Dubai: Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao says that he has ‘something to prove’ when he takes on American Keith Thurman in Saturday’s WBA super welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thurman is 10 years younger than the 40-year-old Filipino boxing icon but it is not the age gap that concerns Pacquiao, it’s his lip.
“At 40, this fight is one of the most important fights of my career,” Pacquiao said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I want to prove something. My opponent, he’s very good at talking.”
Since his career-changing victory over the great Oscar de la Hoya in 2008 Pacquiao has not shied away from taking on the world’s top fighters.
A “Fighter of the Decade” in the 2000s, Pacquiao’s speed and endurance have been his principal weapons which he will put to good use against the slower American who boasts a two-inch reach advantage.
The Filipino holds a 61-7-2 (39 KOs) record while Thurman is undefeated with a record of 29-0 (22 KOs).
However, all this will count for nothing once the first bell rings for the 12-round encounter.
Both fighters will be looking to assert their supremacy in the early round and it is possible that whoever makes his mark is likely to emerge as the winner.
Pacquiao is coming off a 12-round victory over Adrien Broner on January 19, which he won by unanimous decision, while Thurman emerged from a two-year layoff to defeat Josesito Lopez in a majority decision on January 26.
Thurman, who has been walking the talk in the build-up to Saturday’s much-anticipated fight told the Review-Journal: “This goal has been in motion for 23 years. I want somebody to show the world that Pacquiao is not that dude anymore.”
Commenting on his long layoff due to injury the American added: “All athletes get injured and battle to come back.
“Baseball, football. It’s part of it. Tiger Woods, look at what happened to him. He was out, he was gone and everybody wondered if he’d come back. He did. But this ain’t golf.”
Head to Head
Manny Pacquiao vs Keith thurman
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Belt at stake: WBA ‘Super’ welterweight
Keith Thurman (USA)
Record: 29 wins 0 losses 22 KOs
Manny Pacquiao (Philippines)
Record: 61 wins 7 losses 2 draws 39 KOs
Odds: Pacquiao 4/6 Thurman 5/4
Live Stream: Fox Sports Pay-Per-View