By Ponciano "John" Melo Jr.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao beat Keith Thurman via a split decision to snatch the World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight belt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila).
The 40-year old Pacquio knocked down Thurman with a quick four-punch combination punctuated by a right hook with 26 seconds left in the first round and asserted dominance from there en route to dethroning the erstwhile unbeaten American fighter.
Pacquiao got the nods of Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham, who both scored 115-112, while Glenn Feldman controversially saw it 114-113 in favor of Thurman.
Pacquiao still had nothing but good words for the brash Thurman, who was talking trash prior to the title bout.
"He's not an easy opponent. He's a good fighter," said the pride of Saranggani.
"He did his best and I did my best to make the people happy."
The lone eight-division world champion in boxing history improved his decorated record to 62 wins (39 knockouts) against seven losses and two draws while sending the 30-year old Thurman crashing to his first defeat in 31 matches.
After losing in his fourth title defense, Thurman (29-1 win loss) asked for a rematch. "He's a truly great, legendary boxer. My conditioning and output was just behind him. I'm just hoping for a rematch," said the Clearwater, Florida native.
But Thurman might need to wait as Pacquiao said he is mulling a break after facing 25 world champions and having three fights a year since 2008.
"My next fight is probably next year. I want to focus on my senate duties.," said Manny