By Peter Axline: Trainer Freddie Roach believes that it’s still possible for Manny Pacquiao to fight Errol Spence and/or Terence Crawford following his close 12 round split decision win over WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) is in need of an opponent now for his next fight after edging the 30-year-old Thurman by the score 115-112, 115-112 for Manny, and 114-113 for Thurman. The victory for the 40-year-old Pacquiao showed that he’s still one of the elite welterweights in the division at his age. However, it’s unclear whether Pacquiao wants to test himself further by taking on the true lions in the 147 pound division in Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) and Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs). Those two world champions are fighting at a higher level than Thurman, who has aged and lost from his game in the two years that he was inactive from 2017 to 2019.

Roach says Pacquiao has enough left to fight Crawford and Spence

“Yes, I feel he does but the thing is those are really, really hard fights,” said Roach to Fighthub when asked if Pacquiao has enough left to take on the likes of Crawford and Spence. “We have nobody in mind right now. We know those guys are out there, yes. And we know we want to be the best in this division, and we’re not just fighting for fun, you know? So if like Mayweather comes around, great. But if he doesn’t, Spence, ‘Bud’ Crawford, those guys, I mean young guys doing really well and very, very tough fights. But we have to really, really sit down, everything settles, and make a good decision of who’s next.”

It would be a different story for Pacquiao to take on Spence and Crawford right now compared to his fight last Saturday night against ‘One Time’ Thurman. It’s clear that Thurman has lost a major portion of his game from his two years out of the ring. There’s a dramatic difference between how Spence and Crawford are both looking right now compared to Thurman.

Pacquiao could be risking suffering a knockout loss to those two fighters if he chooses to face them. It might be better for Pacquiao to look in another direction towards a fight with Amir Khan, and then possibly Floyd Mayweather Jr. if he comes out of retirement.  Pacquiao no longer has anything to prove after 24 years as a pro, and it might be a good time for him to bow out. An easy payday against Khan would obviously help cushion Manny’s retirement years. Mayweather might suddenly show interest in fighting Pacquiao if he chooses to retire now. That’s easily Mayweaather’s best shot at making huge money in a winnable fight against a top boxer.

Roach says Thurman was hurt in the first round by Pacquiao

“Oh no, he was definitely hurt,” said Roach in talking about Thurman being dropped by Pacquiao in round one last Saturday night. “That was a good knockdown, hurt him badly, and almost finished him in that round actually. But I said ‘the old Manny Pacquiao’s back!’ I’m really happy about that.”

Thurman looked hurt in the first round. The way that Pacquiao went on the attack after dropping Thurman, it put him in a situation where he wasn’t given time to recover.  Thurman showed a lot of ability in making it out of the round without getting dropped a second time, because he was under serious fire from Pacquiao after being dropped. As far as Pacquiao being the “Old” Manny, that’s not the case. That’s wishful thinking on Roach’s part. Pacquiao was in there with a guy that is 30 going on 40 in Thurman, who is nowhere near the same fighter he was years ago.

Pacquiao should have been given credit for a 2-point round in the 10th says Roach

“He was but the thing is he ran pretty good,” said Roach. “He stayed away and that’s why I call that a two-point round because he ran for at least two minutes after being hurt by that body shot, but those things happen.”

Roach is right about Pacquiao deserving a two point round in the 10th after hurting Thurman with a body shot. It was obvious from the shot that Pacquiao landed to the midsection of Thurman, that he had him hurt badly. The way that Thurman was forced to run for the last two minutes of the round to keep from getting knocked out makes it clear that he was in trouble. The judges should have taken that into account when they scored the 10th round.

“Not sure how they got that but the thing is, judges are judges and if you ask them why and so forth, they won’t give you an answer,” said Roach about the one judge that scored it for Thurman 114-113.