LOS ANGELES — During the kick-off, cross-country press tour to promote their fight on July 20, Keith Thurman mentioned Manny Pacquiao, Tupac, and a bunny rabbit in the same breath this week.

Fighting twice for the first time in four years, Thurman, who holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight world title, said he is looking forward to trading punches with a legend like the 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao. However, all Manny Pacquiao does in the ring is jump around like an animal.

“All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I’m not going to lose to a bunny rabbit. He’s not Tupac, but he does a little hip hop and he’s not going to stop until he gets dropped.”

– Keith Thurman

Pacquiao, who has previously stated that he likes to fight during the June and July months because of his time off at [the filipino] Congress, cracked a chuckle during Thurman’s (29-0, 22 KOs) time at the Los Angeles podium. This will be Thurman’s fifth time fighting in the city of Las Vegas during his career, while Pacquiao will enter the ring on July 20 for the 21st time in Las Vegas.

Both fighters are coming off recent victories this past January. Ironically, each of their respective bouts were only a week apart which could have been an indication at their future matchup. Thurman, 30, had to dust off his ring-rust as he battled for a hard majority decision win over Josesito Lopez at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In contrast, Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, easily outpointed Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs) to a unanimous decision from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Manny Pacquiao
Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao speaks to the press during the Los Angeles press tour stop to promote his bout against Keith Thurman on July 20. Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions

“We will work hard in training camp like always for this fight. We’re not going to take Keith Thurman lightly or underestimate him. He’s a world champion. I’m thankful for what he’s been saying because it’s giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old. I feel 29.”

– Manny Pacquiao

Thurman will be putting his WBA super world welterweight title on the line against, arguably, his toughest test to date. Just over ten years ago, Pacquiao sent Oscar De La Hoya into retirement and now, ten years later in 2019, Thurman is looking to do the same to Pacquiao. However, the longtime trainer of Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, expects an utterly different result this upcoming July in Las Vegas, and let Thurman know directly to his face.

“We got Keith Thurman in front of us in this fight, and I’ve been studying a lot of tapes on him and so forth, and we’re going to come up with a great game plan. And, we’re going to destroy you (Thurman). Sorry.”

– Freddie Roach

Feature photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions

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