WBA welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman is set for the biggest fight of his career on July 20, when he faces Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, live on FOX pay-per-view.
Thurman visited Inside PBC Boxing to talk about the fight, and his confidence that he’ll be the man to end Manny Pacquiao’s legendary career.
On what he sees that makes him think he can beat Manny Pacquiao
“I’ve felt like I always could’ve beaten him at any time throughout my career. I just feel like Manny Pacquiao’s style is really geared toward my boxing style. I really believe that I can dismantle his spurts; he kinda fights in spurts, and for me, it’s a very basic style of boxing. I’ve had over 100 amateur fights, 29-0, 22 knockouts (as a pro), I’ve seen it all. And for me, Manny Pacquiao is a basic, great fighter.”
On changing his own style fight-to-fight
“Josesito Lopez actually brought something to the table that I hadn’t had to deal with in a long time, and that’s a reach advantage of me. Shawn Porter, I hold a small reach advantage over him, I held a small reach advantage over Danny Garcia, and I’m gonna hold an even greater reach advantage over Manny Pacquiao. When I was on the outside, I was on the outside from my past fights, and I ended up getting caught by the long arms. Manny Pacquiao is not gonna be able to catch me. I’ve been calling them T-rex arms. Manny Pacquiao, his arms are tucked in here, they’re too short. That’s why Manny Pacquiao jumps in, and he jumps in to commit, and it only takes that one moment to catch him trying to commit with me. I commit with him, and then we go home early.”
On training camp
“I’m really excited about just being back as a world champion this whole year, and I made a big statement early on that don’t expect me to fight Shawn Porter, don’t expect me to fight Danny Garcia and these other guys. First, I need a get-back, that was Josesito Lopez. Now we have the biggest and greatest fight of my career against a veteran Manny Pacquiao. I just think that this is the perfect fight for me at this moment, at this stage, and to take off all the dust that was needed to be the No. 1 welterweight in the welterweight division.”
On fight Manny instead of Spence, Porter, etc.
“Manny’s not young, I don’t think he’s as hungry. You look at his record, it’s a record of somebody who’s pretty much done it all and done enough. How much more does he want to give the sport of boxing? Obviously, he signed this contract. So at the age of 40, he’s confident to say he can fight undefeated champions of the world. I think that if he stepped in the ring with you (Shawn Porter), me, Spence, I think we all give Manny Pacquiao problems. Obviously, he has confidence. He’s gonna bring that confidence into the ring July 20th, and I’m gonna do my best to take it away, round-by-round.”
On being the B-side
“Did you check the books? You (Porter) live in Vegas, did you check the books? I’m not B-side, baby. ... Whose title is on the line? ... Manny Pacquiao and his legacy is definitely gonna be the anchor of this fight, but even against Josesito Lopez, 22 months out of the ring, on this beautiful FOX network, I had three million viewers tune in to my comeback. And if I can just get even one-third of these viewers to attach to this pay-per-view, I’ll be honored. I’m fighting to live out my dream, to be an entertainer in the sport. You’ve got fans that love me, you’ve got fans that don’t like the moves that I’m making, they say there’s no reason for Keith to go after Manny Pacquiao. But for me, I think — especially since I’ve desired this fight for many years — I’m really happy to be sharing the ring, and I want to show that Manny Pacquiao is no longer a top welterweight.”
On Pacquiao saying only God can retire him
“I believe after I hit him and the fight’s over, he’s gonna go backstage, and God will have that conversation with him. Manny Pacquiao is a true warrior. I’ve been thinking lately — win, lose, draw, knockout, if the man wants to fight, the man is gonna fight. We’re fighters. We fight until we say it’s over. I just believe that with him having an exit strategy already, being Senator — he’s a legend and his legacy will continue. I don’t see him beating me and I don’t see him growing his legacy any further.”
On Pacquiao showing he “still has it” against Adrien Broner
“He has it, but throughout the whole fight, he had it going his way. I’m gonna take him completely out of that comfort zone, and he’s gonna have to show me the real Manny Pacquiao today. He has to show it to me come July 20th. It will make it a better fight, because if he doesn’t show up, it’s over.”