On the evening of July 20th, Manny Pacquiao became the first and only man to defeat Keith “One time” Thurman in the ring. Now the oldest Welterweight champion in history, Manny Pacquiao has taken back control of his career.
Just two short years ago it seemed like Pacquiao was ready to be taken out the same way every legend goes — beat up by the new kid on the block. Thurman, Spence, Porter, and Crawford were all frothing at the mouth for the chance to launch their careers by putting Pacquiao on their resume. It was time for Manny to pass the torch and in a loss to Jeff Horn in Australia, he seemed slower, undersized and shot in the division he used to rule. So how did the Senator turn his downward trend into a historic career resurgence?
Just over one year ago, Pacquiao fought Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia and scored his first knockout in nearly a decade by retiring Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse.
Looking back, the knockout was not particularly eye-catching, the opponent was not on his A-game, and the media gave little attention to the bout. However, the win seemed to kick start Pacquiao physically and motivate him financially.
Having split with his long-time promoter Bob Arum after the Horn fight, it was rumoured that Pacquiao had lost quite a bit of money by producing the Malaysia fight under his own promotion. This financial blow moved Pacquiao towards FOX’s Premier Boxing Champions, who could guarantee 10 million per fight along with cuts of the PPV revenue. The first two matches have now reportedly netted Pacquiao around $30 million total, but legacy wise he has made much more.
The bouts against PBC fighters have turned the boxing world’s eyes back on to the “Pride of the Philippines” with wins over the often viral, Adrien Broner and the once undefeated, unified champion Keith Thurman. After these wins, Pacquiao has taken back the locus of control in his career. “Pac-man” is once again in the driver’s seat and can take any fight he wants.
If Porter beats Spence in September, Pacquiao could choose to fight him. If Spence beats Porter, Pacquiao could decide to face him instead, but the big fish is the rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Nowadays “The Best Ever” is relegated to the role of the promoter at ringside, but he also takes every opportunity to get in the ring on fight night for any reason. On the night of Pacquiao vs. Thurman, Mayweather managed to get in the ring as the fighters were doing their entrances. Maybe he was trying to re-live the hype of a big fight night, or perhaps it was to draw attention to a possible rematch down the road.
50-0 is a great record, but what is one more fight when you’re being offered $350 million?
All that aside, Pacquiao’s comeback started during the Malaysian fight night against “Matty Ice.” Along with being a financial motivator, it gave Manny the confidence and momentum that he lacked in the later years of his career and has propelled him to this moment.