Pacquiao holds ground vs Thurman in long staredown
Dino Maragay ( - July 20, 2019 - 2:08pm

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao usually doesn’t do well in pre-fight staredowns, but he might have outdone himself when he faced off with Keith Thurman for the last time Friday (Saturday, Manila time) before they lock horns in the ring.

When Pacquiao kept a serious face as he stood in front of Thurman for more than 20 seconds during the official weigh-in, it was a welcome sight.

No one was more delighted to see Pacquiao in full fight mode than his longtime cornerman Freddie Roach.

“He always smiles (during staredowns). This time he didn’t, and I liked that part too,” Roach told reporters afterwards.

Pacquiao, who challenges the WBA “super” welterweight champion Thurman, kept his game face on and just nodded when his foe started uttering words. Their two-inch height difference — Pacquiao is 5’5” while Thurman stands 5’7” — was obvious. 

Neither fighter flinched.

The Filipino icon normally is the first to break eye contact, but it wasn’t the case this time against Thurman, whose trash-talk has been a key topic of conversation throughout the promotion.

“He's (Pacquiao) a little bit pissed off at this guy. The guy has been talking too much,” said Roach.

“Manny is usually the one who folds. This guy (Thurman), he thinks he won the contest,” he added. 

True enough, despite Pacquiao’s best effort, the taller Thurman —  with his pronounced cheekbones and ponytail — still appeared to be the more intimidating fighter. The Clearwater, Florida-based boxer even repeated the slit-throat gesture he did during the press tours months ago.

As in all of his fights, Pacquiao — a veteran of 70 bouts — isn't intimidated.

And Roach, for his part, said it will be a different story on fight night.

“He (Thurman) might win the staredown, but he isn't going to win the fight,” the bespectacled trainer continued.

Roach said no other opponent has fired up Pacquiao.

“This pissed him off the most.”

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