The WBA Super Welterweight Championship Fight between Keith Thurman and the Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao last Sunday, July 21 (July 20 evening in US) ended in a Split Decision win for the Fighting Senator from the Philippines. While the country’s Fighting Pride showed his American opponent who was boss by knocking him down in Round 1, Thurman recovered and actually managed to go neck and neck points-wise against Pacquiao in the middle rounds. It was toward the end, when Manny began to focus on body shots, that the gap was widened again until the final bell. Interestingly, while Pacquiao’s corner did strategize on the body attack, its importance was reminded to them by somebody in the audience: Floyd Mayweather himself.
According to Inquirer.net, the now-retired undefeated pound-for-pound boxing champion (and rival of Manny Pacquiao for that distinction), who was present and watching the match with Keith Thurman from ringside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, sent somebody to Pacquiao’s corner with a message. As recalled by Manny’s head corner-man, Buboy Fernandez, Mayweather’s messenger said nothing but made repeated gestures that carried all the meaning needed. “Hit the body,” said Fernandez, interpreting the signals sent by Mayweather’s man towards their corner.
That was during the break between Rounds 7 and 8. Pacquiao’s first-Round knockdown of Thurman allowed him to dominate until Round 5. The American rallied and won Rounds 6 to 9. When the bell ran to start the tenth, Thurman was still on a confident roll. But by that time Mayweather’s message had been relayed to his rival. Manny would stop Keith’s streak with a body punch, followed by a few more. In the heat of the match the body attack strategy agreed upon in advance by Pacquiao’s corner had almost been forgotten, were it not for “Money” Mayweather’s indirect intervention. The rest is history.
Buboy Fernandez has some ideas as to why Floyd Mayweather would reach out to them when Keith Thurman was pressing on Manny Pacquiao during the match. It would appear, in his opinion, that Floyd wanted Manny to win. Days after the fight, Mayweather’s social media pointed out that any online mention of Pacquiao’s name was always accompanied by his own, making a jab that the Pambansang Kamao was riding on the “Money train” to stay relevant even as he ages in the sport. Manny fired back that the one seeking relevance was Floyd himself, and offered a rematch between them.
Mayweather does seem determined to stay retired this time, with him turning down a second encounter in the ring with Pacquiao. That has not stopped #MayPac2 to trend in social media, though the chances of it being realized remains slim.
Image courtesy of LA Times