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Nah, Keith Thurman, Pacquiao rematch not in the cards

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Keith Thurman wants a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, but he’s unlikely to get his wish.

Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Hey, you wanna break it to him, or shall I?

No, Keith Thurman, prospects do not look good for you getting a sequel session against Manny Pacquiao.

I saw how the cerebral Floridian said after his hand heals up, following a forthcoming surgery, there’s nothing he wants more than to fight Manny Pacquiao again.

Not in the cards, sir.

I admit, I was a bit surprised to hear KT, speaking to Marcos Villegas, said, “You know who I want. You should know who I want. I want that rematch, baby. That’s all I really want. We’ll see what happens, though.”

It will be “though,” because while he gave a decent account of himself, that fight didn’t have all the ebbs and flows, the dramatic surges, and the loose ends which lend themself to sequels. Or the controversy.

See, boxing isn’t like Hollywood. Whereas in Tinseltown, executives play it safe, and follow tried and true formulas — resulting in a spate of sequel after sequel, which only ends when the last bit of moolah is wrung from the enterprise — in boxing, we don’t operate the same way.

Boxing is that strange sport, where even when a fight lifts off, and delivers or even over-delivers, the possibility that we see a rematch can be rendered less likely. That’s sometimes because an A-side had a harder time with a B-side, and the protected A-side is going to be steered in another direction, to safer ground.

How about this: makes sense, on paper, to have Manny Pacquiao run it back on Jeff Horn, right? They clashed in July 2017, and Horn won a homeland showdown, besting the Filipino in Australia. Let’s do it again, allow Manny to avenge the defeat, no? No! Horn wanted that re-do, wanted that level of buzz and paycheck, but settled for a fight against Gary Corcoran next, before being fed to the lion that is Terence Crawford. He tangoed with Anthony Mundine, then underperformed, perhaps indicating his end of the line, in a loss to Michael Zerafa. There were other options that made more sense for Manny, especially since he exited the Top Rank orbit.

Plenty of folks craved a rematch between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Orlando Salido. You’ll recall that in his second pro outing (March 2014) the majestic amateur turned punch for pay-er was matched with alley cat scrapper Salido, who showed him tricks of the trade they don’t teach in polite places. Loma lost a split decision, and it seemed a natural for him, a year or so later, to book it again, and show Salido that the roughhousing wouldn’t work. But it needed to make sense from a storyline and a budget perspective, and Salido wanted a fat raise from what he got the first time around. A deal couldn’t be hashed out, and the Mexican had his last bout to date in December 2017.

Gennadiy Golovkin, another pound for pound ace, he thinks about sequels and trilogies, too. It makes sense for him, and for DAZN, the platform he’s signed to, to fight Canelo Alvarez again. They battled twice, went the distance twice, and jurors are still arguing over the disposition to both fights. But Alvarez is the stumbling block to a third waltz, and he has the leverage gavel in hand, so we will see if and when they run back the runback.

But Thurman, he will be outta luck and I’d advise him to not bother a bit agitating for another bout with Pacman. You might not recall, the fight was deemed a split decision, as Glenn Feldman saw it for the Floridian, 114-112, but his card is not regarded as a home run effort for the arbiter, to put it politely.

Pacman won by three points on the two other cards, and the fight isn’t remembered as even being that close, months later. In Thurman’s favor, the event did well in the revenue generation department, gaining around 500,000 buys, so powers that be have to believe he did well in generating buzz for the July mashup.

But, as we discuss the possibility of a sequel we have to ask, what would the storyline be as we book the sequel? What could go different this time? Would the guy who lost be likely to improve, in some manner, in a way that suggests to potential PPV buyers that this time he could win?

With Thurman headed to the shelf for a hand surgery, I see chatter among fans that his body is betraying him somewhat. So what could or would he do to convince people who feel like there would be a “been there, seen that” element in play if the powers that be decided to shoot a sequel? Rhetorical question.

But of course, and I think most everyone reading this comprehends it, booking bouts mostly has to do with making the most moolah for the power brokers. And there are a few other bouts that would generate more money for Pacman and a foe, than another fight with Thurman. Pacquiao vs Mayweather 2 is still a loot amasser, and Spence vs Pacman would provide reasons to craft it, beyond just making money. A win over Pacquiao would elevate Spence to that next level of stardom, and the suits all understand that his upside hasn’t met a ceiling, whereas Thurman’s has.

Hey, stranger things have happened, so I’m not saying there is zero chance that Thurman gets a another winning scratch ticket in the form of a second tussle with the fighting Senator. But we’d bet against it occurring.