Manny Pacquiao has a history of prevailing in big fights. Can he add another blockbuster win to his storied career with a victory over Keith Thurman? Or will the undefeated welterweight take down the 40-year-old and claim the world title?
SI.com's boxing experts Chris Mannix and Greg Bishop weigh in with their predictions before Saturday night's fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Chris Mannix: Thurman by decision
Two years ago, Thurman was elite. He had back-to-back wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, and had a case to be called the No. 1 welterweight in the world. I still believe that guy is there. Thurman is 30, in his prime and while the knockouts have dwindled the last few years, he still has that one-punch power. And Pacquiao has been known to walk into big shots. I’m not ready buy into this resurgent Pacquiao narrative yet, either. Lucas Matthysse was washed when Pacquiao knocked him out and Adrien Broner did not come to win. Freddie Roach being back is helpful, but 40 is still 40 and no one is going to argue that Pacquiao is a fresh 40. I think Thurman’s athleticism will keep him away from Pacquiao’s power and he will land enough clean power shots to win a decision.
Greg Bishop: Pacquiao by decision
What I love about this fight is it's very not-modern-boxing in that I think either welterweight could win. The bout, I think, hinges on whether what we've seen from both fighters in the past couple years is the result of 1) Pacquiao's career resurgence and Thurman's injury-related lull or 2) good and bad matchmaking, the boxing equivalent of smoke and mirrors. Is Pacquiao the fighter who looked old against Jeff Horn or impressive in knocking out Lucas Matthysse and out-pointing Adrien Broner? Is Thurman the boxer who narrowly topped Danny Garcia in a 2017 thriller or the one who looked rusty in his return win over Josesito Lopez early this year? I'd take the Thurman of '17 over the Pacquiao of '17 and the Pacquiao of this January over the Thurman of the same. So what will we see this weekend in Las Vegas. I'll take Pacquiao and his career resurgence—I'm buying it—for the narrow win by decision. Something like seven rounds to five.