Pacquiao ex-rivals pick Manny over Thurman
LAS VEGAS, USA – Mexican legends Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales both lost to Manny Pacquiao twice, but it didn’t dissuade them from siding with the Filipino ring icon in his WBA welterweight crown unification showdown with Keith Thurman on Saturday, July 20 (Sunday, July 21, Philippine time).
WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter, who served as Pacquiao’s sparring partner once, is also picking the Fighting Senator over Thurman, who beat him by unanimous decision in 2015.
Only two-time light middleweight champion Winky Wright went for Thurman among the 4 notable boxers who appeared at the round table discussion at MGM Grand, venue of the pay-per-view bout touted as the year’s biggest.
When it was over, the legendary Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and four-division Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr arrived at the giant Media Center tent 30 minutes apart and were also interviewed.
The distinguished visitors also chose Pacquiao over the unbeaten Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) for an overwhelming 5-1 edge for the eight-division world champion.
According to Barrera, beaten by Pacquiao in 2003 and 2007, the 12-time world champion remains strong, explosive and fast.
Morales, who tamed Pacquiao in 2005 only to drop their next two bouts by knockout in 2006, said Thurman’s style suits Pacquiao well and there could even be a late knockout.
Porter, slated to tangle with IBF welterweight king Errol Spence in September, cited Pacquiao’s high work rate as key factor.
For his part, Wright, a two-time light middleweight titlist, said the fight is all-about timing, one of Thurman’s strong points.
Wright said Thurman will be able to keep Pacquiao off-balance and cut his output.
Mancini, who quit boxing following the death of South Korean opponent Kim Duk-Koo, in a world title fight, paid tribute to Pacquiao as “special” because of his accomplishments in and out of the ring.
According to Mancini, already enshrined in the international boxing Hall of Fame, Pacquiao’s footwork and ability to throw from different angles will be key to victory.
Donaire, whose tussle with Japanese Naoya Inoue for the World Boxing Super Series is being targeted for November, said Pacquiao will win by decision “if he takes control of the early rounds.” – Rappler.com
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