Keith Thurman
Thurman out of line with remarks
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Keith Thurman isn’t really a bad guy so when he recently mouthed off about his thoughts on Manny Pacquiao and how he intends to crucify the Filipino icon in their WBA welterweight title unification fight in Las Vegas on July 20, long-time boxing expert Sean Gibbons was taken aback.

“Thurman’s a good person, a nice guy,” said Gibbons, an experienced matchmaker and MP Promotions head. “But I think he crossed the line when he talked about crucifying the Senator. That’s not right. The Senator got pissed off because Thurman disrespected the Bible. It hit the Senator close to home. Then, I heard Thurman making fun of the Senator, that when he went night-night, his mama cried and he has T-Rex-like arms. The Senator saw the video where Thurman made those statements and I can tell you he wasn’t happy.”

Gibbons said Thurman’s night-night story referred to when Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. As for the T-Rex-like arms, Gibbons said Thurman has a low regard for Pacquiao’s length.

“Maybe, Thurman’s just selling the fight and got over-excited,” said Gibbons. “Maybe, he honestly believes in what he’s saying, like when he promised to send Manny into retirement and make him a full-time Senator. All I know is the Senator didn’t like his rants and he’s going to do something about it in the ring.”

Gibbons said before Thurman looks down on Pacquiao’s age, he should remember that Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are over 40 and still at the top of their game. At 41, Brady led the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl last year. Woods was 43 when he won the Masters in Augusta last April.

“For sure, Thurman will come prepared,” said Gibbons. “He’s working with trainer Dan Birmingham in Florida. Dan’s not a high-profile guy but he’s good at what he does. He worked with former world champions Jeff Lacey, Winky Wright and Chad Dawson. The last two were southpaws like Manny. The man who gave Thurman his pedigree and taught him the ropes was the late Ben Getty, not Dan. I’ve watched Thurman’s fights against Danny Garcia, Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter and Josesito Lopez. I think the Thurman of old is no longer with us. There were flashes of the old Thurman in the fight against Lopez. He hasn’t been too active lately but he’ll put up a good fight.”

Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said Thurman hasn’t been the same since his car accident, surgery in his right elbow and injuring his left hand over the last three years. “He had close to a two-year layoff,” said Fortune. “I saw him a little tentative in his last few fights. He’s not quite the Thurman of old. I’m sure what he went through is playing in his mind. Subconsciously, he’s thinking he’ll never be 100 percent again.”

Fortune said since Thurman raised the level of his opponents, he hasn’t been as devastating as before. Five of his last six fights went the distance. “He started to fight tougher guys and the quality of his opposition went up,” said Fortune. “In his last fight, Thurman had difficulty beating Lopez who’s past his prime and settled for a win by a majority decision. Lopez is nowhere near Manny’s class. But we’re not underestimating Thurman. Manny has to be in 100 percent shape to beat this guy. Thurman’s undefeated and he’s a champion, too.”

Fortune said he’s sure Pacquiao has studied Thurman’s style on videos. “Manny knows his opponents well,” he said. “When he does mitts with Buboy (Fernandez), they talk about how Thurman fights, what he likes to throw, how to counter. Now that we’re all in L. A., we’ll sit down and discuss the fight plan with Buboy and Freddie (Roach).”

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