The chorus from Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Keith Thurman since the other weekend at one time became so deafening.
While I agree that Pacquiao’s win over Thurman is not an ordinary feat, given that the Filipino is already 40 years old, the aftermath of the fight showed Pacquiao must have sustained a terrible beating.
And I believe there should be no reason to rejoice more.
I mean, this is the first time I saw Pacquiao’s face badly swollen after a fight, and reports of him having an eye injury bothered me greatly.
The Filipino said Thurman was a heavy hitter and statistics showed the American actually landed more power punches compared to Pacquiao, or 113 to 192. Also Thurman landed more punches, or 210 to 195.
I even disagree on views that Pacquiao imposed his will on Thurman, when it was very clear the bout was not lopsided.
One way or another, Pacquiao respected Thurman’s punching power, and vice versa. But there was no doubt that Thurman’s punching power was a factor in the fight. If that was not the case, the Filipino’s face after the fight would not be that swollen, which should cause great concern among fight fans and analysts.
While I will never contest the split decision being awarded to Pacquiao despite some muffled views that Thurman was robbed, I believe that discounting the aftermath of the fight on the Filipino would be very foolish at this point.
The Pacquiao-Thurman fight also reminded me of The Thrilla in Manila on October 1975, where Muhammad Ali won after Joe Frazier was restrained by corner prior to the 14th round. Ali would later call the bout his closest encounter with death, and from that fight, Ali was never the same again.
The book Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier by Mark Kram clearly discusses the consequences of going too far in the sport, with the consequences of hard-fought battles becoming evident in the next fights and after a boxer retires.
Kram said that while Ali won, the beating he took from Frazier made him go downhill in the next fights and may have been a factor in Ali getting Alzheimer’s.
Ali even summed up to Kram the consequences of The Thrilla on them: “We went to Manila as champions, Joe and me, and we came back as old men.”
Frazier sustained a badly hurt ego after the fight and insisted he continue fighting after 13 rounds, but both of his eyes were almost swollen shut by the beating administered on him by Ali.
But it was also evident Ali took a hell of beating from Frazier, and was never the same again, winning seven of his next 10 bouts, and registering only two knockouts over no-name contenders. Before Ali battled Frazier for the third time and from his beating George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle on October 1974 to win the world heavyweight title fight anew, Ali won three bouts of which two were stoppages with one over top contender Ron Lyle. And prior to beating Foreman after losing to Frazier in their first bout in January 1971, Ali won 14 of 13 bouts of which five were knockouts or stoppages. One of those wins was over Frazier in their second bout on January 1974.
So what am I trying to bat at?
While Pacquiao did win over Thurman, the beating he took could potentially have a terrible effect on his next fights or even his overall health. And the Filipino is already 40 years old.
On the other hand, Thurman can still recover and was even in high spirits after the loss. Anyway, Thurman is just 30 years old.
But Pacquiao? We should start regarding him also as human even if he showed remarkable form at 40 years old in beating Thurman.
And while there is reason to rejoice over Pacquiao’s victory over the American, I see no reason to rejoice more as I do not want to see him take another 200 or more punches from any of the sport’s young top boxers in the welterweight division.
I even think the more than 200 punches Thurman landed on Pacquiao should be a cause for alarm, since this may mean the Pacquiao that was saw in the ring against the American is no longer the version who mowed down the likes of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, among others.
In the Mosley fight, Pacquiao outlanded Mosley in terms of punches, or 222 to 66, while in the Jessie Vargas fight, the Filipino connected more at 147 to 140.
In the Thrilla in Manila where the protagonists landed more than 200 punches on each other over 13 rounds, or 264 for Ali and 250 for Frazier, the Pacquiao-Thurman fight saw both fighters land more than 200 punches against each other.
But in the Thrilla, both fighters were past their prime and Frazier retired after two losses while Ali was no longer the same in his next bouts. The faces of both fighters were a mess after the bout, and Ali was narrated by Kram to have worn sunglasses during a dinner with government officials after the bout, with swelling in his face very obvious. On the other hand, Frazier was in seclusion not being able to see clearly from his two shut and swollen eyes.
If I have little compassion for Pacquiao, I would not care writing this way and even state that he is ready to take on the likes of Errol Spence, Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter in this next bouts.
But honestly, I do not want to see Pacquiao take another 200 punches or so in his next bouts with any of those three young welterweight guns. Or I hate to see a knockout punch landing on the Filipino in his next fights.
Need I say more?