After defeating Josesito Lopez, should Keith Thurman face Manny Pacquiao next?
Although Pacquiao is older, Thurman may never be the same fighter again after missing two years due to multiple injuries. While enticing, a bout between the two should not immediately be booked.
After two years away from boxing, Keith Thurman stepped into the ring for the first time, looking to prove that he can still be a true champion in the sport. He ended up defeating Josesito Lopez via majority decision, 117-109, 115-11 and 113-113. While it wasn’t the dominant Thurman of old, his heart was in the fight against a very skilled Lopez.
During the bout, Thurman (20-0, 1 NC) would rely on his speed and power to throw Lopez (36-8. 1 NC) off of his game. In the second round, Thurman knocked Lopez down with 15 seconds left on the clock. It did not stop Lopez completely, and through 12 rounds the two went to war. It looked as if Lopez was winning from the seventh round onward. Perhaps it was the time away, but you could see Thurman getting tired. Lopez’s dominant second half wasn’t enough to sway the judges. Thurman landed 27% of his punches (247) to Lopez’s 117. The former was able to survive, and the fight went his way.
Now back in the game, new challenges await the 30-year-old. It appears Thurman already has a challenger in mind. Just recently, Manny Pacquiao defeated Adrien Broner via unanimous decision to retain the WBA Welterweight Title. It was a completely one-sided affair, one that proved Pacquiao still has something left in the tank. After his fight, Thurman stated he wants “Pac Man” in a one-on-one bout.
“I would most likely definitely take the Manny Pacquiao fight this year,” Thurman stated. “I feel good. That was a beautiful fight. I’m ready to fight wherever Pacquiao wants it.”
While that bout does sound enticing, is it too early to book it?
Thurman’s hand will never be the same following major surgery. “One Time” even stated that his hand won’t be as functional as it once was. His power punches are still there, however, but recovery time could take longer for him than most fighters.
As for Pacquiao, he may not have the same power punch anymore but there is still some juice left in his hooks. The Senator of the Phillapines would like an opponent by May. He has his mind on Floyd Mayweather once again. Pacquiao also dismissed a Jeff Horn rematch. While many are hoping for a Shawn Porter fight, Pacquiao is open for any enticing fights that benefit him. On a two-fight win streak, he could be looking for someone “higher” than Thurman right now.
That last sentence does sound interesting considering Thurman stated something similar regarding Pacquiao last February. Speaking to RingTV.com, Thurman, who was active at this time, had doubts of Pacquaio’s interest in facing the new talent in boxing today.
“The only thing is that he’s kind of dying out because we’re getting flooded with all this young talent in the welterweight division and it doesn’t really seem like Manny Pacquiao is trying to compete with the rest of the herd.”
Now, would a fight between Pacquiao and Thurman be an enticing one? Stylistically, yes. Pacquaio loves to head towards his opponent while Thurman’s counter game is something else. Power punches would be key here, considering Pacquaio has 39 wins via KO while Thurman has 22. It is all about durability, however. Pacquiao only looked stronger as the rounds went on in his fight against Broner. Thurman on the other hand clearly didn’t feel like his old self.
This year might end up being the last one in boxing for Pacquiao, unless he has some major plans ahead. If a match was to take place, both would need to hurry. To make things right, Thurman should have a match ahead of that potential one. It would be tough to convince others he could take on Pacquiao after his last fight. Ideally, it would be someone with a similar style to the multiple-time champion and future Hall of Famer.
If Premier Boxing Champions were to put something together, it would still be one of the biggest fights in boxing today. And if the two were to actually face off? Don’t be surprised if Thurman was to get humbled by the multi-divisional king.
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