Pacquiao-Thurman by the Numbers

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The only numbers that mattered for Senator Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman on the night of their fight were the number of round one would floor his opponent to end hostilities or the number of rounds the judges give one if the fight goes the distance.

We all know Pacquiao sent Thurman crashing to the canvass with a left to the body and right to the face combination in the 1st round but the later recovered nicely and push the fight to 12 rounds where Pacquaio prevailed by a split decision.

There are, however, other numbers generated by the fight or its result that tell another side of the story of that event that happened mid-day of July 21 here in the Philippines. Here are some of the interesting ones:

2-1: Where’s the difference?

Many were surprised by the split decision result because they felt that Pacquiao dominated the fight. The thing is, boxing is scored on a per round basis. Here’s how it went:

Judges’ round winners
Rd Judge
Dave Moretti Glen   Feldman Tim       Cheatham
Score 115-112 113-114 115-112
1 Pacquiao Pacquiao Pacquiao
2 Pacquiao Pacquiao Pacquiao
3 Thurman  Thurman Pacquiao
4 Pacquiao Pacquiao Pacquiao
5 Pacquiao Pacquiao Pacquiao
6  Thurman  Thurman  Thurman
7  Thurman  Thurman  Thurman
8 Pacquiao  Thurman  Thurman
9  Thurman  Thurman  Thurman
10 Pacquiao Pacquiao Pacquiao
11  Thurman  Thurman  Thurman
12 Pacquiao  Thurman Pacquiao

The judges were unanimous in giving five rounds to Pacquiao (1,2,4,5 and 10) and four to Thurman (6. 7. 9 and 11). The differences of opinions occurred in rounds 3, 8 and 12.

Surprisingly Thurman did have the majority nod of the judges in two of them (3 and 8) while Pacquiao got the 12th. If we are to use the majority rule is scoring the fight, each fighter would have pocketed six rounds each. Manny would have still won, 114-113, due to the automatic 10-8 first round score.

Maybe the fight was actually a lot closer than how a lot see it because of the 10-point must scoring system.

82-18 in jabs, 113-192 in power shots

Compubox provides an interesting aspect of a fight when they track punches thrown and landed by the fighters. Here’s what they saw in this fight:

Pacquiao Thurman
Punch Landed Thrown % Punch Landed Thrown %
Jab 82 346 24 Jab 18 128 14
Power 113 340 33 Power 192 443 43
Total 195 686 28 Total 210 571 37

Pacquiao outworked Thurman by throwing over a hundred more punches. He also seemed to have done his part in keeping Thurman at a distance or at setting his power punches by throwing almost 350 jabs, more than three times than that of Thurman. Almost a quarter of them found their target.

Thurman, however, was more effective in landing shots and was much more interested in landing the power shots, any punch other than a jab.

Like other set of numerical data, some intangibles may not be reflected by the figures. The figures in this case, indeed, did not tell the whole story because while Pacquiao was lagging behind in the power shot department, he actually landed some of the more telling power blows, particularly two body shots (1st and 10th) that staggered Thurman for a few moments.

2: Pacman’s only the second one to do it

Thurman’s knockdown in the first round was one the second time he tasted the canvass in his career. Quandray Robertson also knocked Thurman in the first round in their fight in 2010.

The difference? Thurman recovered to uncork a knockdown of his own in the third round and Robertson failed to beat the count giving Thurman the win by knockout.

40… is the new 30

Pacquiao’s performance at 40 years was one of the finest in sports. He becomes only the fifth boxer to win a title in their 40s.

Boxers who won a title in their 40s
Boxer Age Boxer Age
Bernard Hopkins 49 Thulani Malinga 42
Bernard Hopkins 48 Thulani Malinga 40
Bernard Hopkins 46 Manny Pacquiao 40
George Foreman 45 Bob Fitzsimmons 40

(Hopkins and Malinga’s names appeared more than once because s they have fought in a world title bout after turning 40 more than once and won multiple times.)

He also just increased the number of great athletes who should be retiring but are instead still performing at a very high level.

I wonder how one would rate Pacquiao’s latest performances if placed side by side with those of two other great men who are also playing in the toughest sport groups:

(1) Tom Brady of the New England Patriots who was the quarterback of the 2019 Super Bowl champions at 41. This was his sixth ring in nine tries, both mosts ever by a football player.

Including the 2018-19 campaign, he led the Patriots to eight straight appearances in the American Football Conference (AFC) finals, reached the Super Bowl five times, and won three of them.

– and –

(2) Roger Federer who, at age 36 then, became the second oldest player to win a grand slam title at the 2018 Australian Open. It was his 20th Grand Slam title, an all-time high in tennis male singles.

He has participated in six of seven grand slam events after that and reached the quarterfinals thrice, the semifinals twice, and the finals once. He eventually lost to Novak Djokovic in the latest Wimbledon Open but not after fighting tooth and nail, losing in the extended final set that lasted four hours and 57 minutes, the longest singles final in Wimbledon history.

Dreaming of 50-1

This should only be the meaningful numbers in Pacquiao’s career going forward. More specifically the “1”. Here’s why:

Boxers who tasted first career defeat against Pacquiao
Boxer Record before fight (W-L-D) Boxer Record before fight (W-L-D)
Keith Thurman 29-0-0 Nedal Hussein 19-0-0
Chris Algieri 20-0-0 Seung-Kon Chae 23-0-0
Timothy Bradley, Jr. 31-0-0 Dele Desierto 4-0-0
Jorge Solis 34-0-2 Rocky Palma 4-0-1
Emmanuel Lucero 21-0-1

Throughout his career, Pacquiao became the first to dent some of his opponent’s immaculate record. What better way to end his career by attempting to do this one more time to one of the greatest ever to set foot in a ring.

You probably know what the “50-1” is all about by now in case you haven’t figured it out earlier.

Well, the first fight’s result will always be dubious because of the circumstances surrounding it. A second one aims to clear this out. Damn the rotator cuff injury excuse. No more other excuses, like how old they are now and why this fight did not happen several years back.

Based on recent social media exchanges, Floyd “Money” or “Pretty Boy” Mayweather seems contented having the “last laugh”. But a second fight between the two should still be able to attract people to patronize it. It would be a fitting curtain call to the respective careers of these great boxers, regardless who wins this match,

Unless Pacquiao wins and Mayweather demands a triology.

By Armando M. Bolislis, with fight scorecard from boxingscene.com and punch stats from betacompuboxdata.com

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