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Manny Pacquiao is closer in age to ME than he was to his opponent last night.

And 99 times out of 100, the title of this blog would be a bad sign for any fighter. Many serious boxing analysts who, unlike me, really understand the sport look at the ages of 36 and beyond as the time where a boxer who has had a fair amount of ring-wear becomes less effective.

Manny Pacquiao continues to prove that he is an exception to that rule, and last night he cost me money for the first time.

Here’s what we know about Pac this morning:
– He’s 40 years old.
– He’s had a considerable amount of ring-wear after fighting in 71 professional bouts.
– He’s won titles in multiple decades and in a record 8 weight classes.
– He’s gained 25 pounds since his pro debut… Pictures of a young Pacquiao remind me more of those boys that were rescued from a cave last year and less of a generational fighter.

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– Most importantly, he beat formerly undefeated Keith Thurman in a refreshingly non-controversial split decision late last night.
– He’ll probably get a shot at the winner of Porter vs Spence (September 28th) and will be paid a LOT of money to do so.

I remember when Manny beat the fucking brakes off of De La Hoya in 2003 because, at the time, it was considered a “passing of the torch” fight.  Oscar had a very nice run, and the 5 losses he had suffered before Manny were against considerable names (Trinidad, Mosely twice, Hopkins and Mayweather).  Oscar’s corner threw in the towel after 8 rounds of beatings at the hands of Pacquaio and afterward De La Hoya crossed the ring to tell Manny’s trainer Freddie Roach (who made a comment pre-fight about Oscar being too old), “You’re right, Freddie. I don’t have it anymore.”

Oscar was the betting favorite before that fight started but never got back in the ring after that fight ended… He was 35 years old.  He didn’t really pass the torch as much as Pacquiao grabbed it from him.

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Pacquiao should be in a similar position now, but he somehow manages to keep his old-ass torch burning bright.

After losing to Jeff Horn in 2017, Manny rattled off 2 victories over Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner before coming into last night and seemed to have all the momentum in the world.  And similar to Freddie Roach before the De La Hoya fight, Thurman poked the Filipino bear with some off-color comments on a couple of occasions leading up to their matchup, but Pacquiao never got into the mud.

Vegas flip-flopped Pac to a small favorite midweek and although many people thought it was an evenly matched bout, Pacquiao remained a betting favorite right into the opening bell.

Thurman, on the other hand, looked unimpressive in the 2 fights previous, and people questioned whether or not he was fully back after the long layoff he had nursing injuries following his victory over Shawn Porter in July of 2016. I thought he would return to his earlier form on last night’s stage. Instead, he showed signs of that late 30’s rust I mentioned earlier, even though Thurman is only 30 years old.

I got to interview Terence Crawford at the end of 2018 and surprisingly he said that he would only move around in weight to fight Manny Pacquiao because having a legend like that on his resume would be great for his legacy.  Terence wasn’t concerned if Pac wasn’t in peak form when they fought because history would only remember that he beat Manny Pacquiao, even if it was outside of his prime.

I agree with that sentiment… People tend to forget that Trevor Berbick spent 4 years in prison after raping a babysitter, or that he was murdered by a man wielding a hatchet, but they do remember he beat Muhammad Ali… Even though it was at the conclusion of Ali’s career and after Clay absorbed over 200,000 punches from 60 other opponents.

That’s where we thought we would be with Manny… An older fighter who would pass the torch and maybe pad the resumes of a new crop of champions.

Instead, we have a 40-year-old Senator from the Philippines who’s grip on that torch is stronger than ever. One who is still a tremendous pay-per-view draw. And one that I will never bet against ever again.

(until he fights Spence)

Take a report.

-Large