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Pacquiao focused on Thurman only

Manny Pacquiao talks to the member of the press after the grand arrival at MGM Grand. Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

LAS VEGAS—With words alternating between brash and admiring, Keith Thurman did his share to keep the spotlight on his upcoming bout with Manny Pacquiao on July 20 at MGM Grand here.

Pacquiao, the Philippines’ fighting senator, contributed in a way, too, deflecting questions of an idle superstar whose name seems to crop up every time the Filipino ring icon prepares for a fight: Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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“I don’t know,” Pacquiao said on Tuesday when asked about a potential rematch with the undefeated American sensation. “I’m active and he’s retired so I think we don’t need to bother him.”

“Let him enjoy his retirement,” Pacquiao added as he sat beside Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions.

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Pacquiao, instead, has his focus squarely on another undefeated American—one lesser in stature and not as flamboyant, but with the same penchant for verbal artistry.

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

The betting odds on Pacquiao scoring a knockout in the match are at 4-1.

Both fighters received their official welcome from MGM Grand on Tuesday.

“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,” said Thurman, who wore a shirt with the words “Game Over” printed in front and “Yes or No” in the back.

Thurman gets his shot to also log a victory over the 40-year-old Filipino, something he wished Adrien Broner had done in his fight against Pacquiao.

“I was cheering for AB,” Thurman said. “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.”

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He’ll have to deal with Pacquiao’s speed, which Thurman expects the eight-division champ will use to negate a reach disadvantage.

“He (Pacquiao) is also very fast, and [he has that] in-and-out movement … Not only does Pacquiao have fast handwork, he has fast footwork.”

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TAGS: Boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao
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