LOS ANGELES: Manny Pacquiao and his team drive to the Sin City of La Vegas on Monday to honor a commitment to face co-WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman five days hence on July 20 (July 21 in Manila) at the MGM Grand Arena.
The WBA regular 147-pound belt-owner, who lowers the curtain on his Wild Card Gym training camp that same day, will lead a 30 to 40-car convoy to the site of the fight at around 4 p.m following a four-round sparring.
The Pacquiao-Thurman showdown will be the Filipino senator’s 21st in Vegas following his 8th round TKO victory of Lehlo Ledwaba that earned for him the second of an unprecedented 8th title conquests.
The MGM Grand encounter against ”One Time” will be his 14th at the 17,157-seat multi-purpose stadium originally known as the MGM Grand Garden Special Events located within the MGM Grand Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip.
Pacquiao’s 21-fight stints in the gambling capital of he world equals 30 percent of his 71 total fights and close to 60 percent of his fights since making his US debut 18 years ago.
It took Pacquiao 16 years after turning pro in 1995 and 35 fights before invading he American soil on June 23, 2001 when, on a two-week notice, he knocked Ledwaba down three times in annexing the IBF super-bantamweight, following his WBC flyweight conquest in 1998.
That Las Vegas has been good to Pacquiao is an understatement. Of the 20 previous fights in Vegas before the Thurman fight, Pacquiao has won 16 of them.
He only lost to Erik Morales (one of three), Juan Manuel Marquez (one of four), Timothy Bradley (one of three) and Floyd Mayweather Jr., all future Hall of Famers like him.
Reason why Pacquiao calls the city his second home with his 80 percent win percentage.
Pacquiao, too, has also been very good to the world’s gambling capital, having contributed a major economic impact to the city out of his winnings.
Besides the IBF 122-pound plum, Pacquiao, too, took the WBC supper-bantamweight diadem from Juan Manuel Marquez (UD 12) at the Mandalay Bay, also in Vegas; WBC lightweight title from David Diaz (TKO 9th); IBO/RING junior welterweight belt from Ricky Hatton (KO 2nd ), and the WBO gonfalon from Miguel Cotto (TKO 12th).
Other titles Pacquiao to complete his eight crown jewel were the WBC flyweight from Thai Chatchai Sasakul in Puttamonthon, Thailand and the WBC super-welterweight from Antonio Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Victories over Oscar DeLa Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley, Marquez (thrice), Bradley (twice) and Andre Broner, were all at MGM. Morales (twice), Barrera, and JessieVargas, all at Mandalay Bay, highlighted Pacquao’s Las Vegas outings.
Pacquiao’s climb from junior fly to super-welter that saw him journeyed for 49 pounds from 105 to 154 and in the process winning 12 world championships, earned him he distinction of becoming the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight divisions.
Pacquiao filled to the rafter of the Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, The Pyramid in Memphis Tennessee; The Olympic Stadium and Staple Center in L.A.; The Alamodome in an Antonio, Texas; and the Cowboy Stadium in Arlington.
Venues where he, too, owns triumphs over Agapito Sanchez, Jorge Julio, Emmanuel Lucero, Hector Velasquez. Julio Solis, and Joshua Clottey over the course of his US journey and Brandon Rios and Chris Algeiri in Macau, China.
Pacquiao is also the first boxer in history to win major world titles in four of the original eight weight divisions of boxing, also known as the “glamour divisions”: flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight. He has held the WBA (regular) welterweight title since 2018.
He was named Fighter of the Decade for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), WBC, and WBO. He is also a three-time Ring Magazine and BWAA Fighter of the Year, winning both awards in 2006, 2008, and 2009; and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011. In 2016, Pacquiao was ranked first on ESPN’s list of top boxers, pound for pound, of the past 25 years. BoxRec ranks him as the greatest Asian fighter of all time.
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