Saturday, July 20, 2019

Update

We would like to let our readers know that three features are currently in the works for the next week here on the website. The first feature, which will concern tonight's Thurman-Pacquiao World Welterweight championship fight will be released on Tuesday, July 23rd.

This will bw followed by a follow-up to our recent Heavyweight feature, which will be released on Wednesday, July 24th. Finally, a feature previewing the upcoming WBO/WBC Jr. Welterweight world championship unification bout between undefeated world champions Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez will be released on Thursday, July 25th. Stay tuned. "And That's The Boxing Truth."

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Thurman-Pacquiao Weights


The official weigh-in for Saturday’s WBA Welterweight world championship fight between undefeated world champion Keith Thurman and challenger Manny Pacquiao took place earlier today in Las Vegas, NV. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: WBA Welterweight world championship - 12Rds.

Keith Thurman 146 1/2lbs. vs Manny Pacquiao 145 1/2lbs.

Welterweight - 12Rds.

Yordenis Ugas 147lbs vs. Omar Figueroa 147lbs.

IBF Super-Middleweight world championship - 12Rds.

Caleb Plant 168lbs vs. Mike Lee 167lbs.

Welterweight -10Rds. 

Sergey Lipinets 147lbs. vs. Jayar Inson 147lbs.



Bantamweight - 12Rds.*

Juan Carlos Payano 117 1/2lbs. vs. Luis Nery 118 1/2lbs. 

(Nery a half pound over the 118lb. Bantamweight limit. Fight to go on as scheduled as of this writing.)

Heavyweight - 10Rds. 

Efe Ajagba 242lbs. vs. Ali  Demirezen 247 1/2lbs.

Welterweight - 8Rds.

Jimmy Williams 146 1/2lbs. vs.  Abel Ramos 147lbs. 

Flyweight - 8Rds.

Carlos Maldonado 113lbs. vs. Genisis Libranza 113lbs. 

Featherweight - 8Rds. 

John Leo Dato 127 1/2lbs. vs. Juan Lopez 127 1/2lbs.  


Thurman vs. Pacquiao takes place on Saturday, July 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States on a cable/satellite pay-per-view basis on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View as well as globally on www.Fite.TV and through the Fox Sports app for  $74.99. The pay-per-view card will begin at 9PM ET/6PM PT (U.S. Time ) with a prelim portion of the card airing on Fox beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT featuring a battle for the IBF Super-Middleweight world championship between undefeated champion Caleb Plant and undefeated challenger Mike Lee Contact your local cable satellite provider or visit www.FoxSports.com/PPV for ordering information. Check your local listings internationally.

The Fite TV and Fox Sports apps  is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices including Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. For more information download the Fite TV and Fox Sports apps on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or visit: www.Fite.TV www.FoxSports.com for more information.

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Whyte-Rivas Weights



The official weigh-in for Saturday’s card at the O2 Arena headlined by a Heavyweight bout between WBC number one contender Dillian Whyte and undefeated number ten rated contender Oscar Rivas took place earlier today in London, England. The weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: Heavyweight - 12Rds.*

Dillian Whyte 259lbs. vs. Oscar Rivas 239lbs

(*Bout is for Interim championship status in the WBC’s Heavyweight ratings.)

Heavyweight - 10Rds.

Dereck Chisora  257lbs. vs. Artur Szpilka 243lbs.

Heavyweight - 12Rds.

David Price 257lbs. vs. David Allen 241lbs.


Cruiserweight - 10Rds.

Lawrence Okolie  199lbs. vs. Mariano Gudino 199lbs.

Light-Heavyweight - 10Rds.

Dan Azeez 174lbs.vs. Charlie Duffield  174lbs.

Cruiserweight - 10Rds.

Richard Riakporhe 199lbs. vs. Chris Smith 198lbs

Jr. Welterweight - 4Rds.

Reece Smith 142lbs. vs. Ibrar Riyaz 144lbs.

Heavyweight - 8Rds.

Fabio Wardley 238lbs.  vs. Mariano  Strunz 232lbs.

Heavyweight- 4Rds.

Alen Babic 207lbs. vs. Morgan Dessaux 216lbs.

Whyte vs. Rivas takes place Saturday, July 20th at the O2 Arena in London, England. The full card can be seen in the United States and several countries internationally on digital sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT (U.S. Time.) For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of available streaming devices, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on Sky Box Office beginning at 6PM (Local UK Time) for £19.95. Please visit www.sky.com/Boxoffice for ordering information.

