Manny Pacquiao claimed the WBA Super World Welterweight Championship in a split decision victory over Keith Thurman on Saturday night. Thurman took his first professional loss after two of the three judges gave Pacquiao the nod at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada (114-113 Thurman, 115-112 Pacquiao and 115-112 Pacquiao).
In the opening minutes, Thurman was holding his own. It was near the end of the first round that Pacquiao landed the sole knockdown of the fight. Thurman was floored by a right hook, but got up quickly and didn’t take any more severe damage. The 10th round was the only other time that Thurman looked to be in trouble, showing a sour reaction to a punch to the body.
While Pacquiao had a good start, it was clear that Thurman continued to improve as the fight went on. Tides turned around halfway through the fight when Pacquiao’s combinations became less frequent and Thurman walked him down more.
After the fight, Pacquiao talked about his interest in facing the winner of Errol Spence Jr. versus Shawn Porter. He leaned more towards fighting again in 2020 as opposed to a third 2019 bout.
The co-main event of the evening was a 12 round WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator bout, with Yordenis Ugas defeating Omar Figueroa Jr. via unanimous decision (119-107, 119-107 & 119-107).