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Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman in advanced talks for fight on July 13 or 20

Image: Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman in advanced talks for fight on July 13 or 20

By Chris Williams: A fight in the works between WBA welterweight champions Manny Pacquiao and Keith “One Time” Thurman for July 13 or July 20th, according to Mike Coppinger. This is NOT an April Fool’s joke. The Pacquiao-Thurman negotiations are advanced for a fight that’ll likely be shown on Premier Boxing Champions on SHOWTIME.

Despite WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) accepting a challenge by IBF champion Errol “The Truth” Spence last month on March 16 to fight him next, the 40-year-old Filipino star appears to have changed his mind about taking that fight. Since was just a verbal agreement by Pacquiao, he’s not locked into the Spence fight, and can take on WBA Super World 147 lb champion “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) this Summer.

Mike Coppinger said this about the news of the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight on his social media site:

“SOURCES: Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman are in advanced talks for a pay-per-view welterweight title showdown that’s being targeted for July 13. No deal yet but it’s expected to be completed #boxing. July 20 another possibility. Date still being worked on.”

The location of the Pacquiao-Thurman fight will likely be in either Las Vegas, Nevada or New York.

It’s a big step up for both fighters in terms of talent. Thurman is coming off an unimpressive 12 round majority decision win over Josesito Lopez last January in a fight where he came close to getting knocked out in the seventh round. Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs) treated the fight like it was his Super Bowl, and he really went after the ring rusty Thurman the entire 12 round fight. The 34-year-old Lopez had Thurman looking exhausted and badly worn in the second half of the contest. Thurman hadn’t fought in two years since his win over Danny Garcia in March 2017, and he made the mistake of picking out a very live fighter in Josesito to face instead of a soft job. Lopez chased Thurman around the ring, punishing him with shots, and wearing him out. Pacquiao will have a good blueprint to study to get ready for the Thurman fight.

Pacquiao is coming off of a 12 round decision win over Adrien “The Problem” Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao outworked Broner, and dominated him throughout the fight. Pacquiao never came close to stopping Broner, 29, but he easily won the fight by the scores 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.

If the Pacquiao-Thurman fight had been made two years ago, a lot of boxing fans would have picked Thurman to win. Not anymore. Thurman looked like a shell of his former self in coming back from a layoff in his last fight against Lopez, and he looked very beatable. Had that been Pacquiao that Thurman was facing on the night, he probably would have lost. If Thurman can’t raise his game, he’ll lose to Pacquiao. Either way, this is a fight that promises to be an exciting one, and we could see a rematch if it’s competitive and/or if it brings in a lot of pay-per-view buys on SHOWTIME. Pacquiao’s fight against Broner brought in 400,000 buys on Showtime. You have to assume that there will be a lot more interest in a Pacquiao-Thurman fight due to Pacquiao facing an unbeaten fighter, who some boxing fans feel is either the #1 or the #2 guy in the welterweight division. Thurman had previously held the WBA and WBC 147 lb titles after beating Danny Garcia in 2017. Thurman lost his World Boxing Council title due to an injury problem that kept him out of the ring for two years.

Following a disappointing controversial 12 round decision loss to Jeff Horn in 2017, Pacquiao has turned his career around by beating Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner in back to back fights. The former eight division world champion Pacquiao has found the Fountain of Youth, and is fighting at a high level right now. Pacquiao doesn’t look like the same guy that beat Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 or Miguel Cotto in 2009, but he still is looking awfully good right now. Pacquiao is going to need to look sensational for him to beat “One Time” Thurman, because he’s a guy with a lot of power, hand speed, and he’s kind of tricky. If Thurman decides he wants to play hit and run all night long like he did against Shawn Porter in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2016, it’s going to be difficult for Manny to get to him. For the sake of the many boxing fans that’ll be paying to see the fight on pay-per-view, hopefully Thurman stays in the pocket all night long and fights Pacquiao. There will be a lot of angry boxing fans if Thurman hits and runs all night long like he did against Porter. That fight was frustrating to watch at times due to Thurman’s reluctance to stand and fight. Thurman still won the fight easily over Porter, but it wasn’t a thrilling one for the ages like the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns fight ages ago.

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