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Previewing DAZN’s UK Heavyweight Tripleheader


July 20, 2019 will prove to be a loaded day of Boxing. Of course, most will identify the day as the date where one of the most-anticipated fights of the year will take place between undefeated WBA Welterweight world champion Keith Thurman and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. A fight that will headline a pay-per-view card broadcast by Fox Sports Pay-Per-View here in the United States. There will be however, far more available to Boxing fans not just in America, but around the world as digital subscription streaming network DAZN will broadcast an interesting card from the O2 Arena in London, England that will be highlighted by three Heavyweight bouts featuring top contenders, former world title challengers and veterans who are looking to get into world title contention.

In the main event, current WBC number one rated Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte will square off with undefeated top-ten contender Oscar Rivas in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds. The fight, which is billed as an elimination bout with interim championship status attached to determine a mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming rematch between undefeated WBC world champion Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz, pits two fighters who are both capable of scoring knockouts against each other. A unique coincidence between the two is both Whyte and Rivas are coming off knockout wins that each occurred in the late rounds.

In December of last year, Whyte scored a devastating one punch knockout over former world title challenger Dereck Chisora in the eleventh round. The knockout, which occurred by a flush left hook to the head, was one of the highlights of 2018 in the eyes of many Boxing fans. Rivas meanwhile scored a twelfth round stoppage of former world title challenger Bryant Jennings in the twelfth round of their fight in January of this year.

What intrigues this observer about this fight is both fighters have styles where they are more than willing to engage. When two fighters match up well stylistically really anything can happen in what could be an entertaining fight to watch. Rivas is unbeaten in twenty-six professional fights and the thing that will interest me in this fight will be in regard to what Rivas strategy might be. He is s fighter that is capable of getting an opponent out if there should the opportunity arise, but he is also the type of fighter that likes to execute his offense in sudden, yet measured burst, which can make it difficult for an opponent to combat.

The current North-American Boxing Federation (NABF) Heavyweight champion was also very impressive in his win over Bryant Jennings in his last fight. A victory over a longtime top contender like Dillian Whyte could be the final step toward a world title shot. In contrast to Rivas, an argument could be made that Whyte has more to lose than does his opponent.

It is important to remember that Whyte has held the WBC’s number one contender’s position for a lengthy period of time and due to the political elements that exist in the sport of Boxing, being a number one contender does not necessarily mean that you will get an opportunity to fight the world champion in a timely manner as can be illustrated in the World Boxing Association’s rankings structure, which can at times include multiple fighters who can hold an interim/regular champion status designation at the same time in a given weight class. While Whyte is not involved in such a structure currently, he has been forced to play the waiting game before getting his shot at the WBC world championship.

Although the various political aspects of Boxing do not always provide the fairest landscape for the boxers that compete in the sport, a loss in any fashion for a fighter in Whyte’s position will likely drop him from world title contention for some time. This does not put Whyte in the most favorable position, but it is also important to keep in mind that he has only lost once in twenty-six previous fights and that was to former unified world champion Anthony Joshua nearly four years ago prior to Joshua becoming a world champion. Whyte has won nine fights since that loss and has only gone the distance in three of those bouts. What this suggests is Whyte is not only dangerous, but also the type of fighter that can win fights either by knockout or by winning a decision.

Coincidentally, Whyte’s last opponent Dereck Chisora will also be in action on this card as he will take on fellow former world title challenger Artur Szpilka in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. This fight along with another Heavyweight bout on the undercard of Whyte-Rivas, which will also be discussed in this column each feature fighters trying to work their way into world title contention.

In the case of Chisora-Spzilka, it is a battle between two fighters who have each fought for a World Heavyweight championship before in their respective careers and thus each knows what it feels like to be a contender in a crowded field of Heavyweights. Both however, are in the process of trying to rebuild their standing in the division.

Dereck Chisora has been a fighter that has gone through the highs and lows that often come with a long career. He is also someone who has fought many of the top Heavyweights in the last decade. Although he has come out on the short end of some of those battles, Chisora has given many fighters a difficult go of it. Following his loss to Dillian Whyte, Chisora returned to the ring in April of this year and scored a ten round unanimous decision over Senad Gashi.

