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Ellerbe warns Thurman about Pacquiao; “It’s a little different” with Manny

Image: Ellerbe warns Thurman about Pacquiao; "It's a little different" with Manny

By Dan Ambrose: Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe says Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is going to be in for a bit of a surprise when he gets inside the ring with the 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ellerbe feels that Thurman is under the false belief that Pacquiao is an easy mark.

The fight will be shown on Fox Sports PPV.

Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) shocked a lot of boxing fans recently by vowing to send the former eight division world champion Pacquiao into permanent retirement on the 20th of July. Not surprisingly, Pacquiao was so upset at the way that Thurman talked about him, and he’s now working harder than ever to get in the best shape possible so that he can make him eat his words.

One Time Thurman believes he’ll nail Pacquiao with a shot while he’s jumping in

Pacquiao’s lack of reach has Thurman believing that he’s going to be forced to jump in for him to land his punches. Thurman says he’s going to time Pacquiao when he does that and knock him out the same way Juan Manuel Marquez did in their fight in 2012.

“We got Manny Pacquiao taking on Keith Thurman. I think that fight will be a huge barn-burner,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Ellerbe to Fighthype. “Keith has started out talking a lot of trash, but he’s got to live up to that word. He’s fighting a straight dog in Manny Pacquiao. Even with us having the conversation, ‘can a 40-year-old beat a 30-year-old,’ that tells you the kind of respect fans have for Manny Pacquiao and the accomplishment that he has.”

Pacquiao will need to keep the pressure on Thurman, 30, for the entire fight if he wants to wear him down to get the win. Thurman likes to control the pace of his fights, and he struggles when his opponents force him to fight quicker than he’s accustomed. In Thurman’s last fight against Josesito Lopez,” he fought well when the pace of the fight was slower. It was when Josesito stepped it up that he began to struggle.

Thurman had the same problem in his match before that against Danny Garcia in 2017. In the first five rounds of the contest, Thurman controlled the fight due to Garcia being passive, and timid about letting his hands go. In the second half of the fight, Garcia started taking the fight to Thurman, and that’s when he took control of the bout. Thurman looked frightened when Garcia started pressuring him. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach will surely have noticed the difference in how Thurman fights when he’s not being pressured by his opponents.

Ellerbe warns Thurman about Pacquiao

“My message to Keith is it’s a little bit different than from how it looks when you get up in there,” said Ellerbe. “It looks totally different until you get up in there. Manny does a lot of great things. I’m not taking anything away from Keith, because Keith is a tremendous fighter himself, but it’s a little bit different. It’s not as easy as it looks on the outside,” said Ellerbe.

Thurman is making the mistake of judging Pacquiao by his age rather than how he’s been performing lately. It’s difficult for the 30-year-old Thurman to imagine a fighter at Pacquiao’s age still competing at a high level, because most guys are past their prime by that point in their careers. However, Pacquiao is aging more like Bernard Hopkins, who was still fighting at a high level well into his 40s. It’s Thurman that appears to be aging at a rapid rate, and he might not have too much time left as an elite level welterweight.

Ellerbe: Caleb Plant is going to be a star

“I think Caleb Plant is going to be one of the biggest stars in the sport itself,” said Ellerbe. “He’s got swag. He’s a nice looking kid, and he fights his butt off. There’s a plan in place for him. If he’s able to get passed Mike Lee, there’s a plan in place for Caleb Plant to be one of the biggest stars in the sport,” said Ellerbe.

IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) makes his first defense of his newly won title against light heavyweight Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) in the co-feature bout on the Pacquiao vs. Thurman card. It’s unclear what great scheme Ellerbe has for Plant to turn him into a star in the boxing world, because he’s not shown the kind of talent that suggests that he’ll be able to take his career to the next level. How do you turn a fighter with limited talent into a star, apart from matching him against bottom dwellers like #15 IBF Mike Lee? Plant will likely look great against Lee, but we’re talking about a fringe level contender and not one of the top five guys.

Right now, you’d have to favor a number of top super middleweights over Plant. If Ellerbe is going to turn Plant into a star, then they’re going to need to keep him away from the good fighters at 168 like David Benavidez, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Chris Eubank Jr., Billy Joe Saunders, Azizbek Abdugofurov, David Lemieux and Azizbek Abdugofurov. Plant looks really beatable right now. If he could develop some punching power, then that would help him dramatically become a star. He still wouldn’t have any hand speed, and that’s something that won’t change no matter how hard he works at it.

Caleb Plant needs to face better opposition for him to become a star

It’s questionable why Plant’s management are having him defend his title against the fringe level contender Lee instead of one of the talented contenders in the super middleweight division. Lee was picked from the bottom of the International Boxing Federation’s rankings at 175, and hes not well known. He’s ranked #15 with the IBF.

The fact that Plant is being matched against a bottom dweller like Lee seems to indicate that the idea to turn him into a star will be a lot of strategic match-making against fighters that aren’t a threat to beating him. If this is how Plant is going to be guided as the IBF 168 pound champion, he might be able to hold onto his belt for two or three years before he eventually loses it. But he’s not going to become a star by fighting fringe level contenders that the boxing world has never heard or and don’t care about.

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