World Boxing Association (WBA) World Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39KO’s) and World Boxing Association (WBA) Super World Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22KO’s) met in New York for a press conference to kick off their highly anticipated bout to take place on July 20th. The bout will be presented by Premier Boxing Champions and FOX Sports from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, the only fighter in the history of the sport who has been crowned in eight different weight categories, demolished Lucas Martin Matthysse in July of last year to earn the black and gold belt of the oldest sanctioning body in the world. He has since defended it successfully against Adrien Broner in January of this year.
Pacquiao is super excited for the opportunity, saying “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 successe gives me more motivation to work hard.”
Pacquiao is not taking Thurman lightly, saying “I’ve been careless and over confident in some fights, but this time around it’s different. Keith Thurman is a good fighter and we’re going to make sure the fans are happy on July 20. I chose Keith Thurman because he’s undefeated and I want to prove that at age 40 I can still beat a great fighter like Keith.”
Pacquiao promised action in the fight, while Thurman said that he thought his time is now: “Pacquiao wants a challenge and I’m very grateful to be sharing a ring with a legend. If you understand boxing history, you know that times change. I believe boxing is in a new era. Come July 20, Pacquiao will disappear. He’ll always be remembered in the sport, but I’m doing to Manny Pacquiao, what he did to Oscar De La Hoya.”
Thurman further went on to say that he shook off the rust from his long 22 month layoff, “I had the knockdown in my last fight that was a reminder of what ‘One Time’ is all about. We brushed the dust off and we’re taking that momentum into this fight. Speed, power and overall ring IQ will be the difference. I’m one of the smartest fighters in the sport. I always find a way to win. I know Pacquiao comes in shape, but he’s going to fall short of that finish line.”
The table is set for a great night of boxing for the oldest and most prestigious title in boxing; the WBA belt. President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza was on hand for kicking off the festivities and had his chance at the microphone to tell the world that the WBA is excited and honored to be a part of this huge event, as it was for Pacquiao’s fight this January, with the WBA being involved in the expansion of boxing and all the big events for the good of the sport.