The thirty-five year old Chisora now looks to continue to build momentum against Artur Szpilka. Szpilka as some might recall put forth a spirited effort in his challenge of undefeated WBC Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder in January 2016. Szpilka was knocked out by the champion in the ninth round of that fight, but did give the Wilder a tough fight for as long as it lasted.

Szpilka would suffer another setback in July 2017 when he was stopped by undefeated contender Adam Kownacki in four rounds. Since those two losses however, Szpilka has scored two decision wins over longtime contender Dominick Guinn and former world title challenger Mariusz Wach. Like Chisora, Szpilka is looking to continue the rebuilding process.

The question of this fight will be what respective versions of the fighters will show up. Both fighters have had moments throughout their careers where they have looked impressive and both have had moments where they have put forth performances that could be described as lackluster. Szpilka will have a near three-inch height advantage standing at 6’3 ½ over Chisora who stands 6’1 ½ and will also have a two-inch reach advantage of 76” to Chisora’s 74”. As has been the case throughout his career, Chisora will be fighting a taller opponent and the task will be to get on the inside of his opponent’s reach.

In contrast to his opponent, Szpilka will likely look to keep Chisora at distance where he will theoretically be unable to be effective and where Szpilka will be able to control the combat. This could be easier said than done against a fighter with Chisora’s head movement. Both fighters have punching power and it may come down to a question of which can execute their offense better.

The third Heavyweight bout on this card to round out the headlining trupleheader will feature former Olympic Bronze medalist and former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion David Price facing rising contender David Allen in a scheduled for twelve rounds. As readers may recall, Price was once one of the hottest rising prospects in the Heavyweight division. After winning the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles, Price was springboard into a fight with longtime top contender and former world title challenger Tony Thompson in February 2013. The decision to put Price, who entered the fight unbeaten in fifteen previous professional fights in against a fighter of Thompson’s caliber proved to be costly as Thompson stopped him in two rounds. This was followed by an immediate rematch in July of that year, which also proved to be a questionable decision as Thompson would again stop Price, this time un six rounds.

Since then, Price’s career has been on a roller coaster as he has gotten more attention for the fights he has lost than the ones he has won. In his last fight, Price was victorious in bizarre fashion by disqualification when his opponent Kash Ali was disqualified for biting Price. Though it is not the way any fighter wants or should want to win a fight, it did succeed in Price getting his second victory following his most recent loss at the hands of Sergey Kuzmin in September of last year.

In David Allen, Price will face a fighter who like him has seen ups and downs in his career, but a boxer who will enter the fight on a four fight winning streak that have all come by knockout. The reason one should keep that in mind is all of David Price’s six losses in his thirty professional fights have come by knockout. Price has also been known to suffer from fatigue as a fight goes on so the question of what his stamina and endurance will be like as he enters this fight is a legitimate one to ask.

In his last fight, Allen scored a third round knockout over longtime contender Lucas Browne. Allen has only been stopped twice in his career and with Price’s previous problems regarding his stamina having led to his downfall in previous fights, it is logical to expect that Allen will look to weather an early storm by Price and extend him into the middle rounds with the intention of attempting to get a mid, to late round stoppage.

There have been times throughout Price’s career where he has looked as though he was an emerging star in the Heavyweight division, but his previous losses have many questioning what he may have left to give as a fighter. It is crucial in this observer’s eyes that Price be tactical and pace himself. While it is indeed true that sometimes all a fighter needs is one punch to win a fight, more often than not boxers who know how to conserve their energy on a consistent basis are able to have more success. If this fight goes into the middle and late rounds, Price must show that he is capable of going the full distance if he has to.

While all three of these fights will hopefully produce the type of action that Boxing fans typically crave, the question that will naturally be asked after this card will be whether or not any of the fighters in these bouts will be any closer to fighting for a portion or portions of the World Heavyweight championship. As we saw when top contender Andy Ruiz upset previously undefeated unified Heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua last month however, Boxing is a sport of opportunity and regardless of where a fighter’s standing might be in a division, an impressive performance or a string of impressive performances may be the building blocks that could lead to an opportunity like the one Ruiz took advantage of, down the line.  We will see what happens on Saturday night.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Whyte vs. Rivas takes place Saturday, July 20th at the O2 Arena in London, England. The full card can be seen in the United States and several countries internationally on digital sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT (U.S. Time.) For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of available streaming devices, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on Sky Box Office beginning at 6PM (Local UK Time) for £19.95. Please visit www.sky.com/Boxoffice for ordering information.

