Former World Boxing Council welterweight champion Keith Thurman is locked in to face legendary Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao on July 20. "One Time" was forced to vacate his WBC title in April 2018 after multiple injuries (elbow bone spurs and left-hand bone bruise) left him unable to defend the strap.
Now on the mend and coming off of a majority decision victory over Josesito Lopez in January, Thurman is eager to show the boxing world that he is once again a legitimate threat at welterweight.
The undefeated World Boxing Association welterweight champion spoke to Marcos Villegas of FightHubTV and explained how the challenges he faced during his nearly two-year layoff from boxing are affecting him now.
"You know, it's really hard to say because the two years of inactivity," said the 30-year-old boxer. "I lost the feeling of what it felt like to be a fighter, you know. At the end of the day, boxing is not new to me, but that's why we're in here working, and I just want to be the best that I can be. You know, 12-round championship boxing is no easy task. My last fight I was able to move around a lot. I know I always have my feet behind me, but because Pacquiao is the smaller guy, I would like to be able to push him backward."
Thurman (29-0) understands what's at stake as he prepares to take on one of the biggest names in boxing history, and he's been tailoring his sparring sessions to curate as many advantages as possible.
"That's why you saw today me moving forward sometimes, getting into my sparring partner's chest. A lot of times I've come accustomed to fighting on the outside, using range, using distance, letting people make mistakes. But now I say, 'you know, this has just gotta be a great fight.' I want a great fight. I wanna get him on the inside and the outside, so we're trying to prepare for that."
Thurman meets Pacquiao in a Fox pay-per-view main event on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
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