Manny Pacquiao talks to reporters after making his grand arrival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).
Wendell Rupert Alinea/MP Promotions
Why Manny Pacquiao isn't interested in Keith Thurman's most vulnerable moment
Dino Maragay (Philstar.com) - July 17, 2019 - 3:07pm

LAS VEGAS – In boxing, watching an opponent’s previous fights is a common practice among boxers and their training teams. It helps them identify the opponent’s weaknesses and basically know what to expect and prepare a strategy based on it.

There’s also a popular belief in the sports that a boxer is only as good as his last fight.

The last time Keith Thurman stepped on the ring, he almost got knocked out by the lightly regarded Josesito Lopez in the seventh round of their 12-round bout that was held just last January.

Thurman, then coming from a two-year layoff, got staggered by a left hook from Lopez in the middle of the seventh canto, sending him to the ropes. Lopez then went in for the kill, landing several solid shots on Thurman’s head and stalking the defending champion for the rest of the round.

Luckily for Thurman, he survived that round and recovered to win via majority decision.

That near disaster of a fight for Thurman should serve as a confidence booster for Manny Pacquiao heading into their WBA welterweight title showdown at the MGM Grand here on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

But Pacquiao and his team are downplaying the Lopez fight, saying they expect the best version of Thurman to show up.

They are putting into account the fact that Thurman had a hiatus and badly needed a tune-up fight.

“I heard about that but didn't watch it,” Pacquiao told reporters after making his grand arrival here Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).

He said his mindset will change if he’d seen a vulnerable Thurman. 

“If I watched it then I'm going to underestimate him,” he continued.

The last thing Pacquiao wants is to be overconfident in the ring, and he won’t be committing that mistake against Thurman.

Prior to going on a break to heal from an injury and eventually returning to fight Lopez, the dangerous Thurman (29-0, with 22 KOs) unified the WBA and WBC welterweight championships when he outpointed Danny Garcia two years ago.

It was the biggest win of Thurman’s career, and perhaps the only fight that matters for Pacquiao because he studied it.

“I saw a couple of weaknesses,” said Pacquiao, smiling and declining to elaborate.

“I believe I am faster than him. I can move side to side. I can box him,” he added.

For Pacquiao, the Lopez fight was a fluke, and he won’t dismiss Thurman based on it.

BOXING COVER STORY EXPLAINER KEITH THURMAN MANNY PACQUIAO
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