Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman face off for the first time.
Darnell Ellerbe/Mayweather Promotions
Thurman to Pacquiao: I’ll show you the exit
Dino Maragay ( - May 22, 2019 - 12:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — WBA “super” welterweight champion Keith Thurman just hit the jackpot in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes.

And the 30-year-old fighter from Clearwater, Florida vowed to cash in on July 20 (July 21 Manila time) when he fights Pacquiao — the WBA’s “regular” champion in the 147-pound division — to unify the titles. 

"This is a big fight. I've waited 22 months to get back in the game. We had our ups and downs, but Keith Thurman is back on the rise. I'm going to make a big statement,” Thurman said during the first stop of their two-city press tour to promote their bout.

Thurman and Pacquiao got to size each other up for the first time Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time) at the Gotham Hall in New York, and the former got the ball rolling with strong words about his approach in their mammoth clash.

The two fighters will lock horns at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with Pacquiao aiming to prove that at 40 years old, he still got what it takes to compete at the top level.

Thurman, for his part, is raring to tell Pacquiao that it’s all over for the Filipino icon.

"I'm excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is. He's a legend who's done great things. But I've never lost to a fighter who's lost seven times. I have no intention of losing this fight and I don't see him winning in any shape or form,” he added.

Pacquiao became a champion once more when he took the belt from Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last year, putting himself on a collision course with Thurman.

The fact that Thurman belongs to the stable of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions — which recently also took in Pacquiao — made finalizing the fight easier.

The two protagonists will hold another presser tomorrow at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles before kicking off their respective training camps.

Pacquiao will set up camp either in Manila or in General Santos City, with head trainer Buboy Fernandez at the helm.

He needs to be in tip-top shape — something that becomes more difficult given his age — in order to deal Thurman his first loss in 29 fights.
Pacquiao, as usual, welcomes the challenge.

"I've never been scared of a challenge. I'm so excited for this fight against an undefeated champion. He's the kind of fighter that you can't underestimate. His record and successes gives me more motivation to work hard,” said Pacquiao.

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