Can Keith Thurman Tarnish The Legacy of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao?
May 25, 2019
Anthony Saldana (148 articles)

Can Keith Thurman Tarnish The Legacy of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao?

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

“I’m destroying the legend of Manny Pacquiao. His legacy ends on July 20th and my legacy begins. He’s an inspiration for many people, not just in the United States but throughout the world and everyone respects him, but I’m respectfully going to kick the shit out of him.” 

Keith “One Time” Thurman addresses the media Wednesday in Beverly Hills Photo by Cynthia Saldaña

Those were the words out of the mouth of the “Super” WBA Welterweight Champion, Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) during the Los Angeles press conference ahead of his upcoming highly anticipated fight with the three-time Fighter of the Year, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, and boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Philippine Senator and regular WBA welterweight champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs). Thurman who is the longest reigning welterweight champion in boxing was once labeled as one of the most dangerous fighters in the game. Known for his big flashy knockouts early in his career, Thurman’s power punching earned him the nickname “One Time.” Recently however a number of injuries including bone chips in his right elbow that had to be surgically removed sidelined the 30-year old champion who has been very inactive over the last four years including a two year layoff before coming away with a majority decision victory over Josesito Lopez in January. “They saw me brush off the dust but you could see the dust against Josesito Lopez. You know that that wasn’t the best Keith Thurman you’ve ever seen, but come July 20th you will see one of the best Keith Thurmans you’ve ever seen. ‘One Time’ is back. Stated Thurman. “It’s a blessing to be on this stage and have a fight of this magnitude. I’m an all-American fighter, an all- American champion and I’m going to stay champion. Manny is a world class fighter, not a world class boxer. I’m going to trip him up in the ring and he won’t know what direction to turn to. I know who I am as a fighter, I look forward to trading punches with a living legend. But one thing’s for sure, he’s not walking away with my title. He’s a veteran and I’ve dismantled veterans in the past. I believe I would have destroyed Manny Pacquiao five years ago. I’ve always been ready for this fight. He’s never fought someone like me with this kind of lateral movement, speed and power. I’m coming for him.”

The Legendary, Manny Pacquiao addresses the media Wednesday in Beverly Hills Photo by Cynthia Saldaña

Pacquiao the Filipino Senator is coming off a one sided, dominating victory over Adrien Broner in January. In that fight Pacquiao showed flashes of his old speed to easily defend his piece of the welterweight title in route to his 61st win of a remarkable career in which Pacquiao has won titles in eight weight classes, with victories over at least seven current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez. “I chose Keith Thurman because he’s a great fighter, he’s undefeated and because we can give a good fight to the fans.” Stated Pacquiao. “I want to make the fans happy on that night and show that I can still go toe-to-toe with any opponent. He’s young, but we’ll see who looks young in the ring on July 20th. I’m going to let my fists say everything for me.We will work hard in training camp like always for this fight. We’re not going to take Keith Thurman lightly or underestimate him. He’s a world champion. I’m thankful for what he’s been saying, because it’s giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old, I feel 29.”

At 40 years-old Pacquiao is not only fighting Thurman come July 20th, but also father time, an opponent that when catches up to you, is undefeated. As many former greats including Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Julio Cesar Chavez have shown us. Many times boxers look for that last great performance and end up hurt against the younger stronger opponents. Thurman however is a champion that has been riddled by injuries has yet to fight a champion with the resume of Pacquiao, who still can fight, making this matchup a very intriguing one for boxing fans. Some may say even a 50/50 fight although oddsmakers have Thurman as a minus-155 favorite, and Pacquiao is a +135 underdog, and it’s no surprise that the younger Thurman is favored to beat Pacquiao. However, oddsmakers don’t see Thurman as a heavy favorite. As I’m sure experts are taking into account that Thurman has been very inactive over the past two years, and taking into account his last performance in which he squeaked by with a majority decision victory over Josesito Lopez. Some may say that Thurman has peaked, and maybe he has. Maybe his injuries and time away from the ring will play a bigger part in this fight than what he actually realizes. Some say Manny is too small and too old, and maybe he is. That’s what in my honest opinion makes this fight so damn interesting. We don’t know what Thurman we’ll see that night in Vegas. Will the experience of a legend like Pacquiao be too much for him. Will we see an aging champion who had his best days behind him get easily defeated and his legacy tarnished by a younger stronger champion. Or will we see two champions give fans a “Fight of the Year” type of fight. Whatever the outcome maybe the fact is that this is high- stakes match will firmly give the winner a claim for the top spot in one of boxing’s deepest and most talented divisions.

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Anthony Saldana