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Thurman says Pacquiao is his priority for next fight

Image: Thurman says Pacquiao is his priority for next fight

By Mike Smith: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) spent most of the post-fight news conference last Saturday night, following his 12 round majority decision win over Josesito Lopez (36-8, 9 KOs) talking about badly he wants to fight Manny Pacquiao in his next fight. Thurman says if he can’t get the fight with Pacquiao, which is one that can be easily put together, given that they’re both with Premier Boxing Champions, then he would like to face the winner of the March 9th fight between Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas.

The fight for Thurman against Pacquiao would give ‘One Time’ the big payday he’s been looking for since he turned pro 12 years ago in 2007. Thurman’s interest in fighting Pacquiao has payday written all over it for ‘One Time,’ who says he wants to get the fight against the 40-year-old Filipino star before he retires from boxing, which might not be too long from now.

Thurman has a three strikes against him when it comes to getting his dream money fight against Pacquiao, and they are as follows:

Thurman has been inactive and forgotten by boxing fans. His fight last night was against a journeyman level fighter in Josesito Lopez, and he didn’t look at all good beating him

Too much movement from Thurman against Lopez. When things got tough for Thurman in the second half of the fight last night against Lopez, he spent much of the second half running from his journeyman level opponent. That was a bad look on Thurman’s part. Like a lot of fighters, Pacquiao doesn’t like fighting runners, so that’s going to hurt Thurman’s chances of getting a fight against him

Thurman is considered below Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford in the rankings of the most talented weltereight in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Paquiao doesn’t gain anything in facing Thurman, because he’s not in the same light as Spence and Crawford. If Pacquiao is going to take a risky fight against one of the top welterweights, then Spence or Crawford are the guys that he needs to fight next. Right now, Thurman likely loses to Spence, Crawford, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Thurman has lost a lot from his game with his two years of inactivity, and he might not ever get it back. You stay out of any sport for two years, you’re not going to be the same guy you once were when you come back. It’s not possible. Thurman has lost part of his game that won’t come back. Pacquiao has more to gain fighting Spence, Mayweather or Crawford than he does against Thurman.

Thurman is NOT interested in facing IBF champ Errol Spence Jr. or WBO champion Terence Crawford. Those two need not apply, as they’re not on Thurman’s radar for the foreseeable future, and perhaps forever. Thurman is not fighting at a high enough level right now, after his two year layoff, for him to have a good shot at beating Spence and Crawford.

“I would most likely definitely take the Manny Pacquiao fight this year,” Thurman said. “I’m ready to fight wherever Pacquiao wants it. Just fighting a legend [Pacquiao]. I just feel like the clock is ticking. If I have the opportunity [to fight Manny]. He’s not the young Manny Pacquiao that he once was, but he still is a great world class fighter. We would like to get that fight. We’d be happy to do it for ourselves, and definitely for the fans,” Thurman said.

Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t said who he plans on fighting next in the May or June when he returns to the ring. Pacquiao would like to fight a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., as that’s the much bigger money fight out there for him than a fight against Thurman. Pacquiao hasn’t talked of wanting to fight Thurman, so he would have to lower his sights to a lesser fight against him than the big money rematch with Mayweather. Pacquiao says he would like to fight the winner of the Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia fight. That’s obviously a bigger fight for Pacquiao than facing Thurman, who had been out of the ring for two years running before struggling last Saturday night to defeat journeyman Josesito Lopez by a 12 round majority decision by the scores 119-109, 115-111 and 113-113 on Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FS1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Thurman landed 247 of 899 punches for a 28 percent connect percentage, according to CompuBox. Lopez landed at a much lower rate in connecting on 117 of 513 for a 23 percent connect rate. Never the less, Lopez had Thurman badly hurt in the seventh round and was close to knocking him out.

“Definitely [Pacquiao],” Thurman said when asked who he wants to fight next. “Later on this year, if that fight presents itself, I will definitely be open for negotiations, and I would love the opportunity to fight a legend.”

Just a day earlier, Thurman was mocking the way Pacquiao speaks, and reminding the boxing fans on social media how he was knocked cold by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. It’s interesting to see how Thurman changed his tune in talking to the boxing media after his fight last night against Lopez. Instead of mocking Pacquiao by making fun of how he speaks, Thurman was sounding respectful of him, and saying what an honor it would be for him to face him.

With Pacquiao signed with Premier Boxing Champions, it’s likely that they’re going to present the Thurman fight to him rather than Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr. Danny Garcia. Spence and Porter have fights scheduled, so Pacquiao would need to wait a little longer before he gets a fight against one of them than he would if he were to fight Thurman. However, there’s less for Pacquiao to gain in terms in fighting Thurman, who as this writer mentioned, is seen as being below Spence and Crawford in the talent department. If Pacquiao sees his next fight in terms of just business, then Thurman might be the next best fight for him if he can’t get a rematch with Mayweather and if he doesn’t want to wait for the smoke to clear from the Spence vs. Garcia fight, which takes place on March 16. With Thurman and Pacquiao having fought their fights close to each other, it would be easy for a bout between them to be scheduled in May or June. However, Pacquiao would still be better off waiting to see if he can get the rematch with Mayweather, because that’s the fight where he’ll make huge money if it happens. Pacquiao vs. Thurman won’t do nearly as many PPV buys as Mayweather-Pacquiao 2.

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