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Keith Thurman – Does He Still Love Boxing and Will Manny Pacquiao Fight Define His Career?

Keith Thurman is ready and gives no F’s.

“I trained for my last fight at L.A. Fitness by myself…” said Keith Thurman, at the initial press conference to announce his July 20th clash with future hall-of-famer Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, seen worldwide on pay-per-view.

Thurman, who took a long hiatus from the sport, and has often been questioned about his love of boxing left us this gem of a soundbite that one could not really understand why he shared it, adding to mystery and charm of Thurman as a public figure. I mean, it sounds like it rationalizes why he got rocked by Josesito Lopez, but if he is saying he didn’t take that bout serious, does that all, but confirm, maybe his heart isn’t in the sport anymore?

“I have two strength and conditioning coaches…” said Thurman as he furthered. 

This statement was even better as the phrase two is better than one comes to mind, but with no follow-up or details as to what purpose those coaches serve, what does it matter? In short, it was the same socially awkward Keith Thurman we have grown to know and love. The same Thurman who awkwardly stated that he will crucify Pacquiao in this fight, which lead to unsettling undertones and really heat between the two combatants.

Thurman, who should be a consensus top-ten pound-for-pound fighter, has bounced out of just about everyone’s list due to his inactivity. After picking up the two biggest wins in the welterweight division of the modern era beating Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia in back to back bouts spread over the course of two years, fighting on CBS in both bouts, Thurman took two years off to heal from injury, and well showed signs of rust against Josesito Lopez this January.

Let’s not act like Thurman didn’t look good, to start the bout he did, but then he got tired and got hit a lot. Lopez had him hurt and rocked on the ropes at one point in the seventh round.

Thurman has been a blueprint for how to construct a career with a hall-of-fame resume, but have lots of ill-will towards you based on the decisions you make, for example, seemingly not wanting to fight Errol Spence Jr in the near future and somewhat being sly, when cornered on the subject. This is also not entirely fair as injuries and dramatic weight cuts to get to welterweight might have lessened his enthusiasm as well.

Thurman won the fight fans hearts by being frank, honest, and humorous. He used to say things like “burn money!” to try to get a Floyd Mayweather fight, but as of late, Thurman has felt like the man who worked his way up to an executive salary and now is content accumulate wealth with entertainment being secondary.

Thurman, who is in his prime and younger, should beat Pacquiao, in theory, but the neglected pound-for-pound fighter has done seemingly all the small missteps in his career to give any objective fight fan apprehension and any boxing writer confusion when looking at the bout.

Thurman at his best quite possibly is the best, but since Danny Garcia and multiple injuries later, Thurman just doesn’t seem like the same guy anymore. If he still has it this should be the fight that gets him excited.

Then we have the aging world champion and future hall-of-famer Manny Pacquiao, a generational talent, who was one of the last legit pay-per-view draws ever. 

Pacquiao, who left longtime promoter, Top Rank Inc, last year, and began working with boxing power broker, Sean Gibbons, is now existing in the Premier Boxing Champions universe, essentially the land in which all the best of welterweights roam, except Terence Crawford.

The fight simply comes down to this; is this a changing of the guard or is Pacquiao going to defy the odds yet again, cementing one more notch into a legendary career. 

We will soon find out July 20th from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, which will be distributed worldwide by FOX pay-per-view.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle