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Once inspired by Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman turning out to be an admirer

/ 07:55 PM July 17, 2019
Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman during the grand welcome at MGM Grand lobby in Las Vegas. Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

LAS VEGAS—Credit Keith Thurman for being candid when he said he was inspired by Manny Pacquiao’s performance against Adrien Broner last January.

After watching that fight in his home state of Flroida, Thurman—then preparing against Josesito Lopez later that same month—was so inspired that he hit the road in an ungodly hour and in a fancy get-up.

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“I felt I wanted to go for a run. At 1:30 a.m. In my Yeezys,” said Thurman on Tuesday during his grand welcome at MGM Grand.

“I didn’t care,” he said in a stand-up comedy tone of voice. “I got so motivated. I took a run. I got rained on. In my Yeezys!”

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Thurman, whose battle-cry is to send Pacquiao into retirement, certainly knows how to work the crowd.

But in each remark against Pacquiao, he sounded like more and more like a Pacquiao admirer than a basher.

“I’m always grateful for the opportunity God gave me. To fight a legend like Pacquiao right now, is the greatest moment that I ever had in my life,” he said.

Trying to stay true to his mantra, Thurman chose to wear a shirt that says “Game Over” in front and “Yes or No” in the back.” He said the option “Yes” was already chosen for Pacquiao.

But his trash-talk is beginning to lose its shock value already.

Pacquiao would later say that of all the tirades Thurman threw his way the past eight weeks, the unbeaten American’s threat to “crucify” him was the only thing that bothered him.

Thurman chose not to say that word again. Instead, what resonated in the 30 minutes that he held court was how he admired Pacquiao, the only eight-division champion in boxing history.

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Pacquiao may have short arms, according to Thurman, but he compensates “with tremendous speed.”

Thurman said the “short arms” would force Pacquiao to get inside his range. But then again, “he (Pacquiao) is also very fast, and that his in-and-out movement… Not only Pacquiao has fast hand-work, he has fast foot-work.”

“Ultimately, it can be a problem. He might slip few good punches in. He might catch me off guard.”

If and when Pacquiao finds a way to send him to the canvas—whose odds, by the way, are at 4-1 meaning a $100 bet wins four times as much—Thurman said it better be for the count.

“If he gets me down, he better had me out, ‘cause am coming [back],” said Thurman. “I wanna trade [punches] with Pacquiao.”

Ultimately, Thurman said he will finish what Broner failed to do.

“I was cheering for AB, I knew I wanted his paycheck. I wanted somebody to show the world Pacquiao’s not the top dog no more. But AB didn’t do it. Now I get a shot.”

Thurman said the No. 1 thing about Pacquiao that concerns him is that he remained active.

“Looking back at those two fights (Lucas Matthyse and Broner) and then him going into this fight is he’s been active.

“He might be 40 years old, but he’s an active fighter. We all know that when fighter’s active, they can continuously bring out the best in themselves.”

Thurman couldn’t stop talking he was asked to leave because Pacquiao was already in the room.

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