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Is Pacquiao still one of the elite fighters at 147?

Manny Pacquiao

By Jeff Aronow: Manny Pacquiao, at age 41, may no longer be one of the elite level welterweights in the division. As Chris Mannix of DAZN points out, Manny is not on the in the same league as the top 147-pounders Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. Those two are sitting on the top of the welterweight division as the elite guys.

Just below the elite level guys at 147 are the B-level contenders, who have good talent, but they’re at the stage where they can be put in the same category as Spence and Crawford.

The B-level 147-pounders:

  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Yordenis Ugas
  • Shawn Porter
  • Keith Thurman
  • Danny Garcia
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr.
  • Sergey Lipinets
  • Mikey Garcia
  • David Avanesyan

Manny Pacquiao

Is Manny Pacquiao still an elite level welterweight?

“There’s a lot of interest in who Pacquiao will face in 2020. We know he’s a big name, but do you see Pacquiao as being an elite fighter?” said Chris Mannix to DAZN.

“He just beat an elite fighter in champion Keith Thurman, so that makes you elite,” said Sergio Mora. “Are you in your prime, in his prowess, and does he have the foot speed and hand speed that he did when he was coming up and was a typhoon? No, he’s not in his prime, but he is dangerous, and he can give any elite fighters problems.

“He’s one of these living legends and is a special fighter. You get these special fighters once in 20 years. He’s a congressman, and soon to be president. This guy can do anything he wants and in boxing. He’s dangerous, and he can beat anybody at 147,” said Mora.

Pacquiao’s win over Thurman wasn’t as good as one would think, given that ‘One Time’ is not the same fighter he was in 2017. Maybe Thurman was never that good in the first place. He barely beat Danny Garcia in 2017 when he was at his best, and he struggled against Shawn Porter in 2016.

The witches brew of inactivity, injuries, and married life did a whammy on Thurman’s skills. For all those reasons, you can’t say that Pacquiao is an elite level welterweight for beating Thurman.

Pacquiao just below elite level

“Well, I disagree with that. I don’t see him as elite at this point,” said Mannix about Pacquiao. “I think there are two fighters at 147 that are elite—Terence Crawford and Errol Spence; at least the Spence before the injury. And Pacquiao has had opportunities over the last few years to fight both of those guys, and he’s declined both guys.

“He never wanted to fight Terence Crawford when he was a stable-mate of his when he was with Top Rank. And Spence, after he beat Mikey Garcia, Pacquiao was standing in the ring, and they were talking about making that fight. Pacquiao, for whatever reason, didn’t want to do it. I think Pacquiao is a cut below elite because I believe there are guys that he can definitely still compete with.”

As Mannix points out, Pacquiao hasn’t shown a great deal of interest in fighting Crawford or Spence. Instead of fighting those two, Pacquiao has used up the last three years of his career fighting these guys:

  • Keith Thurman
  • Lucas Matthysse
  • Adrien Broner
  • Jeff Horn

Those were all B-level welterweights when Pacquiao fought them. Horn has now moved up in weight, Broner, and Matthysse no longer fight.

Manny Pacquiao

Manny still capable of beating B-level contenders 

“If you put him [Pacquiao] in with Shawn Porter, I think he beats Shawn Porter,” said Mannix. “And if you put him in with Mikey Garcia, it’s a great fight, but I would make him a favorite over Mikey Garcia.

“I think Pacquiao at 41-years-old has to be very selective with who he faces over the remainder of his career because if you put him in with Mikey, Porter, or any of those second-tier welterweights, he can either win or be competitive. But if you put him in with Crawford or Spence, I’m telling you, he is not on their level.

“What the hell do you know about elite?” said Mora. “Manny Pacquiao has a legendary resume. He’s a living legend. Would you consider Keith Thurman an elite fighter before he beat him, an undefeated fighter, an undefeated champion, power-puncher, ‘One Time.’ He has that eraser that you love so much. Would you consider Thurman elite?”

Pacquiao can probably beat some of the B-level guys if he were to come back this year, but if he sits out of the ring until 2021, then maybe not. If you put Pacquiao in with Porter after a year and half of inactivity, it’s not going to end well for Manny.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought since last July, if he doesn’t fight until July of 2021, that’ll be two years out of the ring. I think that’s too much time for a fighter that will be 42 in December.

Thurman was no longer elite when Pacquiao beat him

“If you studied boxing and knew the background of these things. I think Keith Thurman had lost a step before he fought Pacquiao,” said Mannix. “And I don’t think the Thurman we saw against Pacquiao was the Thurman we saw beating Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.

“I think his life had changed. And I think he reached kind of a quasi-mountain top of being the top welterweight in the world, and then he got injured, and then he got married. I think some of those things took some of the spirit away from him. So no, I didn’t think Thurman was a true elite at that time.”

“All the things you mentioned have nothing to do with Pacquiao being an elite fighter now,” said Mannix. “His resume is irrelevant right now. The fact that he’s a senator is irrelevant right now.

“Who he’s beaten recently is irrelevant for right now. Is he capable of beating Crawford or Spence? Are you going to sit there and say that he can beat Terence Crawford or Errol Spence?”

Thurman is not the fighter he once was, and he’s not going to return to that level. The injuries, the money he’s made, and married life have caused Thurman’s game to deteriorate.

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