Quick knockouts. Going toe-to-toe and fist-to-fist for multiple rounds. How will Keith Thurman’s hyped matchup vs. Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on Saturday night play out? And where will the Clearwater native’s performance for the WBA super welterweight title fall among the all-time best bouts with area ties?
We polled some experts, among them former Tampa Bay Times columnist and boxing writer John Cotey, Tampa native and former Tampa Tribune college sports editor and Tampa Bay boxing historian David Alfonso, and Tampa native and longtime boxing ring announcer Mark Beiro.
Winky Wright-Felix Trinidad
May 14, 2005, MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Wright dominated Trinidad over 12 rounds to earn the WBC’s No. 1 ranking. It wasn’t really close and it sent Trinidad careening into retirement a second time.
John Mugabi-Marvin Hagler
March 10, 1986, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Hagler was the undisputed middleweight champion and heavily favored. Mugabi (26-0, 26 KOs) gave him a bruising fight for 10 rounds before getting stopped in the 11th.
Antonio Tarver-Roy Jones Jr.
May 10, 2004, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas. A stunner. Tarver’s rematch with Jones Jr. for the light heavyweight title didn’t last long. In the second round, Jones, who had only lost once in his career, tried a right hand. Tarver threw a left hook. The End. Jones had ever been knocked out.
Carl Guggino-Carlos Alvarez
April 5, 1937, Tampa. Held at Benjamin Field, an outdoor arena where the former Fort Homer Hesterly Armory (now Glazer Family Center) was located. The brawl attracted a capacity crowd of about 6,000.
Tony Licata-Carlos Monzon
June 30, 1975, Madison Square Garden. A nationally televised bout for Monzon’s undisputed middleweight title saw Licata put up a good fight, but he was no match for the all-time great, who put him away in the 10th round.
Joe Walcott-Tommy Gomez
Aug. 16, 1946, Madison Square Garden. Tampa heavyweight Gomez was less than two years from having suffered serious injuries in the war when he went up against “Jersey” Joe Walcott. Walcott stopped Gomez in the third round.
Jeff Lacy-Joe Calzaghe
March 4, 2006, Manchester, United Kingdom. The night the music died for St. Petersburg’s Lacy, who on the biggest stage was pummeled by Calzaghe over 12 rounds.
Vinny Lecavalier-Jarome Iginla
May 29, 2004, Calgary Saddledome. No ring, no gloves no belt on the line — just a Cup. Who says boxing is just for boxers? In the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier fought Calgary captain Jarome Iginla in an epic brawl early in Game 3. Calgary won the game, but Lecavalier drew a line and sent a message that he and his teammates weren’t backing down. The Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games.
Keith Thurman vs. Manny Pacquiao
What: WBA super welterweight world title bout
When/where: 9 p.m. Saturday, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
TV: Pay-per-view via Fox Sports, $74.99; order at foxsports.com
The fighters: Clearwater’s Thurman, the WBA welterweight champion and former unified welterweight champ (29-0, 22 KOs); Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), only eight-division world champion in boxing history.
Last fights: Thurman, 30, came off a 22-month layoff because of injuries to win a majority decision over Josesito Lopez in January. Pacquiao, 40, won a unanimous decision over Adrien Broner in January.
Thurman quotable:: “Hell no. I don’t need $100 million in life. I just need a little bit of moolah.” Thurman, on whether he’ll be boxing at 40
Pacquiao quotable: “Keith Thurman has it easy. His only job is to train for this fight. I have three jobs. I am a fighter. I am a public servant. And on Saturday I am going to be Keith Thurman’s teacher''.