ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Keith “One Time” Thurman’s victories have always been the center of conversation. Even with nine championship fights and eight title defenses already under his belt, his Saturday, July 20 fight against Manny Pacquaio could prove to be the most significant, as he steps onto boxing’s biggest stage looking to capture a momentous victory.
Pacquiao vs. Thurman will pit the undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Thurman against boxing’s only eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The FOX pay-per-view begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and tickets for the event, which is promoted by MP Promotions, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office.
Coming off a majority decision over Josesito Lopez that ended a 22-month ring absence in January, Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), 30, had won a close unanimous decision over former title holder “Showtime” Shawn Porter in June 2016 and a split-decision over two-division title winner Danny “Swift” Garcia in March 2017, adding Garcia’s WBC crown to his WBA version, before he vacated the WBC title due to injury.
Thurman broke down all of his title performances in anticipation of the fight that could cement his place amongst boxing’s best of this era.
KO 10 Diego Chaves, July 27, 2013, AT&T Center, San Antonio: The 24-year-old Thurman came off a near-shutout unanimous decision over former champion Jan Zaveck in March 2013 and faced an unbeaten Argentine interim WBA champion who was after his fifth consecutive stoppage win and had knocked out 18 of 22 opponents.
Thurman traded early power shots, controlled tempo with his athleticism and boxing ability and floored Chaves with a ninth round left hook to the liver before dropping him for the final time with a right hand in the 10th round. Chaves failed to beat the count as Thurman became a 147-pound titleholder.
“The Diego Chaves fight was the biggest fight of my career, elevating me to the WBA interim champion,” said Thurman. “I broke him down round by round and landed a beautiful body shot in the ninth round and after that it was a matter of time. That was a fight that earned me worldwide respect and was the start of everything for me.”
TKO 9 Jesus Soto Karass, December 14, 2013, Alamodome, San Antonio: Soto Karass’ previous victory was a 12th-round stoppage of two-time belt holder Andre Berto in a fight that saw him rise from an 11th-round knockdown. Hurt by a hard right in the first round, Thurman recovered, flooring Soto Karass with a left uppercut in the fifth and again from a powerful combination in the ninth as the referee ended matters.
“Soto Karass was coming off a victory over Andre Berto which made it an important measuring stick fight for me,” said Thurman, “He did open the fight by tagging me in the first round, but I dropped him in the fifth and again in the ninth and was able to finish him off for my first title defense.”
RTD 3 Julio Diaz, April 26, 2014, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif: In a one-sided beat-down, former champion Diaz took a knee from a left to the temple the second round and retired prior to the fourth from a body shot that caused rib damage. Diaz never fought again.
“That was a tremendous fight for me as the headliner in my first main event,” said Thurman. “Diaz was coming off of good showings against Shawn Porter, fighting Porter to a draw once, and Amir Khan, whom he dropped in their fight. I also had the opportunity to make a statement. I did that by stopping him in only three rounds.”
UD 12 Leonard Bundu, December 13, 2014, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas: A previously unbeaten 40-year-old switch-hitting veteran, Bundu (31-1-2, 11 KO) was dropped by a first-round right hand in a shutout victory (120-107 three times) for Thurman who ended an eight-month ring absence and was recovering from an injured left shoulder.
“Bundu was a switch-hitting awkward fighter. I switched [to southpaw] on him in the first round and dropped him with a right hand,” said Thurman. “I out boxed him and really gave the world a taste of how good of a boxer I am. It was an easy blowout.”
UD 12 Robert Guerrero, March 7, 2015, the MGM Grand Grand Garden Arena: Thurman entered this bout after having been elevated to the full champion before facing Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs), a two-division title winner. He overcame a grotesque hematoma above his left eye from an accidental clash of heads, dropped “The Ghost” in the ninth-round, and lost a combined four rounds in PBC’s first ever main event.
“Guerrero had fought Floyd Mayweather and I was happy to have a common opponent with Floyd, so that I could prove to the world that I deserved a shot at Mayweather,” said Thurman. “I had to overcome that adversity of having that hematoma by knocking him down in the ninth round. That fight really raised my stock to another level.”
RTD 7 Luis Collazo, July 11, 2015, USF Sundome, Tampa: Thurman overcame a crippling left hand to the liver in the fifth round to become only the man to stop Collazo, a former champion who had gone the distance in losses to Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto and Amir Khan. In a homecoming fight, Thurman opened a deep gash over Collazo’s right eye with his own left hook, eventually resulting in the southpaw’s retiring on his stool after the seventh round.
“I was able to survive that body shot to perform in the next round. The fight was taking its toll on him though. I was becoming more comfortable and accurate as I physically broke him down,” said Thurman. “The arena was electric, and the love was amazing. It was a great homecoming to defend my world title near where I grew up in Clearwater, Florida.”
UD 12 Shawn Porter, June 25, 2016, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York: Thurman overcame a bullish former champion in Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) before an electric crowd, winning a give-and-take, blood-and-guts brawl by scores of 115-113, on all three judges’ cards. Highlights were Thurman’s clean right hand-left hook combination that buckled Porter’s knees late in the third round, a 10th-round left hook that did the same, and an even more vicious head-swiveling hook in Round 11 of a Fight of The Year standout from 2016.
“Our fight was tough, back and forth, but by no means was Shawn Porter going to take my title,” said Thurman. “I pushed myself over the final rounds to make sure I’d be victorious in what was one of the ‘Fight of The Year’ contenders that year. That fight proved to everyone that I can win any type of fight, against any type of fighter.”
SD 12 Danny Garcia, March 4, 2017, Barclays Center: Thurman won a clash of 28-year-olds over the then unbeaten Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs), along with the WBC’s crown in just the 10th title unification in division history and only the third between a pair of unbeaten fighters. The crowd of 16,533 represented the highest attended boxing match at Barclays Center to date. Thurman’s movement disrupted the timing of Garcia, a Philadelphia-based fighter who was a unified champion at 140-pounds.
“This was two undefeated welterweights going toe-to-toe in the prime of their careers. Danny Garcia’s a sharp puncher who won the WBC’s vacant title that Floyd Mayweather gave up for retirement,” said Thurman. “But after beating Shawn Porter, I knew Danny would be an easy fight. This was my first chance to beat an undefeated world champion, and I came out swinging on him in round one to make a statement that his world title was about to be mine.”
MD 12 Josesito Lopez, January 26, 2019, Barclays Center: Thurman ended an injury-hampered 22-month ring absence against Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs), scoring a second-round knockdown with a left hook, being hurt by a right hand in the seventh, and using his mobility and athleticism down the stretch for the victory.
“I was really nervous about making weight after walking around at 182 for the past two years,” said Thurman. “But even though I got hit and hurt in the seventh round, I knew my boxing ability would get me through. It was a relief to make it through that fight feeling strong and healthy and I’ve taken those feelings right into this training camp.”
Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), July 20, 2019, the MGM Grand Garden Arena: The 40-year-old Pacquiao has earned back-to-back victories over former champions by seventh-round TKO over Lucas Matthysse (July 2018) and unanimous decision Adrien Broner (January).
“Does Manny belong in the ring with a fighter in his prime? Is Keith Thurman still Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman after some vulnerability against Josesito Lopez?” said Thurman, rhetorically speaking. “Of course, I’d like to get the knockout or TKO, but either way, you’re going to see a world class performance that has me standing alone on top of a division that has so many great fighters. I’m trying to be that great, devastating champion once again, and come July 20, I will prove that I am.”