Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has done it again, turning back the hands of time to hand Keith Turman his first boxing career loss following a split decision victory at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It as a story of starting and finishing strong for the 40-year-old boxer-senator who also became the new WBA Super World Welterweight champion.

Pacquiao started strong, knocking down Thurman in the first round. The Pac-Man dominated in the early rounds while Thurman rallied in the middle rounds with timely hits on the fighting Filipino senator. In the end, it was the eight-division world champion who finished the fight strong leading to the judges' decision which caught some by surprise. According to the Associated Press, two judges scored the bout 115-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Feldman scored it 114-113 for Thurman.

Pacquiao, ever the gentleman he is, had good words for Thurman after the fight.

“My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong. … I think he did his best, and I did my best. I think we made the fans happy tonight because it was a good fight,” he said.

On the other end, Thurman admitted that the fight was close but admitted that the first-round knockdown allowed his opponent to gain momentum.

“He had the momentum because he got the knockdown in Round 1. … I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe. My conditioning, my output was just behind Manny Pacquiao’s tonight. Tonight was a blessing and a lesson,” said Thurman who suffered his first defeat in 31 fights.

Thurman had no qualms about the outcome, graciously accepting defeat. However, the former unified welterweight champion called for a rematch - to which the pro-Pacquiao crowd in attendance approved. Based on his performance, there is no doubt that critics that Thurman has earned a second shot at the future boxing Hall of Famer.

And if that is the case, it may be bad news for Amir Khan. As mentioned in a previous post, the Bolton fighter initially claimed that Pacquiao was all set to fight him later this year. That claim would be rebuffed by Team Pacquiao although the32-year-old could have a better chance to negotiate following the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight. But as things stand now, it looks like Khan will have to wait a bit longer and hope that the Pac-Man is still interested in a potential clash in the ring.