Is Keith Thurman ready for his moment?
The difference lies in what awaits Thurman should he pull off a victory. He’ll most certainly be regarded as a top welterweight primed for a potential mega fight against the Ring Magazine’s top rated welterweight, Errol Spence Jr. He’ll also go down in history as the guy who ended the career of one of the most impactful fighters of the last decade — much like Pacquiao did when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya by TKO in December of 2008.
Will the pressure be to much for Thurman?
It’s a fair question.
Many people have said they’ll defeat Pacquiao, have their moment and become the legend they’ve been working to be. Many have failed; baffled by the footwork, deceptive speed and awkward angles that Pacquiao has used to win title after title and collect multi-million dollar purses.
The experience edge clearly goes to Pacquiao. He’s used to headlining pay per view fights and captivating worldwide attention across 12 rounds. Thurman, although he’s had many high-profile fights — including a CBS prime time victory over Danny Garcia — is new to fighting at the most elite level of the sport. Add in a fight that could have a tremendous impact to his career, and the pressure is even greater.
Thurman (29-0 22 KOs), does have the power and the speed to beat Manny Pacquiao and would be wise to pressure him throughout the fight, keeping his legs continually moving and not allowing him to think. Make him feel 40, no matter how much he believes his age will have no effect.
However, if Thurman spends too much time trying to figure Pacquiao out by trying to counter punch or hoping to win with one big punch, Pacquiao will do what he’s done to many fighters before; earn another victory in a career that will undoubtedly earn him Hall-of-Fame honors when he hangs up the gloves.
While hand injuries could plague either fighter at any point, Thurman missed much of 2018 allowing a deep bruise on his left hand to heal. If he ups his work rate throughout the fight, an injury could reoccur. It’s a risk he needs to take, but he would be wise to pick his punches carefully and maybe rely more on his right hand, even if that means throwing right-hand leads to allow his left hand to rest.
I believe Thurman can and will win. He can’t, however, achieve his goal by banking on one punch to do so. Although his nickname is “one time” and Thurman has showcased that type of power before, he’ll likely need to put in heavier work against Pacquiao to get the victory on Saturday night.
It’s important he seizes his moment, because sometimes, people only get one time to achieve greatness.