Manny Pacquiao added another notch to his legendary resume with a victory over Keith Thurman in their WBA world title fight on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pac-Man won via split decision, although he was dominant enough to merit arguments the decision should have been unanimous.
The victor wasted little time sending a message, dropping Thurman in the first round and setting the tone before unleashing some cocky footwork after the second.
"Manny Pacquiao has won all three rounds [so far]," ESPN's Myron Medcalf wrote. "Amazing. Watch his strategy. He's throwing that right over the top to steer Thurman into a straight left. It's coming. Could end the fight. Thurman walking into a power punch at this pace."
Pacquiao's trademark speed was a problem for Thurman in the first few rounds, and he boasted the aggressiveness to match. A hard right from Pac-Man caused Thurman's nose to bleed at the end of the fifth round, although the latter fought through it and built momentum with stronger showings in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Age was suddenly a question, as the 30-year old Thurman appeared to get stronger as the fight continued. Whether the 40-year-old Pacquiao had the stamina to compete in a lengthy fight was one of the primary storylines entering the fight, and those middle rounds did nothing to change that.
The momentum was fleeting, though, as Pac-Man bounced back to regain some control in the ninth round before he landed a head-turning body shot in the 10th.
The late flurry eliminated some of the lingering drama, underscoring what an impressive performance it was for Pacquiao even with a split decision.
While Pacquiao is one of the best boxers in the sport's history, it was Thurman who entered Saturday's bout with an undefeated 29-0-0 record and 22 knockouts. He also enjoyed a height and reach advantage, checking in at 5'7½" with a 69" reach to Pacquiao's 5'5½" height and 67" reach, per BoxRec.
Alas, Pacquiao still improved to 62-7-2 overall with 39 knockouts with the win even though the veteran is 10 years older than Thurman.
This is a continuation of his bounce-back efforts following a controversial loss to Jeff Horn in 2017. While Pacquiao, who is the only fighter to win titles in eight divisions, could have hung up the gloves at that point, he continued to fight and notched notable victories over Adrien Broner and Lucas Martin Matthysse.
He may not be as fast as he was in his prime, but he out-maneuvered Thurman's distinct height and reach advantage and landed enough shots to earn another win.
Pac-Man's combination of speed and power on Saturday was enough to suggest he is still capable of taking on some of the best boxers in the world. He was certainly up to the task of an undefeated Thurman in Las Vegas.