You only have “One Time” to press send for publication, and I'd pretty much ran “Out of Time,” Starring Keith Thurman a little longer than I'd wanted to– even though I wanted to install even more information.
Last week, my e-mail account was flooded with queries from Manny Pacquiao fans regarding a potential match-up with Thurman, as he and “Pac-Man” constitute supremacy of the WBA welterweight championship under the promotional banner of Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions. Before Pacquiao reminded us [somewhat] of the fighter who overwhelmed Joshua Clottey way back in March 2010 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys (site of Errol Spence V Mikey Garcia on March 16), I imagined this fight and favored Thurman's youth and activity to mask a few technical deficiencies while eking out a narrow UD.
However, after having seen them both up close in successive weeks, my analysis on that fight has changed.
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“Oh good. I want to fight him. If we don't get Mayweather then Thurman is my second choice. I love him for Pacquiao's style… He's good for us.”
—Freddie Roach, after learning Keith Thurman survived Josesito Lopez to retain his “Super” WBA welterweight title
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On the eve of Pacquiao Vs Broner in Las Vegas, I watched Chris Algieri take on an unheralded Daniel Gonzalez on the undercard of Demetrius Andrade Vs Artur Akavov at MSG's Hulu Theater featured by DAZN. He escaped with a narrow decision victory I'm not sure he deserved. I revisited Chris after watching Keith Thurman the other night, because I think that's who “One-Time” is now, and would be against Pacquiao– who Roach insists was flu-ridden and at about 75% health against AB.
Let's assume that's the case and even things out with Thurman, given his ring rust. In fights dating back to December 2014 against Leonard Bundu, Robert Guerrero, Luis Collazo (a fight that I still don't understand the end of, and I was there), Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and now, Josesito Lopez, Thurman engaged in some sort of epic struggle resulting in great peril. The last three fights being of particular concern, in that they are of the prime robbing variety given how much punishment Thurman sustained while working so hard to dish it out. During this stretch, Thurman was involved in a near fatal car crash and had major surgery on his elbow, largely responsible for his prolonged hiatus. I expected a more nuanced Thurman the other night, instead, what we saw was a lesser version of the athlete that limped to the finish line against DSG to claim a WBC title that now belongs Shawn Porter.
I asked Thurman about the ravages of ring time and ring life, in concert with newlywed status roughly a year old, and how he plans to balance a stated desire to obtain ultimate welterweight supremacy. But he's approaching content and can't hide it.
If Thurman faces Pacquiao next, I saw enough from Pacquiao..
.. to suggest a 12-round thumping along the lines of what a still vintage Pac-Man did to Algieri. They are similar in that no matter what, Thurman won't engage in the pocket for extended periods of the round, or show the temerity it truly takes to tame the most unorthodox southpaw in the history of the sport.
I'd expect Pacquiao to spill a gritty and gutsy Thurman all over the ring en route to a fairly decisive 12 round UD.