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Thurman still mentally struggling from his loss to Pacquiao

Image: Thurman still mentally struggling from his loss to Pacquiao

By Sean Jones: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is still trying to make sense of what went wrong for him in his loss to Manny Pacquiao 14 months ago in July 2019, and he’s still having a hard time accepting the defeat. Hopefully, the loss to Pacquiao doesn’t ruin Thurman mentally because he’s taken his first career loss hard.

The former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has been inactive all this time since losing to Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), so he’s been stewing on his experience, and he’s understandably bitter as heck about it.

Thurman, 31, thinks he could have won the fight if he didn’t ease off in the championship rounds and try and settle for a draw. He says once he made up his mind that he was working for a draw instead of a victory, that’s where he blew it.

Pacquiao, 41, wanted it more, and he took over the contest in the championship rounds, hurting Thurman with a crunching body shot in the 10th round. It was all Thurman could to stay on his feet at getting hurt with the punch to the midsection from Manny.

In the end, the judges scored it for Pacquiao in giving him a 12 round split decision by the scores 115-112, 115-112 for Manny, and 114-113 for Thurman. Boxing News 24 scored it for Pacquiao 115-112.

Image: Thurman still mentally struggling from his loss to Pacquiao

It’s interesting that Thurman is still bellyaching about his loss to the Filipino star, and he’s not letting it go. It would help if Thurman started fighting again rather than calling for a rematch against Pacquiao because it’s not going to happen. Pacquiao has no intention of fighting Thurman again, and why would he?

Thurman talks about loss to Pacquiao

“The knockdown changed everything,” said Thurman to AHAT in talking about his loss to Pacquiao. “The way I remembered it, the two judges that favored him, one of them favored him by a one-point margin, which means without the knockdown, I win.

“Outside of that, a one-point margin on one judges’ scorecard. If I can get that point back in my favor, it’s one point away from being a draw. No matter how you look at it, it was very, very close, and when it’s that close, there’s always more you could have done.

“I believe I gave up similar to how you might have seen how De La Hoya fought Trinidad. Even though people a lot of people agree that Tito didn’t win that fight. But if you pay attention to the details, they also say that Oscar let up in the championship rounds.

“In the championship rounds, I told myself that was the time to go, and the time to get it done. I remember the last close fight was against Shawn Porter. In the eighth round on all the judges’ scorecards, they got there differently, but going into the ninth round, we were at a flat draw.

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“Every judge had it as a unanimous draw, which is very rare for the sport of boxing. So we’re at a unanimous draw with four rounds to go. Luckily with my fight IQ, nobody had to tell me it was a unanimous draw,” said Thurman.

The way that Thurman is still droning on about the loss to Manny, it’s as if he’s shell-shocked still from the experience. Thurman needs to forget about it, and learn what he can, and quit living in the past.

Thurman had to humble himself

“I sat down and got my water from my coach, and I told myself, ‘you can’t take more than four rounds in this eight-rounder right now,” said Thurman about the Porter fight.

“I said, ‘Shawn Porter can’t beat you. You might draw, but he can’t beat you.’ Then I said, ‘We’re in Brooklyn right now. Ain’t nobody showing up to go watch a draw. Let’s go get this W.’

“There was a certain mindset that I forced upon myself in those final four rounds. There was a moment very similar to this in the Pacquiao fight for me. The only problem is, I didn’t give myself the same speech.

“I said to myself, ‘Dang, man, I think it’s a draw. I think you’re good. Just keep pushing. I don’t know if they’re going to take it from you.’

“But I feel like the moment I accepted a draw was the moment I lost. Pushing for the W is the only way you can guarantee the W. Don’t slack off. Unless you know that you’ve got an eight to two lead going into the championship rounds, don’t ever slack off. My original trainer said, ‘Smart fighters win, and dumb fighters lose.’

Image: Thurman still mentally struggling from his loss to Pacquiao

“The reason why I was able to be humble at the end of the fight was that Pacquiao fought a smart fight. I may have landed more punches than him, but he landed the right punches at the right time to convince the judges that he’s winning these rounds. He protected himself at all times,” Thurman said.

Of course, Thurman had to humble himself after the fight, as he would have looked silly if he’d started complaining about being robbed. Pacquiao knocked Thurman down in the 1st round and then hurt him in the 10th. The first half of the contest was all Pacquiao.

While Thurman did a good job of rallying in the second part of the fight, he left Pacquiao to take over from the 10th round on.

Manny protected covered up well

“He kept his hands up very well, ‘One Time’ Thurman said about Pacquiao. “He tried to keep his hands up. I had to go around, and I had to go in between. I tried to bait him after the knockdown, and I wanted to create a brawl with him.

“His old age and his wisdom, and all the experience that he had, he took that all into the ring. He didn’t have any pride. He listened to his coach. They knew they had a little bit of a lead, so they just said, ‘Keep boxing smart.’

“He didn’t get overly aggressive; he didn’t take the bait from the young warrior trying to trade toe-to-toe. I know he was fading. Even with the pressure that I was putting on him, I knew he was fading.

“That body shot in the 10th helped him a lot because of the perspective. As I said, he lands the right shots at the right time against me. I can’t take that away. Oh definitely,” said Thurman when asked if the body shot from Pacquiao in the 10th affected him more than the knockdown in the 1st round.

“I smiled after the knockdown. He sprung into action when I was retreating in a backline. I didn’t take an angle, I wasn’t circling, and I stepped straight back, and he sprung forward—it as a momentum thing.

“There wasn’t much I could do about it with the knockdown. But the body shot, that was a painful thing. He snuck that one in there. It was right in the middle of the ring. It was a very awkward place to throw a body shot.

Image: Thurman still mentally struggling from his loss to Pacquiao

“When I got hit by a body shot by Luis Collazo, I was up against the ropes. He was pressuring me. So yeah, he kind of snuck that one in. I don’t take knees; I don’t go down if I don’t have to,” Keith Thurman said.

One reason that Pacquiao was able to protect himself so well was that Thurman was loading up with a lot of single shots, and making it obvious when he was about to throw a punch.

The body-shot won the fight for Pacquiao

“If the knockdown in the first round wasn’t there, I have the option to take a knee,” said Thurman. “But with the knockdown there and two knockdowns, now you know you need the KO to win. So it was just a scenario, man.

“I tried to do my best, and I tried to persevere, and I tried to push. I tried to recover as quickly as I can to get back on him, but I know it looked good in the highlights.

“Sometimes me and my people say that it’s the body shot that won the fight [for Pacquiao]. Sometimes we say it was the 10th round that lost the fight. That’s the problem when you lose. Even with a body shot, even with the knockdown in the first round, one judge had me winning by two rounds.

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“When I say I’m salty, I’m salty. As salty as I am, I still loved it. I loved the whole experience. It was epic. It was everything that I wanted it to be when it came to growing up and fighting the best fighters in the world, fighting on the biggest stage,” said Thurman.

The body shot that Pacquiao hurt Thurman with in the 10th was the coup de grace in that fight. Up until then, Thurman was coming on and putting the outcome in doubt for the Filipino star. But once he hurt Thurman with that body shot, it was smooth sailing from that point on.

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