WHEN Manny Pacquiao shockingly lost to the unfancied Jeff Horn two years ago – albeit on a contentious unanimous decision – the end was seemingly nigh for the ageing great. Yet since this unexpected reverse, the legendary Filipino has notched impressive victories over the heavy-handed Lucas Matthysse and the enigmatic Adrien Broner.
Such has been the eye-catching nature of Pacquiao’s resurgence that the bookmakers have installed the 40-year-old as favourite against a reigning world champion who is 10 years younger and has never tasted defeat. But Pacquiao’s fine form isn’t the only reason why Keith Thurman is the slight betting outsider ahead of their fascinating Las Vegas matchup this Saturday (July 20). The American’s poor injury record and recent inactivity certainly has something to do with this, too.
After overcoming the previously unbeaten Danny Garcia via split verdict to unify the WBA and WBC welterweight belts in March 2017, Thurman was considered one of the top two 147-pounders on the planet, alongside Pacquiao. The future looked extremely bright for the charismatic Floridian, but fast-forward nearly two-and-a-half years and Thurman has fought just once in this period. Injuries have seriously curtailed the Clearwater native’s progress. There are still two standout fighters battling it out for supremacy in the welter ratings, but it’s no longer Thurman and Pacquiao. Errol Spence Jnr and Terence Crawford are the de facto division leaders now.