‘Underdog’ Pacman: Thurman fight 40 years in the making
Manny Pacquiao has always fancied himself as an underdog.
“All my life I had to always prove myself; being an underdog is nothing new,” said Pacquiao before setting off for Los Angeles on Saturday night. “This time, I have to prove that a 40-year-old like me can beat an undefeated champion.”
He was referring to the brash 30-year-old Keith Thurman, who vowed to drive him to retirement when they clash on July 20 in a WBA welterweight title-unifying bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
He will resume training at long-time trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym with now head trainer and best friend Buboy Fernandez and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
But before boarding the plane, Pacquiao sparred hard with Australian Tim Tszyu, who was handpicked for a style and size that approximates a rangy, tactical fighter like Thurman.
“Keith Thurman does not scare me,” said Pacquiao (61-7-2 with 39 knockouts). “He does not intimidate me. In fact, Thurman motivates me. This is the biggest test of my career. It is a story that is 40 years in the making.”
Thurman is 29-0 with 22 KOs, but though he carries impressive credentials, he is coming off a shaky win last January over Josesito Lopez after a 22-month hiatus due to a shoulder injury.
Thurman had made statements that irked Pacquiao, including one where he vowed to “crucify” the Filipino senator—an obvious dig at the latter’s deep religious beliefs.
Boxing’s only eight-division champion is hoping to end his career in a blaze of glory. He knocked out Lucas Matthysse in July 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, before overwhelming Adrien Broner in Las Vegas last January.
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