Official scorecard uploaded by Kevin Iole (@KevinI) on Twitter.

Last Sunday (Saturday night in Las Vegas), Manny Pacquiao carved out a split-decision win against Keith Thurman to become the WBA welterweight champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It was Thurman’s first career loss in 30 fights.

The 40-year-old senator from General Santos City seems to have been relieved when his name was called by ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. as the winner of the fight that went full 12 rounds. Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham scored it 115 to 112 in favor of Pacquiao while Glenn Feldman scored it 114-113 in favor of Thurman.

In the Philippines, it is almost sacrilegious to go against the current in Pacquiao fights. You might be branded as unpatriotic if you agreed with someone like Feldman who favored Thurman.

Some said Feldman was an incompetent judge; others even commented that the guy must have been watching the reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray along the sidelines, and thus was unable to judge the match well. Objectively, what did Feldman say of the Philippines’ boxing treasure? What pointers can ordinary fans take from him after this latest Pacquiao bout?

First, Manny Pacquiao is 40 years old. During the fight against Thurman, Pacquiao showed flashes of old, with quick combinations that even knocked Thurman down late in the first round and delivered a huge body shot in the 10th that I think clinched the match for him. Pacquiao showed excellent ring generalship all throughout the match that compensated for that lost step or two.

Throughout his career, Pacquiao was known to be an excellent counterpuncher. But in this fight, he adapted well and was a very selective counterpuncher. That tactic made Thurman a little bit tentative. This became evident with the percentage of jabs landed, as Thurman connected only 18 jabs against Pacquiao’s 82. We still saw that barrage of punches of old, but we have to admit, Pacquiao also lost some hand speed and footwork. That was evident in Sunday’s match.

Second, both fighters were aggressive. According to CompuBox Punch Stats, Thurman landed a total of 210 punches (36.8%) against Pacquiao’s 195 punches (28.4%). Pacquiao allowed 192 power punches by Thurman and connected 113. The 210 punches were the most that Pacquiao allowed in recent memory.

But there’s one thing Feldman might have missed, and it was the telling blows. While showing some signs of aging, Manny Pacquiao still has power in his punches. Stats showed he might have connected less than Thurman, but the punches Pacquiao landed were quality punches and very telling of the way the fight went. Look at the face of Keith Thurman and I rest my case.

What might be next for the fighting treasure of the Philippines? Thurman has asked for a rematch later this year. Question is, will Pacquiao give in? From a business standpoint, if the price is right then let’s get it on. But we also have to factor in that Manny Pacquiao is an elected official of the land, a senator who has the obligation to serve the people who voted for him. Having another fight later this year will again hurt the attendance record of the good senator once he resumes training.

Given his religious nature, I would like to quote from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 5 verses 5 to 6, which reads, “Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace. When the king saw the hand that wrote, his face became pale; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked.”

Filipino boxing fans, the ordinary men on the street, might be mad at Glenn Feldman but Manny and his team must also look into his judgment of the last fight. Feldman might be seeing the writing on the wall just as in the Book of Daniel. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan David Robinson, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – these are the names who said goodbye to their game as winners.

Manny Pacquiao has nothing to prove. His name and legacy as a great boxer have been etched in the annals of history. Now is the time for him to choose well and to decide well. Unless Floyd Mayweather Jr. comes out of retirement, Sunday’s victory should be Pacquiao’s swan song.


Chris King De La Cruz is basketball coach and a senior high school teacher at the University of Santo Tomas. He was a Top 10 Coach of the Year finalist in the Junior NBA in 2015. He has done analysis in panels for the television coverages of NAASCU, UCBL, and recently, the Metro League. He is a regular resource person and analyst for DZMM Teleradyo’s “Fastbreak.” The coach of the basketball team of the Office of the Solicitor General, Chris is active in the recreational basketball circuit in Metro Manila. He holds a master’s degree in religious education from Ateneo de Manila University.