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Keith Thurman: “I Do Respect Pacquiao, But I Still Do Favor Spence.”

By: Sean Crose

While working out at at the gym, Keith Thurman took a few minutes to talk to FightHype about the upcoming Errol Spence-Manny Pacquiao match. “I fell short,” Thurman said of his own quest to become a three belt champion. “I say I fell about fifteen punches short (while fighting Pacquiao).” With Spence now fighting Pacquiao for a variety of welterweight titles, Thurman weighed in with his prediction. “I do respect Pacquiao,” he said, “but I still do favor Spence.”

Thurman’s reasons for favoring Spence are simple: “size, youth and then ultimately when was the last time we saw Pacquiao against a world class southpaw?” he asks. “Styles makes fights, especially against Manny Pacquiao.” Not that Thurman feels Pacquiao has no chance against the bigger, younger Spence. “His number one attribute,” Thurman says of the forty-plus year old Filipino legend, “is that speed and that power and coming in, that awkward little angles with that burst of energy. I do believe that’s something that Errol has not seen in his career.” In other words the fighter known as One Time isn’t going to write Pacquiao off. “I’m not saying Pacquiao’s out of it,” Thurman says. “He’s a legend for a reason.”

Give Thurman this – he knows how to be a good sport. While acknowledging the greatness of Pacquiao, who bested him for his WBA title in 2019, Thurman also took the opportunity to speak well of Spence’s skill set – even though the two men haven’t always seen eye to eye. “Errol knows how to sit down on his punches,” said Thurman. “I think one of the hardest things when facing Errol Spence is to not fight his fight.” Sure enough, both Pacquiao and Spence excel at keeping their opponents off their game. “I just want to see who dominates first,” Thurman said of their impending match.

As for Thurman himself, he looks to be in good shape and is obviously back in the gym. He also speaks armed with his usual confidence and well of knowledge. When the man will fight again, however, remains to be seen. Covid and injuries have clearly kept the fighter out of the ring for some time. It has now almost been two years since Thurman has been in action, however, and fans are curious as to when they’ll see the guy return. In the meantime, fights like Spence-Pacquiao will certainly be generating interest. Still, it’s worth wondering when One Time will be back in action himself.

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