Pacquiao defeats Thurman by split-decision

Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Senator Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao dropped Keith “One Time” Thurman in round one and won a close split decision to earn a welterweight world title in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“It was fun,” said Pacquiao. “My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong. I’m not that kind of boxer who talks a lot; we were just promoting the fight. I think he did his best, and I did my best. I think we made the fans happy tonight because it was a good fight.”

The sell-out crowd of 14,356 got treated to great action from the start, as an exciting first round was capped off by Pacquiao dropping Thurman for the first time in his career with a straight right hand late in the round.

“I knew it was too close,” said Thurman. “He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one.”

Thurman made it into the second round but continued to have trouble with Pacquiao’s right hand, as the future Hall of Famer threw it successfully as a jab and a power punch throughout the fight. Thurman adjusted in the middle rounds and began to try to smother Pacquiao and walk him down, having success when he was able to get his combinations off before his opponent.

Despite blood pouring from his nose from round four on, Thurman was able to land powerful combinations on Pacquiao for much of the second half of the fight, but was never able to hurt Pacquiao or score a knockdown of his own.

“I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe,” said Thurman. “I felt like he was getting a little bit tired, but he did have experience in the ring. My conditioning and my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao’s. I would love the rematch.”

In round 10, Pacquiao’s landed a strong left hook to the body that clearly hurt Thurman and forced him to spend much of the remainder of the round backpedaling. The CompuBox scores were indicative of the close nature of the fight, with Thurman out landing Pacquiao 210 to 195, while Pacquiao was busier throwing 686 punches to 571 from Thurman.

“I really love the fans,” said Pacquiao. “Thank you so much for coming here and witnessing the fight. I’m sure they were happy tonight because they saw a good fight. Even though Thurman lost, he did his best. He’s not an easy opponent. He’s a good boxer and he’s strong. I was just blessed tonight.

Watch the round 10 highlight HERE

Pacquiao had a large advantage in jabs landed, connecting on 82 to Thurman’s 18. The 192 power punches landed by Thurman was the most in 43 Pacquiao fights that CompuBox has tracked. Round-by-round, the two fighters were only separated by more than five landed punches in rounds two, seven and nine.

After 12 rounds, the judges reached a split decision, with one judge scoring the fight 114-113 for Thurman, overruled by two judges scoring it 115-112 for Pacquiao, who captured the WBA Welterweight World Championship at 40-years-old.

“You get blessings and lessons,” said Thurman. “Tonight was a blessing and a lesson. Thank you everybody, and thank you Manny Pacquiao.”

“I think (I will fight) next year,” said Pacquiao. “I will go back to the Philippines and work and then make a decision. I do hope to be at the (Errol) Spence vs. (Shawn) Porter fight on September 28.”

Photo: Ryan Hafney/PBC

Sergey Kovalev believes he over-trained for first fight against Andre Ward

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) has an entirely new training philosophy as he prepares for his highly-anticipated rematch with Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) on June 17 live on HBO Pay Per View® at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has fired his strength and conditioning coach and has vowed not to make the same mistakes this time around. His new coach, Aleksandr Mikhailovich, has a new philosophy centered around his prior experience working with biathletes.

Kovalev, the 33-year old from Chelyabinsk, Russia, believes he over-trained for his first fight with Ward and, as a result, when he failed to knockout Ward in the early in the bout, the Krusher ran out of steam in the championship rounds. Describing his training regimen for the first fight, he said, “I ran a lot. I did a lot of workouts. I did three workouts a day. I over-trained because I did a lot. I had a conditioning coach and he was scared to say something to me. I don’t know why. He thought if he said to me I would dispute his comment or not pay him money. He is crazy. I was confused myself. I worked with him for the rematch with Jean Pascal. After these next two fights, he killed me: Chilemba and Ward. I said to him bye-bye.”

For the rematch, Kovalev has a brand-new strength and training philosophy that allows him to get the most out of his workouts. Krusher explained, “I do less workout this time to save energy. I spent a lot of energy and a lot of power in my last training camp and I was empty already one month before the fight. I never fought ten rounds of sparring for the last fight of training camp. I maximum, one time, I sparred eight rounds. Already, yesterday, I spar ten rounds. I feel tired but I feel much better than last training camp.”

“I said before my last fight with Andre Ward that I should to get more work, more training and I did it,” said Kovalev. But he realizes now this hurt him in the long run. He continued, “I understand that I made my mistake, big mistake. It’s good experience for me too. But right now, I just try to get back all my training camp experience what I did before the fight with Chilemba. Because Chilemba fight and Andre Ward is the worst two, similar shape. I fought very bad. I looked very tired in both of these fights. Right now, delete this and get back what I did before these two fights and I hope it will bring success June 17.”

His long-time trainer, John David Jackson, had this to say about Kovalev’s conditioning for the rematch: “I noticed that this time around his conditioning coach was a bit different. He has him resting more. The other coach had him doing a lot of things that to me were unnecessary. I don’t get in the way of the conditioning coach’s job and I’m not doing that with this guy, but he seemed more interested in keeping Sergey a little more relaxed and not over-training.”

Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Jetlux, Life10 Electrolyte, Zappos, D’USSÉ Cognac, ProSupps and Powered by Monster. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” are available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office.