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Manny Pacquiao Retirement: Examining Pac-Man's Legacy After Thurman Win

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 21, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 20:  Manny Pacquiao blows a kiss to the crowd as he celebrates his split-decision victory over Keith Thurman in their WBA welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao added another entry to his stellar resume when he beat undefeated welterweight champion Keith Thurman on Saturday via split decision.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Manny Pacquiao wins the WBA World Welterweight Title at 40 years old and hands Keith Thurman his first pro loss! #PacquiaoThurman https://t.co/KFrZAifoLZ

ESPN5 @Sports5PH

Take a look at the Judges’ official score card for #PacquiaoThurman bout. https://t.co/NVJ7eUaenR

Pacquiao, who now holds a 62-7-2 record, is now the WBA super welterweight champion. He's the only eight-division world champion in boxing history.

Mike Coppinger of The Athletic called the bout the "fight of the year," and Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole cited the quick pace during an "outstanding fight." The bout included Pacquiao's first-round knockdown, a sensational middle-round stretch by Thurman and a strong comeback from the 40-year-old challenger in the 10th.

FOX Sports: PBC @PBConFOX

.@MannyPacquiao with a massive body shot in the 10th! Eight-division World Champion Manny Pacquiao faces World Champion Keith Thurman for WBA supremacy! BUY NOW: https://t.co/AeIXwbC2Dr https://t.co/zkBRF3Uc2G

Before the fight, Thurman told reporters that he would end Pacquiao's career. In response, Pacquiao said that he would be the only one to dictate the ending to his boxing legacy.

Pacquiao proved himself right on Saturday as Thurman fell for the first time in his professional career. And on the same note, he added to his own, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Manny Pacquiao defeats Keith Thurman in a split decision. At 40 years and 215 days old Manny Pacquiao becomes the 5th-oldest male boxer to win a world title. Pacquiao improves his record in title fights to 20-4-2 and 11-3 as a welterweight. https://t.co/nQOAQm707b

The 40-year-old Pacquiao told TMZ Sports in November 2018 that he planned to retire in three years. This victory over Thurman, whom BoxRec ranked seventh among active welterweights before the fight, only serves as evidence that Pacquiao has more in the tank.

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However, if Pacquiao decides to hang up the gloves while he's still on top, then very few fighters in the sport's history can claim a better legacy.

BoxRec ranked Pacquiao second all-time in the pound-for-pound division behind only Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired with a perfect 50-0-0 record. ESPN.com also ranked Pacquiao second among pound-for-pound fighters in the past 25 years, behind only Mayweather.

Among many accolades, the Boxing Writers Association of America named Pacquiao the Fighter of the Decade in 2010. The Ring and the BWAA also named him the Boxer of the Year three times.

Pacquiao also won 15 consecutive title fights from Sept. 2005 to Nov. 2011. He also lost only one fight from Dec. 1999 until Nov. 2011, going 28-1-2. Furthermore, Pacquiao has only been knocked out once this century.

The southpaw has defeated some of boxing's best fighters during his time, including Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Thurman.

Pac-Man's in-ring legacy can only be matched by perhaps Mayweather or Muhammad Ali, but if Saturday is any indication, then more chapters are waiting to be written.  

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