The anticipation has been building for a while now and on July 20th, Manny Pacquiao could well be making the walk to the ring in Las Vegas for the last time. Pacquiao made his debut in the United States and Vegas on the June 23rd 2001, after 35 professional fights. On that night, under the bright lights of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he defeated Lehlo Ledwaba to claim the IBF super bantamweight world title.
Pac-Man would go on to fight 19 more times in Las Vegas, culminating in the WBA welterweight world title clash against Keith Thurman. It’s safe to say Pacquiao has enjoyed fighting in Vegas and has a 16-4 record in Sin City, winning five world titles in five different weight divisions along the way. It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as he suffered losses to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Timothy Bradley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. If the Filipino legend loses to Thurman, it will more than likely be his last foray under the bright lights of Vegas.
Despite the ten years he has on Thurman, in the Pacquaio vs Thurman boxing match odds, Pacquiao is the bookies favourite to win the bout.
With age comes experience and Pacquiao has that in abundance, with over 70 professional fights under his belt and has shared the ring with some all-time greats. A win over Thurman would almost certainly set up a unification clash with the winner of Errol Spence Vs Shawn Porter, who meet later in the year. Spence is the favourite and considered by many to be the best welterweight on the planet.
Pacquiao was always hopeful of avenging his 2015 loss over Mayweather Jr but since “Money Mayweather” announced his retirement from boxing, Pacquiao has had to come to terms with the fact his own glittering career is also nearing an end. Emotions are sure to be running high for Pacquiao who will know he might never again fight in the city where he gave so much to millions of fans and made history for over nearly twenty years.
Keith Thurman is the taller, younger man, with a more extensive reach – and boasts an impressive undefeated record at 29-0 with 22 wins by way of KO. Notable victories have come against Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Robert Guerrero. The 30-year-old American’s most recent opponent was Josesito Lopez, who Thurman put down in round two and despite a scare in the 7th round, came away with the majority decision.
After the fight, Thurman was criticised for his lack of body shots and below-par performance so he will be looking to improve on that last outing when he makes the walk to the ring this weekend. Pacquiao is going in to the fight off the back of a victory over Adrian Broner back in January where he looked sharp and used his jab well. Fans will be hoping both men can be at their best and put on a show in one of the world’s greatest arenas.