Thurman has pointers to help Ugas solve Pacquiao puzzle | Inquirer Sports
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WHAT HE COULDN’T DO TWO YEARS AGO

Thurman has pointers to help Ugas solve Pacquiao puzzle

05:10 AM August 22, 2021
Pacquiao Thurman Boxing

Keith Thurman, right, throws a punch against Manny Pacquiao in the eighth round during a welterweight title fight Saturday, July 20, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP File Photo

LAS VEGAS—There is a “How to Survive Manny Pacquiao for Dummies” book that Keith Thurman is practically selling.

And it could come in handy for Yordenis Ugas on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila).

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Thurman, the former world champion and the last fighter who attempted—and failed—to send Pacquiao to retirement, has some important pointers for Ugas: Go for the body. Hit low upper cuts. And never, ever lose footing.

“Look, he (Ugas) knows that people think he’s a paper champ. He knows that. And he wants to prove that he is not that,” said Thurman right after the weigh-in ceremonies Friday afternoon at MGM Grand Arena.

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Fatigue factor

Thurman analyzed the fight that will be held Saturday night at nearby T-Mobile Arena for Ugas’ World Boxing Association welterweight super championship, and thinks there are a few ways for the Cuban to win.

“If he (Pacquiao) faded on me two years ago, he’s most likely gonna fade on you (Ugas), ok?” said Thurman, recalling his fight with Pacquiao where the Filipino ran out of gas in the later rounds.

“Pacquiao is a legend, but this is two years after his performance (against) me, right? He did take damn much in that fight and the later rounds were favoring me,” explained Thurman.

“What’s gonna happen this time, two years later? I’ve never seen Ugas fatigued in a 12-round fight. Never seen it. I think that’s one of his strong points,” he added.

Maybe that’s the reason why Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, when asked, said that they want a running start. And hopefully, a quick end as well.

“I think we need to start fast, it’s gonna be a very, very quick start,” Roach said.

Punishing camp

Pacquiao turns 43 in December, and though he did knock down at least two of his spar mates during his eight-week training camp, there were also times when he appeared to be cramping up.

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Ugas, according to Thurman, can opt to not wait for the Filipino to tire and just connect to the body.

“Body shots, we all know the philosophy behind body shots: You chop at the tree, you chop at the tree,” said Thurman.

But can Pacquiao be hit?

“He’s already the small guy, the moment he put his hands up, I said to myself ‘what can I hit?’ The target got so small you know,” he said.

So what’s left for Ugas to do? Thurman suggested not to get knocked out.

“He knocked me down going back,” recalled Thurman, 32, “Ugas is gonna have to be careful. Pacquiao trained himself through the years to take advantage of fighters out of their position. So he’s gonna have to stay solid … and not let Manny do what Manny does best.”

Exactly how to do that? Thurman still has no idea.

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