a 8-4 / 7-5 kind of decision victory enroute to retaining his WBA title. The action might not match the generated hype due to Thurman’s cautious style but don’t expect Thurman to care – “One Time” went from one timing guys in spectacular fashion to “One Moment” – just delivering the odd moment of power here and there.”

“If Thurman can replicate the same form he did over the first 5 rounds against Lopez, he wins,” said Robbi Paterson. “I thought he looked really good early on—as good as he ever did—then fizzled away to be a shadow of what he once was, before his 22-month hiatus through injury. That’s the thing, can ‘One Time’ keep up his performance level and not drop it below par, as he did against Lopez last time out.

For Pacquiao, he’ll more than likely push the fight while Thurman plays the matador role. At 40, the Filipino is looking as good as any fighter could do at that age. Ok, he’s not the same guy who bested Cotto and Margarito about a decade ago, but he’s still operating at a level good enough to beat Broner, Matthysse, arguably Horn, and Vargas. Not bad going for a guy who has been in 70 fights, with some of them having been the gruelling types.

It’s a tough fight to call. But I’m going to go with Thurman via decision. I think he holds the ace card stylistically, and that should equate to him winning more rounds than Pacquaio, providing he doesn’t fold away like he did against Lopez.”

“It’s an interesting matchup. Pacquiao is 40 years old but still dangerous,” said Jeremy Herriges. “Thurman is the younger boxer at 30, but has questions surrounding him after his last performance against Lopez. Currently, Pacquiao is the more battle tested between the two which is why he has the edge. Pacquiao for the win in 12 by MD.

Tim Hockings has some ideas. “There are too many variables in this fight. Too many unknowns. In my opinion, it’s why you see a pretty even split in media prognostication. Will Manny finally look his age? Is the Manny who faced Broner the one we’ll see Saturday? Is Thurman’s two year layoff cause for concern? Will he be the Josesito Lopez Keith Thurman or the Shawn Porter/Danny Garcia Keith Thurman? Does any of this matter? Of course no one knows the answer to any of those questions and theorizing on those things can potentially lead you down the wrong path. Age matters in this fight so that variable can’t be discredited. At some point Manny will look his age – if he hasn’t already? – and it will become crystal clear when he does. Setting that aside, when I look at the two men skill for skill I don’t think there is anything Thurman does significantly better even than the 40 year old version of Pacquiao. Thurman’s not a world-class counter-puncher which, in my mind, is the way to keep Manny off of his game. Likewise, I don’t see Thurman outworking Manny – slowing him with overall activity. Thurman could land an eraser, sure, but he won’t present Manny with anything he hasn’t adjusted to in fights past. I don’t see this fight playing out much different than most of Manny’s decision victories post JMM. I still see Manny jumping in and being effective and jumping out. Mostly staying out of danger and always outworking and out hustling his younger opponent. Manny will take a UD victory without really being in danger, probably of the 116-112 variety.”

Anson Wainwright weighed in: “My heart says Pacquiao, head says Thurman. Although Thurman hasn’t looked great of late and has been inactive due to injury his style figures to trouble Pacquiao. I think Thurman wins a close maybe controversial decision.”

What does promoter Dmitriy Salita think? “Interesting fight, relative youth vs mega fight experience. Based on activity and success level of both in recent fights I have to give the edge to Pacquio. Pacquio’s speed, athleticism and the ability to explode which he still has at this age will give Pacquio the needed edge to win the fight.”

“Too close to call for me but I lean PAC,” said Johnny Wilds.

Me, I see a distance fight. Both men fighting smarter, not taking risks. No knockdowns, both are cognizant of the risk of trading. Rounds maybe 7-5, either way. Manny the establishment fave will get extra judge love. Pacman wins, tight UD12.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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