“I want to teach him, like a professor,” the 40-year-old Pacquiao, who is 10 years Thurman’s senior, said yesterday.
‘Professor’ Pacquiao eyes KO vs Thurman
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2019 - 12:00am

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao plans to teach WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman a painful lesson when the two face off in Las Vegas today.

“I want to teach him, like a professor,” the 40-year-old Pacquiao, who is 10 years Thurman’s senior, said yesterday.

Pacquiao said he was in better shape now than when he faced Adrien Broner in January in a fight the Filipino won by unanimous decision.

“I am so prepared for this fight,” he told a supportive crowd at Friday’s weigh in, where both fighters tipped the scales at 146.5 pounds.

At the MGM Grand and before an expected sellout crowd, Pacquiao hopes to land the big punch.

The senator, in his 71st fight in 24 years as a pro (61-7-2 with 39 knockouts), is favored to prevail against his fellow WBA welterweight champion from Florida.

The latest odds in this oven-hot city placed Pacquiao at minus-175, meaning a wager of $175 would only win a hundred bucks.

Pacquiao is eyeing the 40th knockout of his glorious career but said a stoppage will only come if the trash-talking Thurman, who claims to be faster and stronger, decides to go toe to toe.

“I have to grab that possibility to knock him out,” said Pacquiao, still wanting to show the world that he remains an elite fighter.

“That’s going to be interesting. That’s good for me,” he said when asked if he’s ready to engage – if or when Thurman decides to.

“That’s going to be lovely if he fights toe to toe with me. A knockout will come but I’m not saying that I’m going to have a prediction with this fight. I don’t want to be careless,” said Pacquiao.

Thurman is 10 years younger and an inch or two taller. He has 29 wins with 22 knockouts, but is making only his second fight in 22 months following a string of injuries in 2017.

Last January, he returned to action and outpointed fellow American Joselito Lopez in New York to retain his WBA crown. He was far from impressive in that comeback fight.

Former world champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who is here to watch the action, said Pacquiao, despite his age, is not the best choice for Thurman to fight after such a layoff. 

Thurman stressed this week that it’s his title that’s on the line, and not Pacquiao’s WBA “regular” bantamweight title.

“I want him to come after my throne,” said Thurman.

“Get motivated, Manny. I want the best Manny Pacquiao. I want the real deal Manny Pacquiao,” he said here last Tuesday.

Thurman has vowed to stun the world and make Pacquiao retire. He has used stronger words, like “destroying the legend” and “crucifying” the bible-preaching Filipino icon. 

“I’m not angry. Let him talk,” said Pacquiao.

Thurman is nicknamed “One Time,” and told the crowd during Friday’s official weigh-in at the MGM Grand that he’ll come out smiling and victorious on Saturday evening.

“It is my time. This is ‘One Time.’ And still champion by tomorrow night,” he said amid jeers from the predominantly Pacquiao crowd.

Thurman tried to silence Pacquiao fans with the throat slash gesture. It hardly worked as Pacquiao fans kept chanting, “Man-ny! Man-ny!”

In the days leading up to the fight, the WBA “super” welterweight champion said he’s not impressed or intimidated by Pacquiao, the only boxer in the planet to win world titles in eight weight classes.

Thurman said he’s far better than Pacquiao’s most recent foes – Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse, knocked out in seven rounds in Kuala Lumpur in July last year, and American Adrien Broner, outclassed last January.

“Manny Pacquiao’s last fight was b******t. It was not entertaining and he knows it. He was happy with the win but he was not happy as a fighter,” Thurman told fight scribes here.

“I’m not Adrien Broner. I’m not Lucas Mattysse. I’m undefeated for a reason and he’s a legend for a reason. But is his legacy greater than me? I don’t think so,” added the unbeaten boxer.

The MGM Grand, boxing’s epicenter, will host a Pacquiao fight for the 15th time since his US debut in 2001. In this famed arena, Pacquiao is 9-4-1, each fight as memorable as the other – win or lose.

Pacquiao said he will rely on the two great factors that once made him the face of boxing, and may make him as great as he used to be.

“My speed and power,” he said on the eve of the welterweight showdown.

Pacquiao and Thurman both tipped the scales at 146.5 pounds, half a pound under the limit. But experts expect Thurman to climb the ring on Saturday heavier than Pacquiao.

“I’m not worried about the size,” said Pacquiao, who had beaten bigger opponents like Antonio Margarito and Oscar dela Hoya.

“I believe that I’m faster than him,” he added.

At his age (he turns 41 in December), Pacquiao thinks that a victory over Thurman will keep him on top of the sport.

“This fight means a lot – being 40 years old and beating an undefeated boxer. This is one of the most important fights of my career. I want to prove something,” said Pacquiao.

He always finds something to prove inside the ring. – With Reuters

BOXING KEITH THURMAN MANNY PACQUIAO
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