By: Sean Crose
“I’ve never been scared of a challenge,” Manny Pacquiao said during a New York press conference on Tuesday to promote his July 20th WBA welterweight title bout against Keith Thurman. “I’m so excited for this fight against an undefeated champion. He’s the kind of fighter that you can’t underestimate. His record and success gives me more motivation to work hard.”
Pacquiao, the aging great, is now in his forties – in many ways a remnant from a bygone era. Thurman, on the other hand, is in his prime, poised to be a pay per view star (the Pacquiao-Thurman match will be aired live on Pay Per View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas). Yet Pacquiao made it clear that he doesn’t intend to be on the receiving end of a passing of the torch ceremony.
“I will make sure that I’m 100 percent and ready for this fight,” the 61-7-2 ring legend claimed. “We’ll find out what happens on July 20, but it’s going to be exciting. I like being the underdog for this fight because that gives me more focus in training.” Pacquiao also made it clear that he’s taking the fight with Thurman with the utmost seriousness.
“I’ve been careless and over confident in some fights,” he admitted, “but this time around it’s different. Keith Thurman is a good fighter and we’re going to make sure the fans are happy on July 20.”
As for the 29-0 Thurman, the enigmatic fighter exuded both confidence and respect. “Pacquiao wants a challenge and I’m very grateful to be sharing a ring with a legend,” he said. “If you understand boxing history, you know that times change. I believe boxing is in a new era. Come July 20, Pacquiao will disappear. He’ll always be remembered in the sport, but I’m doing to Manny Pacquiao, what he did to Oscar De La Hoya.”
The Florida native indicated that he intends to be the man to take Pacquiao out of the fight game. “”I’m excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is,” said Thurman. “He’s a legend who’s done great things. But I’ve never lost to a fighter who’s lost seven times. I have no intention of losing this fight and I don’t see him winning in any shape or form.”
“Speed, power and overall ring IQ will be the difference,” Thurman continued. “I’m one of the smartest fighters in the sport. I always find a way to win. I know Pacquiao comes in shape, but he’s going to fall short of that finish line.”
Pacquiao, of course, would beg to differ.
“I chose Keith Thurman because he’s undefeated and I want to prove that at age 40 I can still beat a great fighter like Keith,” he said. “”My time is not yet over. My journey is continuing. I’m going to prove that and more on July 20 against Keith Thurman.”