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‘One Time’ to deny ‘Pac-Man’ title? Get Keith Thurman v Manny Pacquiao tips

Leigh Copson 16 Jul 2019
Manny Pacquiao in action (credit:Gene Blevins/Zuma Press/PA Images)

Keith Thurman v Manny Pacquiao predictions for the WBA (Super) welterweight title fight on Saturday, July 20. Can Manny Pacquiao add another world title to his glittering CV by handing Keith Thurman the first defeat of his career? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Keith Thurman v Manny Pacquiao

As the only eight-division world champion in boxing history, and with 40 years and 70 professional bouts on the clock, you would think that Manny Pacquiao would be enjoying retirement from the ‘sweet science’ at this point in his life. That is certainly not the case. The Filipino legend is preparing for the 71st fight of his incredible career against an unbeaten world champion in Keith Thurman, but this is not a case of a fighter hanging onto his career because he needs the money. According to trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao is carrying on his Hall of Fame career because he is a “workaholic” who loves what he does.

“We want to be in the fight game,” he told Boxing Scene. “But we don’t want to just be in the fight game, we want to be the best in the fight game.

“If [Floyd] Mayweather doesn’t come to the table after this fight, if he’s too scared, then we have [Terence] Crawford. There’s a lot of good names out there, Errol Spence and so forth. If we get offered those tough guys coming up we’re not going to say no because we want to be the best at what we do. We’re not just in this game for money, trying to just go back in and make a dollar, we don’t need a dollar. We want to be the best fighter in the world.”

Pacquiao may be knocking on the door to turning 41, but the past 12 months have been the most active he has been in quite some time. He spent a year on the sidelines following his shock defeat at the hands of Jeff Horn, but he made a winning return to action a year ago when he dispatched Lucas Matthysse inside seven rounds and he followed that up in January with a convincing decision win over the deluded Adrien Broner. When Pacquiao steps inside the ring on July 20 it will be his third fight in the space of 12 months and it will be the first time he has fought multiple times in a calendar year since 2016. At this late stage of his career, ‘Pac-Man’ is being more active than he has been for years! But can he now win three consecutive fights for the first time in almost five years?

Providing the opposition is current WBA (Super) welterweight champion Keith Thurman. The 30-year-old American boasts a flawless 29-0 professional record and was on his way to cementing his status as one of the best fighters in the planet a couple of years ago, but his career was put on hold when he suffered elbow and hand injuries that sidelined him for almost two years, and in that time he admitted to dealing with bouts of depression.

‘One Time’ finally made his eagerly-anticipated return back in January when he successfully defended the welterweight title he had clung onto despite being sidelined, but his comeback was hardly the stuff of fairytale as he was awarded a Majority Decision win over Josesito Lopez. Lopez had the champion in trouble in the seventh round when he had left him reeling with a powerful left hook, but the challenger was unable to get Thurman out of there and paid the price when two judges awarded the fight to the WBA title-holder, with the third scoring it a draw.

It was an underwhelming display from Thurman that left big questions – was it down to ring rust after such a lengthy absence, or does the champion simply not have it anymore? And is he even motivated to step into the ring – that was another major question asked in the wake of that fight and in the build-up to this one. For his part, Thurman insists that he silence all of the doubters by showing them the ‘best ever’ version of himself on July 20.

“You know that was not the best Keith Thurman that you’ve ever seen,” he told reporters. “Come July 20 you will see one of the best Keith Thurmans that you’ve ever seen. I worked hard to be a champion. I’ve always wanted to fight some of the greatest names in the sport of boxing.”

Talk is cheap and Thurman will have to back up his words in the ring, and while there are question marks hanging over the champion like dark clouds that is not the case for Pacquiao, who continues to defy Father Time. ‘Pac-Man’ is clearly not the fighter he was a decade ago – who would be with 40 years and 70 fights in the books – but he has shown in his last few fights that there is still plenty left in the tank and he is motivated by success and the prospect of more massive fights down the line if he wins this one.

Pacquiao and Roach have both insisted that this fight will not go the distance, but I disagree. The challenger has to fight smart because Thurman does have the size and power that could take him out. The champion has shown flaws defensively though and they could be exposed and taken advantage of by Pacquiao, who remains quick on his feet, continues to attack from all angles and still possesses the pop in his hands that could trouble Thurman. I see the 41-year-old gaining the judges’ approval after 12 rounds, landing him the WBA (Super) title and handing Thurman his first loss.

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‘One Time’ to deny ‘Pac-Man’ title? Get Keith Thurman v Manny Pacquiao tips

Keith Thurman v Manny Pacquiao predictions for the WBA (Super) welterweight title fight on Saturday, July 20.

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