Plant and Pacquiao Win in Dominating Fashion
By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
The MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, this past Saturday night was once again the site of an exciting night of boxing. Boxing fans saw a dominate Super Middleweight title defense and the WBA Welterweight Championship of the world switch hands. Additionally, there was plenty of exciting boxing action for boxing fans to enjoy throughout the evening.
Fans of the “sweet science” had a championship fight card to enjoy. As the night began with PBC on FOX airing multiple fights which began with Nigerian born Efe Ajagba who edged out Turkish Ali Efren Demirezen in their 12 Round Heavyweight bout. Adding to the evident animosity of the IBF Super Middleweight title bout, Plant appeared to be annoyed that Mike Lee pulled out of the pre-fight promotional “Face-Off” on FOX, by straight asking him to the tell the fans and press why he elected not the attend.
As tensions continued to grow leading up to the IBF Super Middleweight fight between Caleb Plant and Mike Lee, the emotions of these boxers seemed to come to the surface. Whether it was the nervousness of the pre-fight hype or actual disdain for their competition both of these fighters seemed genuinely perturbed. Lee was also bothered by the fact that Caleb Plant saw his achievements outside the ring as a distraction to his championship quest. While Plants didn’t like the idea of this “businessman” taking the belt which he worked so hard to obtain. The thing we all love about boxing is, these guys get to settle their differences inside the squared circle.
In his initial IBF Super Middleweight title defense Caleb “Sweethands” Plant wasted no time in showing his dominance against the previously undefeated, Chicago native and Notre Dame graduate Mike Lee. Plant dropped Lee in the first round with a quick left hook 2 minutes into the first round. After setting up his jab, Plant knocked Lee down again with a strong right hook early in the 3rd round. With his hands down to his side, Caleb Plant quickly delivered another hard left hook that dropped Mike Lee for the second time in that 3rd round. Lee was then drooped for a 3rd time in round three when the ref stopped this fight and ended the PBC on FOX telecast.
In the opening fight on PBC on FOX Pay-Per-View saw Tijuana native Luis Nery knocked out Dominican born Juan Carlos Payano to retain the WBC Silver Bantamweight Championship. Additionally, Kazakhstan native Sergey Lipinets knocked out the replacement fighter that was called in on such short notice. Pay per view fans also enjoyed the beatdown of previously undefeated and Texas-born Omar Figueroa Jr. by Cuban Yordenis Ugas. Though this fight went the distance, it could be argued that Figueroa’s corner should have thrown in the towel in the 8th or 9th round. Ugas was convincingly winning this fight and continued to punish Figueroa throughout. At no point did Figueroa have an advantage nor was he able to defend himself from the punishment dished out by Yordenis.
This championship fight card at the MGM Grand was centered around 61-7-2 (39 KOs) Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao challenging the WBA Welterweight World Champion 29-0 (22 KOs) and Clearwater Florida’s own Keith “One Time” Thurman for the Welterweight Championship of the world. The 40-year-old Philippine Senator was up against a 30-year-old and undefeated Keith Thurman for supremacy of one of boxing’s crowed yet most talented divisions.
Pacquiao had this to say leading up to their July 20th fight, “I consider this fight one of the most important of my career because I am 40, I want to prove something. My opponent is very good at talking but we’ll see what happens in the ring. Boxing is a science. You have to study. Not only when you have a scheduled fight, but you have to always be studying boxing. That’s allowed me to have the career that I have. It would mean a lot to be 40-years-old and beat someone undefeated. It shows that I can still fight against the best.”
In front of over 14,300 fans that were in attendance, at the MGM Grand Arena, in addition to the hundreds of thousand Pay-Per-Views buys, boxing fans from all around got a chance to see Manny Pacquiao put on one of his best fights we’ve seen from him in years. At no point was Manny put in danger by the younger Keith Thurman. In fact, after knocking down Thurman in the first round, Pacquiao never relinquished control of the fight.
Though coming into this fight, I picked Thurman to win, this outcome wasn’t close. Manny won the first 5 rounds convincingly and I only gave him the 6th and 10th rounds to Keith Thurman. Outside of a couple of hard right hands from Thurman, Pacquiao thoroughly controlled nearly every round of this fight with his speed, punching power, and agility. Honestly, this appeared to be the Manny Pacquiao from several years ago.
After the fight Manny Pacquiao shared these thoughts with us, “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. I really love the fans. 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. I think I will fight next year. I will go back to the Philippines and work and then make a decision. I hope to be at that (Spence-Porter) fight on Sept. 28.”
“I knew it was too close. He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one.” Referenced Keith Thurman, in his post-fight comments. “I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe. 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.” I credit Keith for keeping his word once he lost to Manny by saying, “Oh senator, oh senator how great is thee, oh Senator!”
Now that Manny has another belt, a fight between him and the winner of the Spence vs Porter fight would be an intriguing matchup for boxing fans. With that Spence vs Porter bout coming up in September, boxing fans can look forward to the winner to fight Pacquiao for a unification bout in early 2020. Though I reserve the right to change my opinion, I would expect that we will see a Spence vs Pacquiao fight next year.
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