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Gabriels Retains Jr. Middleweight World Championship With Decision Over Vidal In Costa Rica



Women’s WBA Jr. Middleweight world champion Hanna Gabriels scored a hard-fought ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated WBA number two rated contender Abril Vidal on Wednesday night at the Gimnasio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. In what was her fourth title defense in front of her home country, Gabriels used effective lateral movement to keep her unbeaten challenger from being able to get into a consistent rhythm. Gabriels’ jab and combination punching were the story of the fight, but it remained competitive from start to finish. Vidal was able to have more than occasional moments throughout catching the championship with flush overhand rights. This was particularly noticeable any time Gabriels elected to drop her hands. Despite what would be viewed as a cardinal mistake by most Boxing purists, Gabriels was able to take the best of what Vidal had to dish out and outwork the challenger to earn the unanimous decision victory. Official scores were 96-94, and 97-93 (On two scorecards) all in favor of Gabriels. Hanna Gabriels advances to 20-2-1, with 11 Knockouts. Abril Vidal falls to 8-1, with 3 Knockouts.

Also on this card, In a bout for the vacant WBA Fedecentro Jr. Lightweight championship, rising prospect O’Shaquie Foster scored a devastating one punch knockout of Jesus Bravo. Foster dictated the fight with his jab and lateral movement. It became ugly at times due to Bravo’s frustration including an incident at the end of round five where he threw a back elbow at Foster. Foster ended the night for Bravo in round eight with a sudden and flush counter right hook to the jaw that sent Bravo down and out on the canvas. Official time of the knockout was 2:59 of round eight. O’Shaquie Foster advances to 16-2, with 11 Knockouts. Jesus Bravo falls to 19-2-1, with 17 Knockouts.


Also in the Jr. Middleweight division, undefeated prospect Abram Martinez scored a six round unanimous decision over Jorge Mendez. Martinez forced the action and consistently out landed Mendez over six rounds to get the decision victory. Official scores were 59-55, 60-54, and 58-56 all for Abram Martinez. Abram Martinez advances to 7-0, with 5 Knockouts. Jorge Mendez falls to 4-5-1, with 3 Knockouts.


In a Heavyweight bout, undefeated Heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe Morrison scored a sixth round stoppage of Pedro Martinez. Morrison, the son of former Heavyweight world champion Tommy Morrison halted the fight with a right uppercut to the body. Although Martinez did not go down, the referee did not like his reacand chose to stop the fight. Official time of the stoppage was:50 of round six. Trey Lippe Morrison advances to 16-0, with 16 Knockouts. Pedro Martinez falls to 10-2, with 4 Knockouts.

This card, which was broadcast as an international edition of DiBella Entertainment’s popular Broadway Boxing series, which primarily stages cards on the east coast of the United States, represented not only the growth of the series under promoter Lou DiBella, but also represents another important step in the right direction for Women’s Boxing.

While it will be interesting to see what Trey Lippe Morrison, Abram Martinez, and O’Shaquie Foster do next in their respective careers, the main story of the evening should be a world champion defending her title in a fight that should help continue the growth of Women’s Boxing.

As this observer has said often over the years, while Women’s Boxing has been around for decades, female fighters have only begun to receive the recognition that they deserve, which as yours truly has also often said is long overdue. With Women’s Boxing growing, more weight classes being represented for women, and with the sport’s respective governing bodies sanctioning more Women’s world championship fights than ever before, the future remains a bright one for Women’s Boxing.

In terms of what the future could be for Hanna Gabriels, it is not out of the realm of possibility to think that a possible rematch with current Undisputed Women’s Middleweight world champion Claressa Shields could be a potential option. Although Gabriels came out on the short end of a ten round decision when she fought Shields in June of last year, she made an excellent account of herself and one might argue was the first fighter to provide a significant test for Shields.

