Buboy Fernandez (left) and Freddie Roach with Manny Pacquiao.
Buboy Fernandez suspects broken rib
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

LAS VEGAS – The left hook that Manny Pacquiao whacked on Keith Thurman’s liver in the 10th round broke the previously unbeaten American’s momentum and sealed the win for the Filipino icon who wrested the super WBA welterweight crown by a split 12-round decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time).

Thurman was dropped by a right hook to the jaw in the first round then weathered a shaky start to take control in the middle rounds until Pacquiao landed the shot to the side of the body. Judge Glenn Feldman scored the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth rounds for Thurman who roared back with crunching combinations as Pacquiao appeared to lose steam. Judges Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham also gave rounds six, seven and nine to Thurman.

Pacquiao’s head trainer Buboy Fernandez said a lesser man would’ve gone down from that blast to the liver. “I think Thurman could’ve suffered a fractured rib,” said Fernandez in Pilipino. “If not a fractured rib, something serious. He’ll feel that for the next few days.”

Strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said the punch clearly broke Thurman’s momentum. “That could’ve been a 10-8 round for Manny because after Thurman got hit, he just ran away,” said Fortune. Fernandez said more than unleashing combinations, he wanted Pacquiao to bulldoze his way through Thurman’s defense and attack the body.

“In the fifth round, Manny hit Thurman to the body and I saw him sag a little,” said Fernandez. Someone from Floyd Mayweather’s camp even approached Pacquiao’s corner at the height of Thurman’s resurgence reminding to pound the body. Mayweather watched the action from ringside and must’ve sent a runner to deliver the message.

Fernandez said in the late rounds, Thurman’s power lacked the sting that it had in the early going. “In the eighth, Thurman hit Manny with a right straight,” he recalled. “It was like Thurman copying (Juan Manuel) Marquez’ style of taking two steps back then throwing a right straight. If Thurman hit Manny with that shot earlier, it would’ve made an impact. I told Manny huwag siya magsuntok. The key is not to get hit. Dapat sinagasaan ni Manny si Thurman at binugbog niya ang katawan.”

Trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao got tired after a furious assault in the first five rounds. He may have punched himself out. When Pacquiao’s work rate began to drop, Thurman picked up his confidence and went on attack mode. There were scary moments when Pacquiao got tagged in the face. But when the shot to the liver came in the 10th, the complexion of the fight reversed back to Pacquiao’s favor and it was too late for Thurman to regroup.

Feldman, Moretti and Cheatham were the same judges in Pacquiao’s fight against Adrien Broner last January. Feldman awarded six of the last seven rounds to Thurman and wound up scoring it 114-113 for the American. He gave seven of the 12 rounds to Thurman in a highly questionable tally. Feldman had it even 104-all entering the 12th round and gave the last stanza to Thurman. The two other judges scored the 12th for Pacquiao.

Moretti and Cheatham saw it 115-112 for Pacquiao. The three judges concurred in scoring five rounds for Pacquiao and four for Thurman. Most ringsiders said it should’ve been a win by unanimous decision for Pacquiao and criticized Feldman’s scoresheet. 

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