Amir Khan has said he wants Manny Pacquiao next after the Englishman put away Billy Dib last week in easy fashion. First, Filipino legend Pacquiao has to get past the undefeated Keith Thurman when they meet on Saturday 20th July in Las Vegas. Regardless of the outcome, it has to be said that Pacquiao and Vegas share a boxing legacy quite unlike any other. The Pac-Man has fought many times in Sin City over the last 20 years and has won and lost – but remains the city’s favorite son. He is now 40 years of age and going into his 71st professional bout, amassing a stellar record of 61-7-2 along the way.
The only eight-division world champion in boxing history and current WBA (regular) welterweight champion is 10 years older than his upcoming opponent but probably still edges the American in speed and punch output. Pacquiao is the shorter man, however, and will have to be wary of Thurman’s height and reach advantage which he will try and use to avoid the vicious body shots bound to be coming his way from the Filipino champion.
Avoiding the lethal hand speed and combinations that Pacquaio unleashes will be key for Thurman if he has any chance of staying on the front foot in the fight. The jab will be key in this fight and if Thurman can establish his long jab early and land it frequently enough, he could keep the wily veteran Pacquaio at bay and pick him off as the fight goes on. He will look to mitigate southpaw Pacquiao’s busy activity, crazy angles, and punches in bunches by keeping him at arm’s length and using his brilliant footwork.
Pacquiao has won four of his last five fights since losing to Floyd Mayweather back in May 2015. He has had a recent break-in his political duties that allowed him to complete a full training camp. Despite a somewhat lacklustre performance in his last outing against Josesito Lopez after a long lay-off, Thurman carries an unblemished 29-0 record and has never really looked like losing so far in his career. At 30-years-old, the American is in his prime, boasting a 76% knockout rate, having only gone the distance seven times as a professional in a 12-year career.
A disadvantage for Thurman going into the fight is the shortage of ring time ‘One Time’ has had recently. With only two fights in three years due to a recurring elbow issue, which he has now had surgery on, Thurman looked decisively rusty in his last outing against a weathered Lopez and will need to have shaken off all the ring rust if he is to emerge victorious against the veteran Pacquaio in Las Vegas.
If Pacquiao loses to Thurman, it may well be his last foray in Las Vegas and we could indeed see him hang up his gloves after a fantastic illustrious career. Win, however, and he is the current favorite with Betfair, it could set up an intriguing match-up with the chinny Khan and the opportunity to further cement his place in the annals of boxing forevermore.