Mike Coppinger reports that talks taking place for a Manny Pacquiao vs Keith "One Time" Thurman bout are at an advanced stage with a possible date of July 13th in the mix.
Due to the fact that Thurman had a tougher time than expected in his first bout back after elbow surgery against Josesito Lopez in January, and that Pacquiao looked in the best form he has shown in years against Adrien Broner a week earlier, this is a 50/50 fight for me.
In many fans eyes, Errol Spence Jr rose to the top of the 147lb list with his excellent win over the previously unbeaten Mickey Garcia, so Thurman vs Pacquiao is theoretically for the No 2 spot at Welterweight.
As a spectacle, I think this will be a better fight for the fans than Spence Jr and Garcia. Pacquiao fought at a great pace against Broner for the entire 12 rounds, so Thurman will need to be in the form of his career to move and counter for 36 minutes against the Filipino congressman.
Thurman has 22 stoppages in his 29 wins but in his last 7 bouts, he has won 5 by decision and 2 by retirement. If he doesn't find power shots that can slow down Pacquiao's advance he could find himself running out of gas in the later stages of the fight.
Pacquiao has stated that 2019 will be the last year of his boxing career, so he will be choosing the fights that he believes he can win, and that will give him the most prestige. Thurman fits the bill perfectly. Until Spence Jr's rise in popularity with the fans, Thurman had become the clear No 1 at 147lbs with his wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Pacquiao will be back at the top of the Welterweight pack with Spence Jr at age 40 years.
What the Lopez fight did show was that Thurman retains the will to win and toughness that he displayed earlier in his career when badly hurt by Luis Collazo. Lopez clearly had Thurman on Queer Street in the 7th round, a fact that Thurman acknowledged in his post-fight interview.
Thurman will have removed a few of the cobwebs caused by the 2-year layoff, so we will expect him to be back to his best. The elbow didn't appear to be a factor in his performance but only he can really know that for sure.
If this fight is confirmed, then I think it could be a fight of the year candidate. There will be no shortage of action, there very rarely is in Pacquiao fights.