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Mares says Thurman beats Pacquiao

Image: Mares says Thurman beats Pacquiao

By Mike Smith: Former three division world champion Abner Mares likes the Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman fight a lot more than the Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. match-up that was previously being talked about taking place. However, Mares says he can’t see the 40-year-old Pacquiao beating the younger 30-year-old Thurman, who he feels is a “different animal” than Manny’s last opponent Adrien “The Problem” Broner.

The Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight is being negotiated for July 13 on Showtime pay-per-view. The talks are said to be advanced in getting this fight.

Pacquiao defeated the “gun-shy” Broner by a 12 round unanimous decision last January in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a good performance by Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), but he did it against a fighter that looked like he was afraid to throw punches in 29-year-old Broner.

“You have Thurman against Pacquiao, and Errol Spence against Porter,” Mares said to Fighthype. “I think that’s the best fight Pacquiao could have chosen, because if he had fought Errol Spence, it would have been a difficult fight. So a thumbs up for Pacquiao’s team for not taking that fight, said Mares.

A lot of boxing fans would agree with Abner that WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Pacquiao is making the right decision in facing WBA Super World 147 lb champ Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) rather than IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs). With the way that Spence is beating everyone he faces with ease, Pacquiao would be over-matched against him, and end being up looking like a speed bump. At 5’6 1/2″, Pacquiao is too small to be taking on the 5’9 1/2″ Spence. The Texas fighter is big enough to fight at junior middleweight. Pacquiao is more of a light welterweight sized fighter at best. Like Mikey Garcia, Pacquiao would be too small to compete against Spence. If he went right at Spence in the same way he did against Broner, Pacquiao would get ground up by him by him quickly.

Pacquiao would likely immediately stop attacking after taking some big shots early, and he would resign himself to being picked apart for 12 rounds. It would be a bad fight to watch. If Spence were to seemingly carry Pacquiao for 12 rounds like he appeared to do against Mikey, then he would survive without being stopped, but it would be a dull fight to watch. If Spence decided to go after Pacquiao like he did against Carlos Ocampo and Chris Algieri, then we would see an early stopped. Pacquiao wouldn’t lose because of age to Spence. It would be a size and power issue that would lead to him getting stopped.

“I just feel with Pacquiao and Thurman, it’s a really good fight,” Mares said. “I like that fight because of the styles they both bring. Pacquiao, age is just a number for him. We saw what he did to a younger fighter, Broner, but Thurman is just a different animal. Thurman does go out and fight, because Adrien Broner. doesn’t. He hasn’t in his last three fights. He’s like gun-shy for some reason. He’s flashy and stuff, but he just doesn’t throw. Thurman is going to be a difficult fight; more of a difficult fight for Pacquiao,” Mares said.

Thurman is a much better fighter than Broner. Thurman didn’t look great in beating Josesito Lopez by a 12 round majority decision last January in his comeback fight after being out of the ring for two years, but he fought well enough to show that he still has a lot of talent. Thurman appeared to around 70% of the fighter he once was against Lopez, but that was enough for him to get the ‘W’ in that fight. Against Pacquiao, Thurman will need to show a little bit more for him to get the victory. If he fights the way he did against Lopez, he could lose, especially if he gets hurt at some point in the fight. Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs) didn’t have the talent to finish Thurman off after he hurt in in the seventh round with a big right hand in their fight on January 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Thurman won the fight by the scores 117-109, 115-111 and 113-113.

“It surprises me to see Manny Pacquiao in each fight, because he shows something different,” Mares said. “He can do it all. In his last fight, I like the pressure he put against a younger fighter Adrien Broner; the combinations, the movement. He’s not losing his legs. Thurman, I feel, should win the fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Manny Pacquiao surprised us just with the boxing skills he has,” Mares said.

Despite the huge praise he gives the former eight division world champion, Pacquiao IS showing signs of age. Mares may not see it, but it’s clearly there. A younger Pacquiao would have overwhelmed Broner with shots and forced a stoppage last January. A younger Pacquiao wouldn’t have lost to Jeff Horn and struggled against Jessie Vargas. Pacquiao isn’t the same guy he once was, but he’s still good enough to beat most of the welterweights in the division. Thurman is going to be a problem for him because of his hand speed, power and his movement. If Thurman stood and fought Pacquiao, the Filipino star would have an excellent chance of beating him. That’s not going to happen though. Thurman will fight like he always does by throwing one or two shots, and then retreating quickly to avoid getting hit. If Pacquiao chases him, Thurman will stop and throw a quick left hook and then retreat again. Thurman’s style of fighting is predictable, but effective. The fighters that have Thurman problems are the ones that put continuous pressure on him and force him to run around the ring to avoid contact. Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia gave Thurman huge problems in their fights with him.

“A lot of people take that in as a factor, especially against a fighter like Thurman, who hasn’t lost,” Mares said about Pacquiao’s age. “He’s undefeated, and he’s going up against a legend, who I myself am a big fan, and put him up with Ali, Frazier, the top legend fighters. He is that, a living legend. He’s still fighting, Manny Pacquiao,” Mares said.

Mares failed to point out the deterioration in Thurman’s game that he showed in his recent fight against Lopez. That wasn’t the same Thurman that had beaten Porter and Garcia. Thurman looked like a shell of the fighter he’d been. If he can’t fight better than that against Pacquiao, he could very well lose. Pacquiao hits harder than Lopez, and he throws a lot more punches as well. Pacquiao could beat Thurman simply by being busy and putting hands on him. If Pacquiao lands enough shots, Thurman will go. The movement that Thurman has used during his career has protected a weak chin. If Pacquiao can stay on top of Thurman for three minutes of each round, he could take him out within six rounds just simply by testing his chin repeatedly.

“Thurman is vulnerable. He’s the the type of fighter that takes those shots,” Mares said. “He got hit and almost knocked out by Josesito Lopez. So that let’s you know that he’s vulnerable to a left hand…I think it’s an even match-up, but I’m leaning towards Thurman,” Mares said.

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