KEITH THURMAN has won the race to become Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent and will therefore benefit from the kind of payday superstars of Pacquiao’s ilk are capable of gifting their opponents.
The fight, set for July 20, was announced on a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) broadcast tonight (May 11) and will headline a Fox Sports pay-per-view event. It will be a unification of sorts, what with Thurman bringing the WBA super-welterweight title to the table and Pacquiao bringing the WBA ‘regular’ belt, but the less said about that mess the better. Essentially, it will upgrade and scrap the nonsense ‘regular’ belt – momentarily – and for that we should all be thankful.
Thurman, 29-0 (22), has been blighted by injury in recent years and, despite his undoubted punch power and offensive qualities, hasn’t registered a stoppage win since halting Luis Collazo in July 2015. Last time out, he laboured to a majority-decision win against Josesito Lopez, dropping the Californian in the second round but walking into trouble himself later on. It didn’t paint Thurman in the best light, yet it’s worth remembering it was the American’s first fight in two years.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, is a bona fide legend of the sport and boasts an incredible pro record of 61-7-2 (39). Now 40, the eight-division world champion might not be the force of old but is still managing to compete – and win – at a high level and has registered solid wins over Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse since losing a WBO welterweight title fight against Jeff Horn in 2017.
Though perhaps there for the taking, Manny Pacquiao will still take some beating.