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Pacquiao: Keith Thurman was the best welterweight available

Manny Pacquiao will face Keith Thurman on July 20.

Manny Pacquiao v Adrien Broner Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

With this weekend’s official news that Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will be taking on Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) this summer on July 20, Pacquiao tells Yahoo Sports that he picked Thurman as an opponent because he believes their styles mesh well together while also considering Thurman as a top pound-for-pound fighter in the business.

Pacquiao, 40, would begin by saying that Thurman, 30, caught his eye with his performance over Danny Garcia in 2017, and although Thurman didn’t look like the best version of himself in his last outing against Josesito Lopez, he expects Thurman will be in much better form when they meet.

“I believe Keith Thurman is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing,” Pacquiao said. “That is why I am fighting him. He has faced and beaten two former welterweight champions, Robert Guerrero and Danny Garcia, and one current welterweight champion of the world, Shawn Porter. I have always looked for the best challenges in my career and Keith Thurman is an undefeated WBA super champion.

“He is the best 147-[pounder] available at this time so I watched some video of Thurman and saw that he brings an exciting style to the ring. That’s what the fans want, two of the best going at it. I want to entertain the fans.”

Premier Boxing Champion’s other top fighters, specifically Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter, are expected to unify titles against one another in their next outing, although that fight has yet to be officially announced.

So that left Thurman as the leading candidate for Pacquiao, even though there are some question marks surrounding Thurman in 2019 — like how much desire he really has left and what kind of physical condition he’s in — but a fight against Pacquiao should be one that he can get up for. Pacquiao is a sure-fire Hall of Fame fighter and having a win over someone like that on his resume will only increase his market value going forward.

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