No matter what route Hanna Gabriels chooses to take next, she has established herself as one of the top fighters in the sport currently. It is also not difficult to envision that when all is said and done that we will be talking about fighters like Hanna Gabriels, Claressa Shields, Christina Hammer, and Cecilia Braekhus in the same way Boxing fans and experts talk about fighters from the past like Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker, Layla Ali, Ann Wolfe, Holly Holm and others. All world champions who elevated Women’s Boxing to new heights during their careers. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what happens next for the growing sport of Women’s Boxing.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison On Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Steve Gago Talks Triple Title Clash On Tim Tzysu Card


Credit: John Gastev

Press Release: July 17, 2019 By Dragon Fire Boxing – Steve Gago takes a step up in class as he clashes with former Kazak amateur standout Nursultan Zhangabayev on the undercard of Tim Tszyu vs Dwight Ritchie on August 14 in Sydney, Australia.

The pair will dispute the WBO Global, IBF Pan Pacific (currently held by Gago) and WBA International title (currently held by Zhangabayev) in a fight that could most definitely steal the show in Sydney next month.

The pair enter the contest with also having undefeated records on the line and Perth's Gago, whose record currently stands at 11-0 with 4 stoppages opened up about being given the opportunity to crash into multiple governing bodies world ratings.

Gago said, "Firstly I have to massively thanks my manager Tony Tolj for getting me this massive opportunity on a big show. against a top-class talent in Zhangabayev. These are the fights you get into boxing for and I am delighted that I am getting an opportunity like this at this stage in my professional career.

"Zhangabayev is a top-quality fighter, I am fully aware of his capabilities but we are putting in the work in camp to pull off what some people may think is an upset, but I don't believe it will be a shock at all when I emerge victorious on August 14."

Gago's manager Tony Tolj added, giving his take on the high-risk clash for both fighters in Sydney this coming August.

The Perth based manager, who also manages world-rated twins Andrew and Jason Moloney stated, "It's a massive fight as there is a lot on the line. The winner will move into three governing bodies world ratings potentially and that is a massive incentive for both fighters.

"The pair are explosive fighters who both come to put on a show so I believe it's going to be a great contest and for me, the loser can come back and be only 12 months behind the winner when it comes to career progression. These are the type of fights boxing fans want to see and I'm delighted to have been able to contribute to making such a quality fight that I believe my man Steve Gago will emerge victoriously."

Material Courtesy of: Dragon Fire Boxing/ Photo Courtesy of: John Gastev Used with permission.

For more information about Dragon Fire Boxing visit Dragon Fire Boxing’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DragonFireBoxing.

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.



FITE Adds More Territories For Pacquiao vs. Thurman



Press Release: July 17, 2019 By FITE TV – FITE is proud to present that fans from even more countries will be able to enjoy this summer's hottest boxing fight between Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao and Keith Thurman. The much- anticipated bout will air live this Saturday, the 20th of July at 9pm ET.

Some of the new countries joining the US, Canada and the UK are Austria, Germany, India, South Korea and the Nordic and Baltic countries. Check the FITE app for your local time. 

Complete list of all of the countries where  Pacquiao vs. Thurman will be available on FITE is as follows:

United States
 
Canada

United Kingdom

Austria

Czech Republic

East Timor

Germany

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

India

Ireland

Italy

Kazakhstan

Macau

Mongolia

Myanmar

Romania

Denmark 

Norway

Sweden

Finland

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

Slovakia

South Korea

Switzerland

Taiwan

Material Courtesy of: FITE TV Used with permission.

FITE TV is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Download the FITE TV app on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Thurman vs. Pacquiao takes place on Saturday, July 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States on a cable/satellite pay-per-view basis for  $74.99. The pay-per-view card will begin at 9PM ET/6PM PT (U.S. Time.) with a prelim portion of the card airing on Fox beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT featuring a battle for the IBF Super-Middleweight world championship between undefeated champion Caleb Plant and undefeated challenger Mike Lee. Order on the FITE app or visit: www.FITE.TV for ordering information.

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Thurman-Pacquiao: A Classic Scenario



There are some scenarios in the sport of Boxing that seem to occur throughout a fighter's career. One of such scenario that most fans and historians can all relate to is of an established star in the sport, who has been a central figure in Boxing for many years facing a younger and hungry opponent. At times when such an encounter takes place, it is the older fighter who is viewed as an underdog in a fight that pits youth versus experience.

In December 2008, Manny Pacquiao found himself in a fight that would fight this scenario when he faced Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas, NV. Although Pacquiao had won world titles in multiple weight classes prior to that fight, it was indisputable that he was facing a man in De La Hoya, who was the top draw in the sport at the time. An added element of intrigue that was also part of the story of the fight was the fact that Pacquiao, who was a world champion in the 135lb. Lightweight division at the time was moving up two weight classes to face De La Hoya.

