Should Manny Pacquiao face Keith Thurman next?

Should Manny Pacquiao face Keith Thurman next?

March 30, 2017


Manny Pacquiao won the WBO welterweight championship against Jessie Vargas last November. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao won the WBO welterweight championship against Jessie Vargas last November. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The riddle as to who will be Manny Pacquiao’s (59-6-2, 38 KOs) next opponent becomes more of a mystery with each passing day. When 2017 first started, it was thought that Pacquiao would begin a pseudo-world tour by facing Australian welterweight Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 10 KOs) in Australia. A fight with Horn was scheduled to take place in April. 

A fight in Australia was temporarily thrown to the side when an opportunity arose for a fight in Dubai. There were rumors that enough money was raised to stage a fight between former 140-pound champion Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) and Pacquiao. Both men even took to their Twitter accounts to reveal that the fight was agreed upon. When Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum wanted to see if the money that was raised was legitimate, it turned out that Pacquiao-Khan was more fantasy than reality. 

Now that Pacquiao is a full-time Senator in the Philippines there are only a few select times a year when he can step into the ring.  According to Arum, Pacquiao’s return has been pushed to July or as far back as November. Arum told the Manila Bulletin that he is running out of patience with Pacquiao. 

“They have to make a decision by Wednesday” – Bob Arum 
Keith Thurman defeated Danny Garcia by unanimous decision to become the unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Keith Thurman defeated Danny Garcia by unanimous decision to become the unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

There is an alternative option for the eight-division world champion waiting for him in the state of Florida. Earlier this month, Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) defeated Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) by split decision to become the unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion. Thurman left the ring that night relatively unscathed and could be available for a fight in July or November. Thurman posted on social media that he would be more than willing to face Pacquiao. 

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Pacquiao’s longtime trainer Freddie Roach seems to like the fight for the 38-year old eight-division world champion. For Roach, if Pacquiao is to continue his career he wants to see him fight quality fighters. 

“I would love that fight. Thurman is a good prospect. He fought OK in his last fight. He made it a lot closer than it needed to be. Garcia gave him a closer fight, so either one of those guys, I would love to fight. Bring the contract, and we’ll sign it today. We’ll see, but the thing is, if Pacquiao fights again it’ll be somebody in the top 10 and somebody really legit. Because I don’t think we need to just continue boxing just for the sake of doing that against like lower-class fighters and so forth. If we’re gonna fight, we’re gonna fight and be competitive in the top 10 in the world.” – Freddie Roach 

The Filipino’s last two fights came with criticism from fans as they awaited a fight with fellow Top Rank stablemate Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs). A fight with Thurman would come with no criticism. It would also give Pacquiao the chance to do something he has yet to accomplish in his boxing career, and that’s become a unified champion in a division. In fact, a winner over Thurman could make Pacquiao the undisputed welterweight champion sans the winner of the upcoming Kell Brook-Errol Spence fight for the IBF welterweight championship. Even at 38-years of age, many would still favor Pacquiao to defeat Thurman. Three-time Pacquiao opponent and two-division champion Timothy Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) spoke with fighthype.com to give his opinion on a potential clash between Thurman and Pacquiao. 

“I think Pacquiao mops the floor with both of those guys. I’m just saying there was a lot of wide swinging and Pac be straight down the middle on those guys.”  - Timothy Bradley

The odds may potentially be in favor of the boxing Senator of the Philippines, but Thurman would be the hardest puncher he has faced since Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. The vast gap in experience in big fights would be an advantage for Pacquiao and Thurman hasn’t exactly been knocking opponents out since stepping up his level of competition. 

For those fans looking for a possible passing of the torch bout that would signify the beginning of a new era, Pacquiao-Thurman could be right up their alley. 


(Feature Photo: Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)

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