Lots of chatter as July 20 fight gets closer
By Bill Tibbs
On July 20, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s) and Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO’s) will square off with the WBA Super world welterweight title on the line in what is certainly one of the summer’s most anticipated fights.
Yes, folks the fight is less than 3 weeks away. The predictions are going to pour in fast and furious as fight time nears and there will be much discussion as to who will win.
The media has been all over the fight and there will certainly be more coverage on MaxBoxing as we get closer. But, for now, let’s hear from the main participants and hear what they had to say.
"Dan and I have worked together since I was an amateur, he was my mitt-man when my trainer Ben Getty couldn’t take my power. Ben would be on the sidelines and tell me what to throw and Dan would be there to catch it. The day I turned pro, Dan was in my corner and I felt blessed to have Dan become my coach and first corner when Ben passed away. Dan knows my strengths and he’s worked with other world champions. We’re not rookies. We’re prepared to be on the big stage”.
"He’s a man of few words but his actions and words that he picks are always right on point. He sees what is going on even when I can’t or don’t see it. He isn’t hype. He is honest. He is giving me technique, criticism and whether or not we won the round; I know I can trust him."
"I am back on the big stage, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase my talent and skill with a legend in the sport. It’s a big ’get back’ year for me. I tried to tell everyone that and this is what it’s like when champions get back to performing like world-class champions. No excuses. I want to be the best Keith Thurman I can be, and we set up a camp where we can bring out the best in me, for myself, for the fight and for the fight fans; we’re going to win this fight”
“It’s easy for my opponents to talk before the fight, and I’m used to everything they say. But when we get to the ring, it changes, and it will change on July 20. I chose Keith Thurman because he’s a great fighter, he’s undefeated and because we can give a good fight to the fans. I want to make the fans happy on that night and show that I can still go toe-to-toe with any opponent. He said he’s young, but we’ll see who looks young in the ring on July 20. I’m going to let my fists say everything for me”.
“They can bring the enemy now and anytime and face him off. I believe I’ve done enough to prepare myself for the fight. Thanks to my trainers who have been, like me, sacrificing their time and effort to prepare me for this, one of the most important fights for me in my career as a fighter. But, most of all, I thank God for giving me, at my age, all the strength and resolve to continue serving HIM in the best way I can”.
“Keith Thurman is aggressive and throws a lot of punches. I’m hoping on July 20 he will follow through with what he says and fight toe-to-toe with me. The fans need to watch this fight because it’s a once in a lifetime fight. It’s going to be a Fight of the Year and full of action from start to finish. I’m ready to get it on July 20. Most of my opponents are bigger than me and I beat them all. When we get into the ring, it doesn’t matter. This has happened before and it will happen again against Thurman”.
“My experience will be very important for this fight. It’s going to be useful against an undefeated fighter. I’m going to give him the experience of losing for the first time. I’m still having fun and enjoying the sport”.
Age: Pacquiao clocks in 10 years older than Thurman at age 40. But it’s a matter of reflexes at his age. Critics have said that Manny seems to lost a lot of his reflexes in the ring. He looks good in training but it’s a whole different ball game under the bright lights. Speed and lightning quick counters are PacMan’s calling card so if the reflexes are gone he might be swinging at air all night. If he is still sharp, and has maintained some snap on his rapid fire combinations, he’ll be a tough task for the undefeated champion Thurman to beat.
Height: Coming in at 5’ 7 1/2”, Thurman has 2 inches on Pacquiao but Manny has faced taller guys for many of the fights in his career; the height difference shouldn’t play a significant factor in the fight.
Power: Neither guy has the one-punch, fight ending eraser but both can hit. It’s usually the combinations that add up with these two so I would think it’s the fighter who can be quick enough to land the counters as they make the other walk into something that will make the difference. I see lots of shots being landed but I don’t see a stoppage; I think the fight goes the full 12.
Experience: Pacquiao has 10 more KO’s (39) than Thurman has fights. However, while the ring experience edge goes to Pacquiao, it is also the extended time on task that may have depleted PacMan’s reserves (somewhat) at his age. We shall see? Manny has been in with more, and better, fighters but Thurman has been fighting at world class level for 6-years since winning the title in 2013 and he won’t be rattled by the big stage he will be on in this fight, in fact he’ll revel in it. No serious advantage here as both guys are comfortable in the spotlight.
Significance/Pressure: Pacquiao is 40 and already has 7 losses on his resume. If he loses, he’ll get credit for trying to tackle a young(er) gun and another loss won’t stand out. Thurman has never lost and it wouldn’t look good if he goes down to an older fighter with 7 previous defeats. The significance of what will be next is huge for both fighters but, in reality, there is probably more pressure on Thurman.
Style: Pacquiao’s success will be fast, unpredictable shots coming from all angles while Thurman will fight at a more measured and controlled pace. Which fighter can dictate what style the fight takes will probably be the one that controls the action and the outcome.
Prediction: This is an interesting match up on paper. There are a lot of strong arguments that would indicate that Pacquiao’s best-before date is long past and Thurman should cruise to a comfortable points win. However, Pacquiao seems to be training with a renewed vigour and knows that to keep going he has to find a way to win. PacMan’s style is unorthodox and hard to adjust to if he is on his game. If father time stays away on fight night Manny might just have enough jump and jive to upset the favoured Thurman.
This is going to be a fun one folks. Predictions? Let’s hear ‘em.