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Pacquiao will teach Thurman a lesson



Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao vowed that the teacher would prevail over the student when he clashes with Keith Thurman for the World Boxing Association welterweight title Sunday morning (Manila time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The 40-year-old fighting senator is climbing the ring with a stellar 70-fight experience, including massive victories over some of the legendary names in the sport like Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto and Oscar de la Hoya, whom he sent to retirement in 2008.

His previous win over Lucas Matthysse of Argentina and Adrian Broner of the United States were quite convincing despite talks that his power and knockout prowess were no longer there.

But against Thurman, an undefeated American 10 years his junior, Pacquiao is tipped to go all out to cement his status as the most feared fighter of this generation.

“Tomorrow night, class is in session,” said Pacquiao through his longtime publicist Fred Steinberg following the official weigh-in where both boxers tipped the scales at 146.5.

Strong statement vowed

But Thurman, who tallied 22 knockouts out of 29 victories, promised to give the “maestro” a neat lesson to send a strong statement that he is the fitting successor to Pacquiao’s throne.
“It is my time,” said Thurman, the reigning “super” welterweight champ as he tries to rule the said division that Pacquiao dominated for a long time.

While Thurman is in the biggest bout of his career, Pacquiao’s late-career resurgence also reaches a vital point.

Despite what his trainer in Freddie Roach claims that Thurman seems certain to be a big step up in competition from Matthysse and Broner, and the cumulative effects of a boxing career rarely wear well after 40.

The Hall of Fame trainer said their level of preparation is in an all-time high starting with workouts in Manila before shifting it to his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood a month before the battle.

Thurman told: Bring your game

“I hope Thurman brings out his best because that’s when Manny will be at his best,” Roach said.

“Thurman is a good fighter, but Manny beats good fighters all the time. And I don’t think Keith Thurman is a great fighter. I think Broner is a better fighter and Manny easily took care of him.”

Still, Thurman couldn’t stop his mouth, calling Pacquiao all kinds of names, including that of a dinosaur that expired millions of years ago.

“Manny isn’t going to do anything with those little T-Rex arms,” Thurman said.

“He’s about to get beat up. I get to punch a senator in the face, and he’s going to feel it.”

Thurman, however, looks a little vulnerable lately as he has stopped just one of his past seven opponents since December 2013.

He has never looked more vulnerable as a professional than he did in his comeback victory last January over tough veteran Josesito Lopez, who rocked Thurman repeatedly and even won a round without a knockdown.

More recently, Thurman has repeatedly spoken about how eager he is to get a few big paydays and then get out of boxing.

Brave words

“I’m going to do to Manny Pacquiao what he did to Oscar De La Hoya,” Thurman said, referring to Pacquiao’s landmark victory.

While Thurman would love to retire his opponent, Pacquiao plans to keep competing indefinitely, and he doesn’t dismiss the notion of fighting to 50 and beyond, similar to what Bernard Hopkins did.

He openly looked beyond Thurman to his hopes of a second fight with the retired Floyd Mayweather, or a unification bout with champion Errol Spence.

But just in case anybody believes he isn’t focused on Thurman, Pacquiao said that even his mother took offense at Thurman’s pre-fight trash talk, including his vow to “crucify” the vocally evangelical Pacquiao.

“I’m just always smiling, no matter what Keith says,” the eight-division champion said.

“It’s easy to say things, but it’s not easy to do it in the ring. I’ve been in this sport longer than Keith Thurman, so my experience will be the difference.”