Pacquiao makes case for Fight of the Year, Fighter of the Year

LOS ANGELES, USA  – The Manny Pacquiao legend knows no bounds.

Already a sure Hall of Famer, Pacquiao climbed further in the ladder of boxing greats with a convincing beating of the previously untouchable Keith Thurman on Saturday, July 20 (Sunday, July 21, Philippine time).

Stalling aging once again, the 40-year-old Pacquiao wrested the World Boxing Association welterweight crown from Thurman behind a first-round knockdown and a tenth-round beatdown to become a strong contender for an unprecedented fourth Fighter of the Year award.

Apart from Pacquiao, only Floyd Mayweather Jr and Evander Holyfield – both retired – have achieved the feat and no one among the current superstars seem capable of reaching the plateau.

His Fighter of the Year plums in 2006, 2008, and 2009 were enough to merit Pacquiao the Fighter of the Decade award (2001 to 2010), putting him in the illustrious company of all-time greats like Sugar Ray Robinson (only two-time Fighter of the Decade awardee), Muhammad Ali ('60s), Roberto Duran ('70s), Sugar Ray Leonard ('80s), and Roy Jones Jr ('90s).

What really separates Pacquiao from the rest of the greats, however, are his 8 division world titles. Nobody comes close, with the nearest being Oscar De La Hoya – whom Pacquiao sent into retirement in 2008 – with 6.

And remember, Pacquiao will go on fighting, with his next bout likely to occur February or March 2020.

The pacesetter to tangle with the then 41-year-old Pacquiao is the winner of the Danny Garcia-Mikey Garcia bout set in August.

Pacquiao, however, would rather savor another memorable moment with Thurman.

"That was a real fight," said Pacquiao, joking he knocked down Thurman in the 1st round because he got mad.

"Nagalit 'yung bigote ko eh (He made my beard rise)," said Pacquiao, who dominated the early rounds before coasting along in the middle rounds.

"Nag-relax ako eh, gusto ko timing-an siya, kaya lang sinamantala niya (I relaxed because I wanted to time him but he exploited it to hit me)."

Pacquiao admitted Thurman hurt him also.

"He's strong, heavy handed like [Antonio Margarito]," Pacquiao said.

Coupled with his lopsided unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner in January, Pacquiao believes he's a strong candidate for more honors.

"Naka-dalawang fight naman tayo 'di ba? (I have two fights this year, right?) And they're enough to make me candidate for Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year honors."

Rather than worry that he'll be 41 in his next fight, Pacquiao relishes it.

"Kita mo, mas mabilis pa ako sa kanya. 'Pag gusto ko siyang galawan, biglang nawawala ako sa harap. 'Yung pihit ko parang Muhammad Ali (As you saw it, I'm faster than him. If I want to move, I'll suddenly disappear in front on him. My pivot is like Muhammad Ali's.)"

"Sarap 'no? (It feels good, right?)"

Paquiao still enjoys fighting, and there's no stopping him. –