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Tim Bradley analyzes Pacquiao vs. Thurman; picks Keith to win

Keith Thurman Manny Pacquiao Timothy Bradley

By Dan Ambrose: Former two division world champion Timothy Bradley says he’s “banking” on Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman to defeat Manny Pacquiao on July 20 in their mega-fight on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs), who Pacquiao retired at age 33 in 2016, views Thurman’s intelligence as a key factor for him against Manny.

If Thurman is mainly taking this fight for money purposes, then it won’t likely bother him too much when/if the boxing public fail to give him credit if he wins this fight against the 40-year-old Pacquiao. As the saying goes, he can cry all the way to the bank. However, if Thurman took the fight thinking it would add to his legacy by beating Pacquiao, then he’ll likely be sadly disappointed if that fails to happen.

Thurman will be criticized even if he wins says Bradley

“It doesn’t matter whether he wins the fight or loses the fight, he’s going to get backlash anyway,” Bradley said to Fighthype about Thurman. “If he wins the fight, he beat a 40-year-old Pacquiao, not a prime Pacquiao. If he loses the fight, it’s like, ‘you can’t even beat a 40-year-old Pacquiao.’ So, he’s [Thurman] doomed either way, but it’s a good opportunity for him. I’m happy he got the fight,” Bradley said.

Bradley is 100% correct about Thurman being in a no-win situation going into the with the 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs). The advanced age of Pacquiao coupled with his lack of size puts Thurman in a position where he’ll get little credit if he wins. Even if Thurman destroys Pacquiao, the boxing public will say he waited until Manny was an old man until he fought him. It’ll be similar to the recent fight between Jessie Vargas and 38-year-old former lightweight champion Humberto Soto. Vargas, 30, had a huge youth and size advantage over Soto. As one would expect, Vargas easily won the fight. But instead of getting a lot of credit, Vargas was criticized and his win was largely categorized by fans in the same way they did in his win over journeyman Aaron Herrera two years earlier in 2017. The only thing the fans knew is Vargas failed to beat Thomas Dulorme and Adrien Broner in fighting to 12 round draws against both of them. In Thurman’s case, the boxing fans have noted that he’s been dodging a fight against Errol Spence Jr. since 2016, and now he’s fighting an older and smaller fighter in Pacquiao.

It’s hard to look heroic when you’re not taking the dangerous fights, and your choosing instead guys like Josesito Lopez and Danny Garcia to fight. If Pacquiao beats Thurman, it’s game over for ‘One Time.’ His career will be effectively done as a major player. Thurman will likely stick around, of course, and continue fighting, but he won’t be taken seriously by fans. More importantly, whatever flaws that Pacquiao exposes in Thurman to beat him, they would be areas that would be taken advantage of by his future opponents. One huge flaw that Thurman has in his game is his stamina problem. He’s been a six round fighter for the last three fights.

Thurman’s stamina gives out around the midpoint of his fights. Pacquiao will be sure to to try and take advantage of that by stepping on the gas in the second part of their fight. The other flaw that Thurman has shown is he doesn’t take head or body shots very well. He’s been hurt a number of times by fighters that he shouldn’t have been hurt by like Luis Collazo, Josesito Lopez, Diego Chaves and Jesus Soto-Karass.

Thurman’s motivation will be key says Bradley

“Everybody is looking at that last fight for Thurman, his first fight back, and everybody’s, ‘Go, Pacquiao.’ Listen; when you’re fighting against a legend like Manny Pacquiao, you’re going to get up for it. You best believe it. Thurman is a smart guy. He’s very intellectual, he’s very aware. He knows what he has to do, and what he needs to do to beat a guy like Manny Pacquiao. So, I’m banking on Thurman to get the job done,” Bradley said.

The question here is whether motivation will be the Fountain of Youth for both fighters? Thurman is only 30, but his performances in his last three fights suggests he’s a lot older than his chronological age. Is being motivated enough to turn back the clock for Thurman? What about Manny? Will be able to raise his game to a higher level because he’s fighting Thurman, and he’s being told that his career is going to be ended by him? The motivation will help the two fighters in training camp, but it’ll only carry them so far in the action fight. The talent will be the deciding factor in who wins this fight.

Thurman has a lot of things in his favor with his youth, size and power. But he’s a lot older than his listed age, and we won’t know what kind of injuries he’ll be coming into the fight with. Thurman revealed after his close win over Danny Garcia in 2017 that he’d been dealing with an elbow injury. If Thurman has some other injury that he’s not talking about, he might not be 100% for the fight with Manny. With Thurman’s history of nagging injuries, it’s hard to imagine him being able to get through an entire camp without getting hurt badly enough to either postpone the fight or come into it still injured.

Thurman says he might retire if he loses to Pacquiao

“That’s just motivation. He’s just trying to pump himself up and say, ‘yo, if I can’t beat a 40-year-old Pacquiao, then I don’t belong in the ring,'” said Bradley. “But if he loses to Pacquiao, it’ll be a close fight. Thurman’s not retiring, man. Not at all. He still has a lot left in the tank. That’s just a motivating total and a motivation strategy that Thurman is using,” Bradley said.

Bradley is right. Thurman won’t retire if he loses to Pacquiao. There’s too much money for Thurman to make in fights against Spence, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Terence Crawford. Thurman will get big money for some of those fights, as long as he doesn’t lose them all. If Thurman’s punch resistance is now gone following the way he was clipped by Josesito Lopez last January, then it could be next impossible for him to beat the elite level welterweights.

Bradley says Spence-Crawford fight happens when Spence talks to his management

“We’ll see it when Spence wants the fight, and gets his people to make the fight, and talk to Bob [Arum],” Bradley said when asked when the boxing public can expect to see the unification fight between IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champion Terence Crawford. “That’s when the fight is going to happen. I think both guys want the fight,” said Bradley.

Bradley is a network commentator now for ESPN, and it’s unclear what he truly believes when it comes to fights. Some fans think that boxing commentators sway their remarks to please their bosses. As such, it’s hard to know what Bradley really feels when it comes to the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight.

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