Thurman: Me vs. Pacquiao Can Be Fight of the Year
While he is the one who holds the WBA “Super” Welterweight Championship, Keith Thurman is the one who has the biggest opportunity of his life on July 20, when he faces the challenge of the legendary WBA “Regular” Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao.
Thurman was once seen as the most dominating figure in the welterweight division, at one point holding both the WBA and WBC championships. But after winning the WBC title from Danny Garcia in March 2017, Thurman suffered a string of injuries that kept him out of action for nearly two years and forced him to vacate the WBC strap.
Thurman returned in Janaury, successfully defending the WBA title against Josesito Lopez, though not to the levels he was at before his injuries. Nonetheless, he sees this fight with Pacquiao as the chance to set himself as the best welterweight in the world and cement his legacy.
“It just feels like a blessing and an honor,” Thurman said during their recent press conference. “He said he hasn’t felt this way since Oscar D la Hoya. Manny Pacquiao is my Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao is my ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. Manny Pacquiao is my Floyd Mayweather, he beat all of them minus Floyd. So today is amazing, I get to feel like I’m fighting all of them in one fight because he’s bringing all that to the fight.”
Since Thurman’s time away from the ring, Errol Spence Jr. seems to have taken control over the 147-pound division, rising in popularity along with boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings. Spence dominated Mikey Garcia in a pay-per-view battle of fan favorites back in March, and he is set to unify his IBF title against WBC champion Shawn Porter this coming August.
Thurman feels his fight with Pacquiao will do better than Garcia-Spence, as well as other big from this year, including Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs.
“I think this is one of the best fights of the year,” Thurman said. “I was a fan of Canelo’s last fight even though I didn’t watch it. I’m team Danny Jacobs. I thought it was a tremendous fight. Tell me a fight that’s better than Thurman-Pacquiao?”
“I have to admit. Mikey Garcia sold the fight. He had everyone believing he was going to do something. He didn’t have me believing it, but he had a lot of people believing it. The performance wasn’t the best fight of the year. Canelo’s last performance wasn’t one of the best fights of the year. I’m not saying Pac Thurman is the best fight of the year – but you can guarantee it’s going to be better than those fights. When have you seen a bad Keith Thurman fight?. He’s a household name and I have a lot of fans. My story is good and his story is good, so I think it sells well.”
Original Story: Boxing Scene