MANILA, Philippines – It may be a diversion, but Manny Pacquiao just gave Keith Thurman a blueprint of his strategy for their World Boxing Association welterweight title duel on Saturday, July 20 (Sunday, July 21, Philippine time) at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Without hesitation, Pacquiao blurted out the things he must do and avoid to include Thurman’s WBA 147-pound “super” crown to his “regular” title. They were generalizations, of course.
“Volume punching,” said Pacquiao, during the press conference at Gotham Hall in Manhattan, New York on Tuesday, May 21 (Wednesday, May 22, Philippine time). “Speed and footwork. Avoid punches, don’t get hit. Side to side. Move in and out.”
Still, it paints an accurate picture of what Pacquiao normally does in the canvas.
They were in full display in his 12-round domination of four-division world champion Adrien Broner in January, also at MGM Grand.
They were also deployed in a seventh-round knockout, his first in 9 years, of former world champion Lucas Matthysse last year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Speed is a given for Pacquiao, who at 40 still catches opponents off-guard with his punches thrown at weird angles and his darting movements.
What Pacquiao did not mention is the intangible factor, the power behind the punches.
Despite Thurman’s imposing 22 knockouts in 29 straight wins, Pacquiao (61-7-2, 29 KOs) believes he has the edge over his taller, bigger, younger foe in this aspect.
As most of his notable opponents would attest, they all hurt.
Admitting Thurman is a dangerous opponent, Pacquiao said he will train hard to prove that at his age, he can still beat an undefeated fighter in the same manner that he disposed of Oscar De La Hoya, then the face of boxing, in 2008.
That he was tagged the underdog also fuels Pacquiao’s desire to add another page to his boxing legacy.
Thurman doesn’t scare Pacquiao at all.
Fact is, Pacquiao promised to unleash the warrior in him and show Thurman what it’s like to be in the ring with him on July 20.