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2019 is still in its first month and a lot of the chess pieces in the 147 division have been moving. One of the pieces that moved and is on everyone’s radar is Manny Pacquiao who put on a solid performance against a fighter eleven years younger than him. Keith Thurman, the former unified champion, came off of a 2-year layoff. Against a game opponent. A lot of matchups can be made in the following months. I believe Thurman vs Pacquiao is the perfect one to be made for both fighters. One reason is because of Keith’s comeback against the brawler Lopez. The few scary moments of the fight could mean Keith might need to knock off a little more of that ring rust. A 40-year-old veteran like Manny Pacquiao could be the perfect (or dangerous) opponent for that. Second, for Pacquiao, a fighter who doesn’t like to clinch and is offensive minded would make the perfect opponent for his fighting style, especially if ring rust is still there for that opponent’s next fight. It also might be dangerous at this stage of his career. Pacquiao would also get a chance at the real WBA belt. As a fan of the sport, we know that belt he’s belt holding isn’t the top prize of that organization. Keith is the holder of the super title. On paper, the positives outweigh the negatives for both fighters.
With all other welterweight title holders having fight dates locked in, it makes more sense for this to be the next event. Some fight fans might be asking, "What about Floyd?" Well, I believe he’s retired and no one in America would be interested enough to provide the nine figure payday Floyd always says would be his fee to come out of retirement, and at 40 years, Manny knows that there’s not enough time to wait on fights. Which is why I believe he signed to PBC also. Plus stylistically, it would be a better fight entertainment-wise for boxing fans. Keith has enough of a work rate for fans to really see how much many has left in the tank. Manny would have to definitely dig deeper for this fight. Same with Keith.
My prediction if it happens? Well, if you probably read this far you can guess. I’m saying this is a solid 50/50 fight. Keith’s offence would be his biggest advantage coming into this fight. Manny’s would be his angles. Manny has a bigger punch selection in his repertoire. The left hook Lopez hit Keith with was awesome no doubt. If that would’ve been Manny’s left you can believe a follow up or 5-6-7 punches would’ve came next. This fight might end up being one-sided or a fight of the year candidate because of how even I think it is. Either way, I hope the winner challenges the winner of Shawn Porter vs Yordenis Ugas, then at the end of the year goes for the Spence Jr vs Garcia winner. That is, however, another topic for later when those chess pieces move. It’s still a fun time for this division. Almost every title holder and top contender is under one roof and it looks like they all want to fight each other. Keith wants to fight Manny next so bad he’ll say he will do it in the Philippines. Some might think he’s ducking Spence. I say no. It’s a legacy fight and chance at a bigger payday. If you have a chance at retiring the only 8-division fighter in the history of the sport, I say take it. Sometimes names on your resume are more important than the titles. It’s always a fighter's dream to fight once-in-a-generation athletes. Oscar did it with Chavez Sr. Hector Camacho did it with Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. The list goes on. Even though those fights put the older fighter out to pasture. It's still is a good enough match up for either of them to shine. One has a chance to continue a legacy and to skyrocket another their career for the future.