LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao, months away from his 41st birthday but looking not a day out of his heyday, beat a game Keith Thurman via split decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time)
Pacquiao, 40, never got the knockout the crowd coveted but impressed from the time he dropped Thurman to the seat of his pants late in the first round with a wicked left to the bread basket and a right hook to the jaw.
The world's only eight-division world champion wavered in the middle rounds beginning in the seventh, allowing Thurman to land a couple of clear shots of his own and enjoy his brightest moments in the fight.
Pacquiao, however, regained control starting in the 10th when he dug a stinging left into Thurman's mid-section, setting up the fiery finish that had the two warriors exchanging punches down to the final bell.
Two of the judges scored it 115-112 and 115-112 for Pacquiao while the third judge, Glenn Feldman, had Thurman winning 115-114.
Despite the late exchanges that gave the pro-Filipino crowd anxious moments, Pacquiao (62-7-2) didn't appear in any serious trouble as he aded a third straight win to his career resurgence after turning 40 years old.
Thurman, 27, suffered the first loss of his 30-fight career but showed a lot more tenacity than any of Pacquiao's last few opponents.
He also came down swinging.