By: Hans Themistode
WBA Welterweight champ Keith Thurman has a big task in front of him. With just over a week left til his showdown with Manny Pacquiao, Thurman took a little bit of time to address the media during a recent conference call.
For the undefeated Thurman, to say that he has not been very active would be putting it mildly. Before making a successful return, albeit a lackluster one against veteran fighter Josesito Lopez, Thurman was absent from the ring for 22 months. An elbow injury, followed by a bruised hand was the reasoning behind it.
Before going down with injuries, Thurman was the face of the division. Now that he is back, he is looking to reassert himself as the man to beat at 147. His bout against Lopez showed that undefeated title holder had a long way to go before he could fully return to form.
In that bout he was stunned and almost stopped in the seventh round. Not like exactly the results Thurman was looking for. Still, he managed to get away with the victory and is fully expecting a much better version of himself when he takes on the future hall of famer and fighting senator Manny Pacquiao on July 20th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His showdown with Pacquiao is one that was a bit unexpected. There is a growing assumption that this bout is only taking place because of a level of vulnerability that Thurman showed in his last contest. That doesn’t matter to Thurman, he has the fight he’s always wanted and could care less why it materialized.
“That’s been the talk of the town,” said Thurman. “Since I didn’t look as sharp against Lopez like people are used to seeing that maybe the reason why Pacquiao choose me, but at the end of the day who cares?”
In terms of any nerves he could be possibly feeling heading into the biggest contest of his career, there isn’t any. Pacquiao doesn’t just have arguably the best resume of anyone in the sport of boxing today, but his resume rivals that of anyone in history. Thurman, to his credit, has his own impressive accolades. One that he feels carries its own weight.
“Everyone keeps talking about the resume of Pacquiao but what about Keith Thurman? Last I checked, Keith Thurman has the best resume at 147. Two years away from the game and I still have the best resume. I am one of the best fighters in the world.”
The notion that Thurman has the best resume at 147 is debatable. One thing that isn’t debatable however, is that this contest is sure to bring fireworks. For all of his bravado and trash talking of the legend, Thurman did acknowledge just how special this moment is for him.
“This an amazing opportunity, it’s as if I’m fighting Sugar Ray Leonard himself. It’s as if I’m fighting Roberto Duran. This is Manny Pacquiao we’re talking about here. This is a tremendous feeling and it will feel even better when my hand is raised at the end of the night.”
Thurman is correct in his assessment. Pacquiao is a legend that has earned his place amongst the pantheon of greats. With a victory, Thurman will begin to etch his own name in history.