When Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman clash in July, one fighter will be looking to build a legacy while the other will be looking to keep theirs intact. The undefeated Thurman will be looking for a signature win, while Pacquiao will be looking to avoid another loss. And while all of that is going on, questions about whether or not Manny Pacquiao should continue his career continue to get louder, as the ageing fighter continues to take on matches that can only damage his legacy.
Pacquiao has had 70 professional fights in his career, a career that dates back to 1995 in the Philippines. In those 70 fights, he has gone 61-7-2, which is an impressive record without context. But Pacquiao has won seven of his last 11 fights, as he has shown clear signs of wearing down over the last few years. With a fight coming up against the undefeated Keith Thurman, he has very little to gain by taking the bout and continuing to put himself on the line.
In fact, Pacquiao may have a lot to lose when it comes to continuing his fighting career. Promoter Bob Arum recently expressed concern that continuing to fight could cause Pacquiao to suffer brain damage. At age 40, there is no doubt that the rigours of boxing have the potential to hurt someone more than they do at age 25, and Arum’s concerns are certainly valid. Full quotes from Arum can be seen here: https://www.boxingnews24.com/2019/06/arum-worried-for-pacquiaos-health-ahead-of-thurman-fight/
Beyond just the medical implications of continuing to fight into his 40s is the fact that Pacquiao is simply not favoured to win the bout. Over at Paddy Power, Pacquiao is a slight underdog at 11/10 odds to win the fight while Thurman sits at 8/11. Thurman has never lost a fight before, and that fact combined with Pacquiao’s slip in form makes Pacman’s underdog status understandable.
You can find full Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight odds here: https://www.paddypower.com/boxing/boxing-matches/keith-thurman-v-manny-pacquiao-29251803
Heading into the fight, Thurman seems confident that he will be able to beat the older fighter in the ring. He called Pacquiao’s fighting tactics predictable, stating that he needs to take advantage of that predictability if he is going to continue his run of fights without a loss. Whether or not he can do that remains to be seen, but the fact that he is 20 years younger than Pacquiao with plenty of success is cause for optimism in the Thurman camp. See more of Thurman’s comments on Pacquiao here: https://www.badlefthook.com/2019/6/12/18662815/keith-thurman-says-manny-pacquiao-boxing-tactics-are-predictable
As always with Pacquiao, rumours of his financial situation will surface when discussions of him continuing his career take place. But no matter what those issues look like, the continuation of Manny Pacquiao’s boxing career is putting him in a position to risk his safety in a game of diminishing returns. The older he gets, the less proficient he will be in the ring, and the more likely he is to suffer health problems in a sport where taking punches is a key component. But as long as Pacquiao continues fighting, he will continue to generate tremendous interest from fans around the world.