Despite being a smaller man having begun his career as a 105lb. Strawweight in 1995, Pacquiao dominated the bigger De La Hoya beating the six-division world champion into submission as the future Hall of Famer quit in his corner after eight one-sided rounds. A defeat that signaled the end of the in-ring career for one of Boxing's all-time greats, but one that also served as a symbolic passing of the torch from Boxing’s longtime top draw and pay-per-view attraction in De La Hoya, who had been a central figure of the sport from the mid-1990's up to the time of his final bout to a man who would go on to dominate much of the sport’s focus for the next decade, Manny Pacquiao.

A familiar part of the narrative of Pacquiao's career since the victory over De La Hoya nearly eleven years ago has been his willingness to face fighters who are naturally bigger than him and his ability to dominate those opponents. While he has also suffered some setbacks over the last decade inside the ring, Pacquiao, who has also forged a successful political career in his native Philippines where he is currently serving as a senator, remains one of the sport’s top draws.

Following a controversial loss to Jeff Horn in 2017, where he lost his WBO Welterweight world championship, Pacquiao returned to the ring in 2017 scoring a dominant eighth round stoppage of Lucas Matthysse and earning interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight ratings in the process. Pacquiao followed that victory with an impressive twelve round unanimous decision over former four-division world champion Adrien Broner earlier this year. The two victories over Matthysse and Broner put Pacquiao in position to challenge undefeated WBA Welterweight world champion Keith Thurman. An encounter that will take place on July 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena In Las Vegas, NV.

The fight, which will headline a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card here in the United States is certainly intriguing. One of Boxing’s biggest draws of the last decade facing a young, hungry, and unbeaten world champion. In some ways, this fight has a similarity to Pacquiao’s fight with Oscar De La Hoya a decade ago. A similarity of an established star in the sport, who some feel is nearing the end of his career facing one of the top fighters in his division, who could very well be an emerging star. The key is however, now Pacquaio is in the position De La Hoya was and Thurman is cast in the role of the emerging star.

This fight is a classic scenario of youth versus experience. There are a few things to consider. Although things would not appear to be in Pacquiao’s favor due largely to his age, he could be the betting favorite as this fight approaches.

When the odds on this fight opened, every sportsbook website had the champion Thurman as roughly a -135 favorite. However, Pacquiao, who opened around +110, has become the favorite across the board. The early money came in heavily on the 40-year-old and he's moved to -140. According to my top sportsbooks,   the odds are to trend in the other direction as the fight draws closer. Thurman is taller, younger, and undefeated. Oddsmakers were correct in their initial assessment that he is the better fighter at this point in their respective careers; they were just wrong about how much the public loves Pacquiao.

While the betting odds do not tell the whole story of what may and what may not happen when two fighters face off inside the ring, They serve as a strong indicator as to where the support of fans and betters is likely to be. The question is what may happen when Thurman and Pacquiao square off?

From a stylistic standpoint, this figures to be an interesting fight between two offensive-minded fighters. In this observer’s eyes this fight will boil down to who will be able to dictate the combat.

At his best, Manny Pacquiao is a fighter who uses immaculate footwork that enables him to come at his opponents from every possible angle. While Pacquiao’s hand speed and punching power receive the majority of attention from Boxing fans, what at times gets overlooked is his ability to use angles to set his offense up. As yours truly has said many times over the years in covering many of Pacquiao’s fights, he has the ability to throw punches where an opponent will move before the opponent realizes it and it will result in the opponent walking into the punch. As I have often said, he hits them where they ain’t. This along with his hand speed, ability to give angles, awkwardness, and the fact that he is a southpaw makes Pacquiao an extremely difficult fighter to combat.

Although Pacquiao has looked impressive in his previous two fights, it is important to keep some factors in mind. First, Pacquaio has had seventy professional fights and has been through several grueling wars throughout his illustrious career. Second, he is forty years old and at this stage in his career after twenty-four years, the question of when father time will become a factor is a real one to ask.

In Keith Thurman, Pacquiao will face a fighter who has registered a career knockout percentage of 73% having scored knockouts in twenty-two of his twenty nine career wins. Thurman won the WBA Welterweight world championship in January 2015, initially holding the same interim/regular champion designation in the WBA Welterweight ratings that Pacquiao currently holds before eventually being named full champion. 

