By Chris Williams: WBA World welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) is taking a huge risk in facing WBA Super World champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) on July 13 on Showtime pay-per-view. The news of their potential fight was broken on Monday. Pacquiao and Thurman are said to be in “advanced talks” for a July 13 showdown, according to Mike Coppinger. It’s still not a done deal yet, but the negotiations are underway.
Presumably, the end game is the winner of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter fight.
The location of the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight will come down to one of these venues: MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Barclays Center, in New York or Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
If Pacquiao can beat Thurman, it’ll set the table for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to come back to face the Filipino star. Mayweather doesn’t look like he wants any of that work though. An impressive win for Pacquiao over Thurman might send Mayweather in the opposite direction. Pacquiao is going to have his work cut out for him against Thurman. That’s not a good match-up for Pacquiao.
It was expected that after ducked out of the Errol Spence Jr. fight after agreeing to fight him, he would take on Thurman, 30, as he looks like the softest target among the other four world champions at welterweight. Thurman looked old, shot and passed it in his recent title defense against fringe contender Josesito Lopez. Two years out of the ring licking his wounds from his fight against Danny Garcia in 2017 has taken away a MAJOR portion of Thurman’s game. He looked he aged 10 years in those two years out of the ring.
The way that Thurman fought, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to find his way back to being the fighter that he was two years ago. Boxing like tennis and golf in some ways. If you stop competing in those sports for a couple of years, you’re not going to be able to back to the level you were once at. There are, of course, rare exceptions where a fighter is so good that they can still fight at a high level after coming off of a long two to ten year layoff, but those are usually the guys with huge punching power and/or blazing hand speed.
Pacquiao could blow chance for Mayweather fight
This is fight that could ruin any chances of the 40-year-old Pacquiao ever getting his rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who just happens to be in the Philippines right now to meet with Manny on Tuesday. Mayweather maintains that no way is he fighting Pacquiao, and you have to take him at his word. If Pacquiao loses badly to Thurman, it’s game over for any chances of a rematch against Mayweather. Time is running out for a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Both are getting older, and the boxing public is forgetting about Mayweather because he hasn’t been active against true professional boxers since 2015. The fans aren’t going to keep showing interest in watching Mayweather beat up on MMA guys in boxing events. That’s something that can only work so many times before the public loses interest entirely. If Pacquiao gets knocked out or beaten by Thurman in a one-sided fight, that’ll probably be end of any chances of fans being interested in seeing him and Mayweather fight ever again. That’s why it would be in Mayweather’s best interest right now to step in and take the Pacquiao fight away from Thurman before the contract gets signed for the July 13 fight. Just like how Pacquiao agreed to fight Spence, and then changed his mind and went in the opposite direction, Manny can do the same thing to Thurman and back and fight Mayweather. Under that scenario, there won’t be any complaints from the boxing fans if they can’t see Pacquiao and Thurman fight each other. The fans want to see Mayweather and Pacquiao get it on one more time before the time of them ride off into the sunset. Mayweather has already ridden off a long time ago. He’s been able to keep his name alive with his fights against MMA guys, but those were just awful to watch. Mayweather looked slow and shot in his last two fights, and his opponents appeared to be completely unskilled and lost inside the ring with him. It wasn’t even sporting.
Pacquiao missing out on opportunity to fight Spence for big money
Pacquiao could probably make more money if he were to fight arguably the most talented of the welterweight champions in Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs). There would be a lot of PPV buys would be generated in a fight between Pacquiao and Spence. Thurman is just now coming back after 2 years out of boxing with injuries. His popularity has suffered with him out of action. You have to believe the rationale for Pacquiao choosing to fight Thurman is likely based on on how beatable he looked in the Josesito Lopez fight. When you compare how Thurman looked in that fight to the way Spence did in his recent win over Mikey Garcia, it’s clear that Spence is the far superior fighter.
Pacquiao beat former four division world champion Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner last January by a 12 round unanimous decision. Broner was a strange choice for Pacquiao to be fighting, because he hasn’t won a fight in two years since his controversial victory over Adrian Granados in 2017. It’s been a race to the bottom for Broner since he moved up to welterweight in 2013, and he looks completely shot. Pacquiao choosing to fight Broner looked like the Filipino star was taking a safe fight against someone that he could beat with certainty. Thurman may not be anywhere near the fighter he once was, but he’s a big step up from the likes of Broner.
There are some who believe that Thurman’s head is no longer focused on boxing. Now that Thurman has made a lot of money from being a world champion, he’s got a lot of things going on outside of the ring. For a fighter to do well in boxing, they need to love the sport. Thurman might not have that love anymore. Pacquiao is catching ‘One Time’ at the right point in his career.