Las Vegas – Headline says “no-nonsense”. That said, Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0) is cashing out against Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (61-7-2).
Thurman has said a lot of things, from hurling insults to singing Pacquiao’s praises all in the same sentence. Nonsense. When I say Thurman is cashing out, I don’t mean him cashing out on the checks he’s written by virtue of his verbal threats and retirement plans for his elderly opponent.
Let me explain.
I’ve been observing, listening, scoping out the scene and the more intel and info I’ve gotten and the longer I’ve deliberated and digested the information I’ve gathered, the clearer the picture looks.
I don’t believe Thurman has the goods right now to truly retire Pacquiao. Thurman wants to believe he does, but when he starts rolling out his explanations after the fight, he will believe it, too. He may be hoping Pacquiao no longer got the goods, but as far as what this fight is truly all about for him, it’s all about them benjamins.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Thurman has no chance or that he’s not going to try and beat Pacquiao. In fact, I do believe he will try to knock Pacquiao out. Does that mean he will go to war with Pacquiao? No. I think he will set up traps and go for the kill, but ultimately he’ll be moving his feet rather than go to war with Pacquiao like he has stated.
The reality of the matter though is that Thurman isn’t the same beast he used to be prior to his long layoff after beating Danny Garcia back in March 4, 2017. Not only did Thurman take time off to go under the knife to address injuries on his right elbow and some nagging hand injuries, he also made the most out of it and got married and enjoyed a nice long vacation exploring the world and the finer things in life.
What I’m getting at is that I don’t see the same fire in Thurman. It’s easy to act, talk and yell, but as far as that true hunger and burning desire to truly get up for a challenge like this, I simply don’t see and believe Thurman has the goods to get it done. At least not at this specific point in time.
Yes, everybody gets up for a Manny Pacquiao showdown. Why wouldn’t Thurman? This will be the biggest fight of his career and may very well define his overall legacy. But reports from my trusted sources inside his camp haven’t been encouraging for the Clearwater, Florida native. The way Thurman has been training appears more as if he’s being cautious not to re-injure himself, while Pacquiao has been going after it in camp with clear focus and added motivation. Rumors of Thurman having to take cortisone shots and how he’s been pulling back on his punches in training don’t help his case either.
Thurman’s performance against Josesito Lopez a week after Pacquiao dominated Adrien Broner last January suggests that his best years could be behind him. His performance on July 20 against Pacquiao will either solidify or debunk that theory. I personally believe Thurman’s injuries aren’t behind him and his mindset isn’t what it used to be now that he’s a married man with a little bit more money in his pockets and has tasted that better quality of life while he was on his temporary hiatus.
I don’t know what will happen to Thurman’s career after the 20th. Maybe a loss to Pacquiao will reignite that fire in his belly or maybe it expedites his sports commentating endeavors, who knows? But against a determined, focused and well-trained Pacquiao, who incidentally weighed in the heaviest he has in a while at 146.5 pounds, Thurman needs a lot more than mind games and trash talk. All that accomplishes is help sell more tickets and pay-per-view buys.