It was another interesting week in boxing. Here are the highs and lows of the last seven days.
- Manny Pacquiao continues to amaze. Typically, the decline of athletes begins in their mid-to-late 30's. And for a time that appeared to be the case for Pacquiao after a stretch where he went 2-2 from May 2015 to July 2017. But something happened to the Senator of the Phillippines as he approached and reached his 40th birthday in December. He found the fountain of youth and has turned back the clock, going 3-0 in the last 12 months, highlighted by a vintage Pacquiao performance on Saturday night, defeating Keith Thurman by split decision to become the primary WBA welterweight champion in front of a soldout crowd of 14,356 people at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and plenty more watching at home on pay-per-view.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) looked sharp from the opening bell. He had his trademark speed combined with good footwork and the power which led to knocking Thurman down in the first round with a crisp, straight right hand, before rocking him again the second round and nearly finishing the previously undefeated Thurman with a crippling body shot in the 10th that would have sent most crumbling to the canvas.
It's quite amazing to see Pacquiao competing at such an elite level in the most profound division in boxing. Is he as good as when he plowed through Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito? No, but this version is just as fun and exciting to see competing at the highest level.
What should be next is either the winner of Errol Spence Jr.-Shawn Porter on Sept. 28 or the rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Shockingly, Pacquiao didn't bring up Mayweather's name during his post-fight interview. While a Pacquiao-Spence or Pacquiao-Porter would be fun too as the grizzled veteran looks to continue to beat up on the young lions, Spence — and most likely Porter — would batter Pacquiao. It would be fun to see a 100-percent Pacquiao take on Mayweather, who was at the fight and looked to be in great shape. It's all up to Mayweather at this point if he wants to get back into the ring for what would be one more huge financial payday.
- Caleb Plant makes a statement. Plant was put into a prime position being the featured preliminary bout on the Pacquiao-Thurman card on Fox against Mike Lee. Plant and Lee went on the press tour with Pacquiao and Thurman and were given the superstar treatment during the buildup. "Sweethands" made the most of the opportunity by making easy work of Lee to score three knockdowns to win in the third round to retain the IBF super middleweight championship.
Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) showed no regard for Lee's skills. He connected on any shot he wanted to and it was a matter of time before he got the Notre Dame graduate out of there. After scoring a knockdown in the first round, Plant scored two knockdowns (which should've been three) in the third round to force referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight before Lee took any more unnecessary punishment.
The 27-year-old did precisely what he was supposed to do and put on a showing the boxing public will remember. Plant made the most of the chance and became a bigger star because of the way he performed. Now, Plant can focus on getting married in the next few months and get ready to take on the winner of the WBC title fight between Anthony Dirrell and David Benavidez on Sept. 28.
- Errol Spence vs. Shawn Porter. The highly-anticipated showdown formally got announced at a press conference on Saturday for their Sept. 28 clash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in a welterweight title unification bout with the winner being the IBF and WBC champion.
You could see during the presser that Porter was trying to get under Spence's skin and to a degree, it worked by the expressions on "The Truth's" face. When they did a short interview on the pay-per-view telecast, the tension between the two was rather palpable.
The respect is there, but they would prefer to not be in the same room as each other. They will settle the score in a little over two months with the winner moving closer to becoming the undisputed champion at 147 pounds and the best fighter in the division.
- Adrien Broner being Adrien Broner. We haven't heard much from the four-division world champion since he got blown out by Pacquiao in January. He's kept himself out of trouble and stayed low-key. But with the Pacquiao-Thurman fight, "AB" showed up and made his presence felt.
After the fight, Broner did a short interview with reporter Helen Yee. Broner was making accusations that Thurman was gambling with him at 3:00 a.m. on Friday before the weigh-in. Broner proceeded to say that he did better than Thurman against Pacquiao.
“I don’t even get the credit I deserve, Broner told Yee. "Now everybody is giving me credit. I did way better than Keith; he got cooked. He almost wanted to quit, too. I seen some quit in him, too.”
One has to wonder if Broner truly believes the words coming out of his mouth. The statement couldn't be farther from the truth and makes him come off like he doesn't know what he's talking about.
A case can be made that Broner lost every round to Pacquiao, while Thurman won rounds and was competitive throughout compared to how Broner looked to be just collecting a paycheck.
On the other hand, it is also a case of Broner looking for another lucrative fight, and Thurman would fit the bill of such. Let's see if Thurman takes the bait. Hopefully not, as seeing Broner against high-caliber contests is getting bothersome and tedious since we already know what the result is going to be and how the Ohio native is going to be inside the ring.
- Uncalled for antics by Premier Boxing Champions. The PBC was having a great show on Saturday night. The fights were compelling, and the commentary by the Fox Sports team was solid. Then it all came crashing down when a graphic was shown of the current welterweight champions and one champion's name was missing — WBO titleholder Terence Crawford.
— Jamel Herring (@JamelHerring) July 21, 2019
At first glance, you thought perhaps it was a mistake made by PBC and Fox Sports. But when Crawford's name wasn't mentioned, you knew what the deal was. He definitely did.
You know the hate is real when they don’t acknowledge the fact that you a title holder
— Terence Crawford (@terencecrawford) July 21, 2019
This has been the staple of PBC telecasts where other world champions who aren't affiliated with them don't exist in any form. It makes PBC come off as spiteful, low class and disrespectful.
Other promotions do exist as fighters of Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy compete on DAZN (editor's note: Sporting News is part of the DAZN Group), and Top Rank fighters compete on ESPN.
It's understandable that PBC wants fans to think the boxing universe revolves around them. But other places for fighters to ply their craft do exist and those organizations acknowledge PBC fighters.
What worked in pro wrestling in the 1980s and part of the 1990s of not acknowledging your competition doesn't work in this realm.
Why come off as petty when boxing is thriving, and there's enough room in the sandbox for everyone to play?