Premier Boxing Champions have finally announced the Welterweight matchup that boxing fans have been waiting for, Senator Manny Pacquiao will unify the WBA 147lb titles with Keith "One Time" Thurman on July 20th at a venue still to be finalised.
If this match had been announced 2 years ago it would not have been met with the anticipation that it has now. Pacquiao looked close the end of his days as a world-class boxer and it seemed that his Senatorial duties were too much to balance with the rigours of training.
Manny's controversial loss in Brisbane to Aussie Jeff Horn suggested a deterioration in the Filipino's abilities, Horn would not have competed with the same degree of success had Pacquiao showed the form he displayed in subsequent performances against Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner.
Thurman was flying high around the same time as Pacquiao's slump. He had just beaten Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia in high-quality bouts that put him at the top of the welterweight rankings. A 2-year layoff following surgery to an injured elbow allowed the opposition to regroup and take advantage of the champions inactivity.
When Thurman did come back in January he struggled with tough contender Josesito Lopez, coming away with a majority decision win that must have encouraged the other top fighters at 147lb.
With Thurman lacking his best form and Pacquiao's recent return to his, this is an intriguing contest. The Filipino 8 division world champion is never in a bad fight, his speed and aggressive come-forward style has always been appreciated by boxing fans. Even at 40-years-old, the announcement of a Pacquiao fight still excites those that love all action boxing.
Thurman at his best is a tough proposition for anyone in the division but, can he resurrect the form that was just too much for Porter and Garcia? Because the Pacquiao that outhustled the 29-year-old Adrien "The Problem" Broner for the entire 12 rounds in January won't be turned back by anything less.