While the structure of the WBA’s rankings process may confuse some, what is not confusing is Thurman has established himself as a major player in the Welterweight division having successfully defended his title five times including briefly unifying the WBA crown with the World Boxing Council (WBC) Welterweight world championship with his victory over two-division world champion Danny Garcia in March 2017.

Thurman’s status as a unified world champion however, would not last due to injuries. The first requiring surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs and calcium deposits in his right elbow shortly after his victory over Garcia, followed by an injury to his left hand during a sparring session prior to a scheduled title defense in May 2018, which had to be cancelled. This resulted in Thurman relinquishing the WBC crown.

After nearly two years out of the ring, Thurman returned to the ring in January of this year and successfully retained his WBA world championship with a twelve round majority decision over longtime top contender Josesito Lopez, Despite scoring a knockdown of the always “Game” Lopez in the second round, Thurman did struggle throughout the fight in what was a hard-fought battle.

Although Lopez was able to give Thurman some trouble in that fight, it is fair to question whether Thurman was affected by both inactivity after being out of the ring for a lengthy period of time as well as the fact that he was coming off of significant injuries that resulted in the type of fight we saw. Some may question whether Thurman is ready for a fight of this magnitude after fighting only three times in the previous four years.

The task that faces the champion in this fight in my eyes is whether he will be able to impose his will on Pacquiao. Thurman has a near three-inch height advantage and a two-inch reach advantage over the challenger. While the thirty year old Thurman will also have youth on his side, the key will be whether he will be able to earn the respect of Pacquiao early.

Although Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn was seen as controversial by many including this observer, one thing that I believe helped Horn’s case as having won that fight is he consistently brought the fight to Pacquiao and looked to back Pacquiao up. It is crucial in my view that Thurman apply smart pressure on Pacquiao early on.

Even though the term “Smart Pressure” is not new in the sport of Boxing, there may be some who might be curious as to what yours truly is referring to.  Thurman must be tactical in his approach and apply the type of pressure on Pacquiao that will minimize his movement and ability to use angles. He must however, not be reckless as Pacquiao is a fighter who has the ability to land precision counter punches and will no doubt be looking to set up opportunities to land counters as Thurman comes forward.

A topic of discussion from Thurman in the build-up to this fight has centered on the fact that, despite being the champion, Thurman has been cast in the challenger’s slot in all the promotion leading up to the bout. While it is understandable how one in Thurman’s position might feel disrespected due to the name recognition value Pacquiao brings to the table, he must not allow it to affect his approach in this fight. If Thurman walks into the fight with the intention of making a statement by scoring an early knockout over a future Hall of Famer like Pacquiao, it could instead play into the challenger’s strategy.

While this may be a moot point in the eyes of some, what has been overlooked as this fight approaches is for the first time in a long time, the structure of the WBA’s rankings where a fighter who holds interim/regular champion status is often asked to wait a significant period of time before getting an opportunity to face the WBA world champion has actually resulted in a fighter getting a title shot in a more timely manner than has been the case over the years. It is certainly open to debate that the reason for this just might be because the fighter holding such designation in this case just happens to be a fighter of Manny Pacquiao’s stature.

The political aspects of the sport notwithstanding, what has not been and should not be overlooked is that this on paper should be one of the best fights of 2019. A fight between two fighters that can knock an opponent out with either hand and at any time. If both fighters bring their best on fight night, a fight that seems to have the classic scenario of an established star in the sport nearing the end of his career facing a young emerging star, just might produce Boxing’s next great classic that will be talked about and debated for years to come.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Thurman vs. Pacquiao takes place on Saturday, July 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States on a cable/satellite pay-per-view basis on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View as well as globally on www.Fite.TV and through the Fox Sports app for  $74.99. The pay-per-view card will begin at 9PM ET/6PM PT (U.S. Time ) with a prelim portion of the card airing on Fox beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT featuring a battle for the IBF Super-Middleweight world championship between undefeated champion Caleb Plant and undefeated challenger Mike Lee Contact your local cable satellite provider or visit www.FoxSports.com/PPV for ordering information. Check your local listings internationally.

The Fite TV and Fox Sports apps  is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices including Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. For more information download the Fite TV and Fox Sports apps on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or visit: www.Fite.TV  www.FoxSports.com for more information.

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