Should Keith Thurman vs. Manny Pacquiao Be Next?
By: Hans Themistode
Both Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) made back to back ring returns in consecutive weeks with both fighters coming away with the victory. Pacquiao easily outpointed Adrien Broner while Thurman on the other hand took home the victory against a resurgent Josesito Lopez.
They both came out on the winning side but they also seem to be on the opposite side of the spectrum in terms of their careers. Pacquiao is 40 years old and although he is still an excellent fighter he is no longer the force that he once was. Thurman on the other hand is 30 years of age and should be in the prime of his career.
Thurman of course came back from a 22 month layoff after elbow surgery and a hand injury shortly after. For a man coming off such a long time out of the ring he looked like he hadn’t missed much time. Sure he had a very shaky seventh round where it looked like Lopez was on his way to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in recent memories but outside of that one forgettable round Thurman dominated the fight. In his post fight press conference he made it very clear that he would love a fight with the hall of fame boxer turned senator Manny Pacquiao.
For years and years fans would have loved to see Pacquiao matchup with the young elite fighters that were associated with the PBC. Unfortunately the politics of boxing stopped many of those matches. Fans had to settle with Manny fighting the same fighters over and over again. Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez fought Manny a combined seven times in his career. Both Bradley and Marquez are first ballot hall of famers but fans wanted a bit more variety. Now that Manny is on the PBC side of the street he has an entirely new stable of fighters to test himself against.
A matchup with Thurman is tantalizing. They both of course hold WBA titles (the fact that they both hold WBA titles in the same division is mind boggling in itself.) they both also hold major drawing power. Thurmans bout against Lopez pulled in over two million viewers on Fox while it’s reported that Manny managed to get over 400,000 pay per view buys for his fight against Broner in a day and age where that model was thought to be dead and gone.
At this very moment the odds on a matchup between the two would quite possibly see Manny as the betting favorite. It’s understandable, Thurman just doesn’t seem to be Thurman. Yet. We seen him get hit with shots that we aren’t accustomed to seeing. We also seen him land punishing blows that would normally take his man out. Thurman isn’t quite at his best. Yet.
With that being said. Like him, love him or hate him but you must respect his talent. He is still the man to beat in the division until further notice.
A matchup between these two would mean much more than just a great fan friendly fight. On one side of the ring is Manny Pacquiao. A first ballot hall of famer who represents the old school. A time when Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and several others controlled the headlines. On the other side of the ring is Keith Thurman who represents the new age in boxing. Thurman, Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford along with several others who are trying to establish their own legacy.
In a career filled with an unprecedented amount of achievements a victory over Thurman for Pacquiao would register as one of his biggest wins. Pacquiao’s career began over 20 years ago. To record a win over one of the best Welterweights today would be unthinkable. For Thurman he could establish himself as possibly the best of his era if he could not only get in the ring with Pacquiao but defeat him as well.
A fight between Thurman and Pacquiao is one that has to happen but is it time for it to happen now? Absolutely.