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Arum worried for Pacquiao’s health ahead of Thurman fight

Keith Thurman Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao’s former promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank worries that he could potentially suffer brain damage if he continues to fight at his age. Pacquiao (61-7-3, 39 KOs) has a tough fight scheduled for next month against WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) on July 20 on FOX Sports Pay-Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On paper, this is Pacquiao’s toughest fight since his fourth match against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. In the years since then, Pacquiao has fought Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jessie Vargas, Tim Bradley, Adrien Broner, Jeff Horn, Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios and Luccas Matthysse. Thurman is more formidable than those fighters in terms of having a combination of punching power and hand speed. Mayweather was faster than Thurman obviously, but he lacked the power to hurt Pacquiao.

Matthysse might have more power than Thurman, but he was short at 5’6 1/2″, and didn’t have the hand speed, youth or the punch resistance to deal with what Manny brought to the ring in their fight in 2018.

Arum voices his concern for Pacquiao

“Look, I love Manny Pacquiao. I have a whole history with Manny Pacquiao. So when you ask me a question like that, I’m really rooting for Manny Pacquiao, but you’ve got to realize that he’s 41 years of age, said Arum Fighthype. “When a fighter has been around so long passes his late 30s and goes into his 40s, he’s not going to be as good as he was in his prime.”

Fighters age differently from one another. One guy might be in his 30s, but looks like he’s well into his 40s. Then you get guys like Pacquiao, who is 40, but fights and looks like someone in his 30s. It’s difficult to predict what’s happening with a particular fighter physically. But in watching Pacquiao’s performances lately, he’s still fighting at a high level, and is performing better than Thurman. If one didn’t know the ages of the two fighters, you would argue that Pacquiao appears to be the younger fighter. Thurman is starting to look long in the tooth at 30. Arum’s thoughts on aging is fine, but you can’t lump all fighters of the same age bracket together, because people age differently.

Arum’s views on aging fighter’s craniums

“I wish him the best and I hope he wins the fight, but I am concerned, as I would be for any fighter, that when they get to a certain age that they probably should be fighting anymore,” said Arum. “The doctors will tell you that the cranium as you get older, thins out. So a guy that’s younger gets hit and the cranium absorbs the blow so that it doesn’t affect the brain matter. When they get older the cranium is thinner, and when you get hit it affects. That would be the worst thing in the world if Manny Pacquiao suffered brain damage at this point,” said Arum.

It’s unlikely that Pacquiao is going to stick around for too much longer with his career. If Thurman beats Pacquiao badly in their fight next month, it’s probable that the Filipino star will hang up his gloves. There’s still a lot of money for Pacquiao to make with his boxing career at this point, which makes it hard to resist not staying around. It’s unknown whether Pacquiao needs money for his political career or for general living. He’s made a massive amount of money in his career, and he should in theory be set for life. A victory for Pacquiao over Thurman will setup bigger matches against Errol Spence Jr., and other fighters. A rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather would be huge still.

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