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Manny Pacquiao: I have something to prove

By David Robinett

Ratcheting up the interest before his showdown against Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) in Las Vegas for the WBA welterweight title, Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and his Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach spoke with reporters on a media conference call this past Thursday. As usual, the Senator from the Philippines and his long-time mentor were low-key but confident about taking on yet another younger opponent looking to score a career-defining win at their expense.

Pacquiao Media Day 071019 004a
Photo: Chris Farina – ChrisFarina.com

“A lot of people are doubting my ability at the age of 40, so I have something to prove,” observed Pacquiao. “Right now, I’m still hungry and still enjoying this, and still doing my best.”

Pacquiao added, “Believe me, this is very interesting fight for me, its been a long time since I’ve focused like this. [Thurman] is well prepared for this fight because he’s not fighting [Josesito] Lopez, he’s fighting Manny Pacquiao, so I expect him to work hard and to be 100%.”

Trainer Roach was more direct in his assessment of the undefeated Thurman, who is only fighting for the second time in nearly two and a half years. “He’s young and all that but I don’t think he’s the best Manny’s faced [since Floyd Mayweather]. He’s a good solid guy who should make for a very good fight.”

Roach continued to break down Thurman’s chances, commenting on Thurman’s boast to “come at” Pacquiao. “Talk’s talk, let’s see who really shows up,” said Roach, noting that Thurman isn’t the first opponent to declare his intentions but fail to back it up in the ring. “Thurman’s a strong guy, he’s a good puncher, but he hasn’t been in the ring with the speed that Manny Pacquiao has. Most people are overwhelmed with his speed once they get into the ring, even at 40 years old its as good as ever.”

Pacquiao was also asked about whether a more aggressive Thurman would play into his hands. “I’m not predicting a knockout, I don’t want to be careless in the fight, but if he gives me the chance, why not,” explained Pacquiao. “I have to grab the opportunity to knock him out if its there. I think Thurman has speed, he’s quick, but I have to be careful in the fight, to make sure everything is fine.”

Regardless of how things play out in the ring, both Pacquiao and Roach sounded pleased with their preparation leading into next Saturday night. “We’ve had a very good training camp, some good sparring,” said Roach. “We have one more day of sparring today and then we’ll close camp down and get ready for the fight.”

Pacquaio, in particular, sounded enthusiastic about how training camp went, adding that even now, in the twilight of his career, he still enjoys the lead up to the fight. “I really love exercise, I’m addicted to exercise,” explained Pacquiao. “Even if I don’t have a fight, I exercise four or five hours almost every day.”

Despite his love for training, Pacquiao noted how he and his team have adjusted their training regimen for his last few bouts to account for his age, something he felt was necessary after his controversial loss to Jeff Horn in July 2017. “In the Horn fight, I feel like I overtrained, I have to admit that,” acknowledged Pacquaio. “But this time around, my coaching staff, they were watching me closely. After the Horn fight we learned a lot and changed the training, changed a number of things to give my body rest, because its hard to recover [at his age].”

Beyond next Saturday, Pacquiao was also asked what his goals were at this stage of his career, particularly with his political career offering him a calling outside of the sport. “I just want to maintain my name in the top of boxing,” answered Pacquiao. “I’m continuing my career because boxing is my passion, especially because God gave me blessings of good health, speed and power.”

Getting in the last word, (and likely unable to resist one last dig at Pacquiao’s opponent), Roach concluded the conference call by riffing on Thurman’s nickname, joking that “It’s going to be ‘One-Time’ vs. ‘All-Time’.”

Pacquiao vs. Thurman will take place July 20, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions promotion on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.

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  • i am looking for the pac man to kick thurman ass real good i hope he knock him out. period,

  • Keith Thurman is a clown. Not only does he come across as fake when he tries to speak always trying to make his voice as deep as possible he reminds me of my cousin who does that and is a thief always stealing waitress’s tips and he also has a very big mouth and also that gay hairdo has got to go! I hope Manny cuts it off while Thurman is layed out on the canvas. Freddy should have some scissors handy.

  • I am a pro boxing manager and have enjoyed Manny for many years now. This will be a very tough fight for him but if he can get to Thurmans heart, he will take his head. Many boxers get old in one fight, I don’t see that in Manny but I do have concerns. Speed and foot work are his keys to victory Oh and ya, don’t block too many punched with his face (LOL).

  • I can’t tell you who’s going to win but at $75 to see it…Well, i’ll just read about it and watch it a week later.

  • If this was the Keith Thurman that fought Carolos Quintana at jr. middleweight in late November 2012, against the Pacquiao that fought Marquez for the 4th time in early December 2012, I would say it would have been an action war. Thurman at 151. 25 lbs., he was kind of a small jr. middleweight, but he was strong and aggressive; Thurman is a drained down welterweight and coming down to 147, it takes something out of him. He should have stayed up at jr. middleweight. His KO rate went down after the Quintana fight. Thurman should come in right at 147. Even if he comes in at 147.5 lbs at the 1st weigh in, he can shed that extra .5 lbs extra easy. He should not come in light at all. Thurman is not an interest for Vegas fights. He’s an east coast fighter. After this one, he might find a new promoter, maybe Top Rank, who can promote him on the east coast up at 154. Golden Boy promotions didn’t do much to make Thurman a star on the east coast.

  • Pacquiao all time great, but may be another who stayed around too long.Thurman probably good enough to beat him at this stage of his career.

  • A 50/50 fight, very hard to call, but if Lopez can basically have Keith out on his feet in their fight, and Danny Garcia with another round would’ve knocked him into tomorrow, well if they can do this to him, what can the Pac man do to him? At 40 I really do not know, but I do know in his last fights he has looked very good. i’m hoping for a Pac victory, however Thurman will be right there and put up a strong showing.

  • Pac-Man should have one more good fight in him and win by 8th round TKO. Especially with Thurman boiling himself down to 147lbs.

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