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‘Underdog’ Pacman: Thurman fight 40 years in the making

/ 05:18 AM June 16, 2019

Manny Pacquiao tags trainer Buboy Fernandez on the nose. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/WENDELL ALINEA

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.”

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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.

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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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TAGS: Boxing, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao
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