By: Hans Themistode
Its been a long and storied career for Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs). Arguably no one in the history of boxing has a better resume, as it is littered with hall of famer after hall of famer. The boxer turned Filipino Senator has won world titles in a record eight weight division.
Come July 20th in Las Vegas, Nevada he will have the toughest test of his career. On that night he will be taking on the undefeated WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs). The aforementioned Thurman isn’t quite a hall of famer but he is a legitimate great fighter that is in the prime of his career.
Pacquiao has faced a who’s who of fighters. His four fights with Juan Manuel Marquez were all classic battles. Marquez, who is a four division world champion and surefire lock to get into the hall of fame, only managed to get one victory from Pacquiao. How about Erik Morales? Again, another absolute lock for the hall, managed to defeat Pacquiao once in their three battles with one another. Pacquiao put an end to their rivalry with a third round knockout win in their last contest, proving that he is the superior fighter between the two.
Marco Antonio Barrera entered the ring twice against Pacquiao and both times he failed to get his hand raised after the bout. Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Timothy Bradley Jr, Shane Mosley and of course, the one and only Floyd Mayweather have stepped inside of the squared circle with the eight division world champion. Pacquiao didn’t always leave with the victory but he always battled to the end. In fact, of those names that were just rattled off, only Floyd Mayweather managed to remain unbeaten against the Filipino star.
Does Keith Thurman deserve a spot amongst this illustrious group? Take nothing away from the career Thurman has put together thus far, but he does not. With that being said however, he is slowly but surely making his own path to the hall of fame. Victories over Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia have proven his level of greatness in this current day and age.
When compared to the other great Welterweights of his current class including Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter, Thurman has put together a resume that trumps all of theirs.
Although Thurman wont be the best fighter Pacquiao has faced, he will be the most difficult when considering the circumstances. When Manny faced his murderous row of competition, he was roughly around the same age of his competitors. In the case of his July 20th opponent Keith Thurman, Pacquiao will have a decided age disadvantage of 10 years, 40 years of age compared to just 30 years of age for Thurman.
The eight division world champion has never ducked a challenge. Come fight night, he will rely on his experience and skill to overcome his much younger opponent. Let’s be clear, this contest is not a mismatch. It’s a testament to the skill that Pacquiao possesses to still be able to compete at an elite level even into his 40s.
On paper, this won’t be the toughest bout of his career however, make no mistake about it, Pacquiao will have to push himself to the limit to secure this victory. Keith Thurman will prove to be the toughest test of his hall of fame career.