7 months after Senator Manny Pacquiao re-instated himself as a welterweight champion, he faces an even bigger test in Keith “One Time” Thurman.
Pacquiao, boxing’s only 8 division champion in history, is looking for his biggest win in years when he faces off against an undefeated, unified welterweight champion this Saturday night. Keith Thurman may not be a big name to boxing casuals, but for the hardcore fans, Thurman has been on the map since his bouts on HBO in 2013.
Known as “One Time” because of his incredible punching power, Thurman has blossomed in to a complete fighter, being able to box his way to decisions since he started facing off against the division’s top dogs. Unfortunately for Thurman, his nickname has become a big target for opponents in recent years.
Thurman has only 1 stoppage since 2015 and critics have taken notice, taunting him by giving him the moniker “Run Time”. A possible explanation for the change in Thurman’s results are the injuries he has been fighting through in 2017. These injuries were enough to force a hiatus on Thurman, who was missing from the ring from 2017-2019.
Keith Thurman’s most recent fight was his long awaited return to the ring earlier this year. His opponent was Josesito Lopez, aka “The Riverside Rocky”. Lopez has made his career with his upset win over Victor Ortiz and subsequent bouts against Canelo and Marcos Maidana. Canelo and Maidana were both able to knock Lopez out but Thurman was unable to do the same. Thurman was victorious over a 12 round decision but was hurt significantly in the middle rounds.
Being hurt in a fight is a part of the game, but Thurman was being hit clean repeatedly as the ring announcers proclaimed he could be stopped. While this was a serious red flag, a built in excuse of a 2 year layoff is present. As for Pacquiao, his last bout in January was against Adrien “The Problem” Broner. The Problem was solved over 12 rounds with Pacquiao winning a decision that Broner contested in the post fight interview.
“Everybody in here know I beat him” became a viral quote online in the days following. Pacquiao was revealed to have been sick during fight week and during the post fight oresser, he had to blow his nose repeatedly, raising questions of how he managed to go 12 long rounds in his condition.
This Saturday’s main event is the biggest boxing event of the year so far, with Pacquiao having already sold 400,000 PPV buys against Broner in January.
Thurman has fought on PPV before in a clash of undefeated champions and he came out on top. While Thurman is a fantastic fighter and a strong young undefeated champion, this fight is his opportunity to become a boxing superstar.
If Thurman wins he will change his life forever. Pacquiao has been a superstar since 2008, but all good things come to an end. Will this Saturday be Pacquiao’s swan song, or will this just be another chapter in the legend of the 40-year-old Pacquiao.
By Julian-Ray Fortaleza