As boxing cools its heels during the COVID-19 shutdown, some fighters are forced to stew over old losses and potential chances for redemption. Former welterweight champ Keith Thurman is one of them.
The 31-year-old Floridian not only lost his WBA 147 lb. title to Manny Pacquiao last July when the two met in a high-profile pay-per-view event, he also ceded his undefeated record. The hotly-contested split decision defeat pushed Thurman out of the spotlight a bit. It also allowed for some time for reflection and re-charging of batteries.
From Prey to Hunter
“I’m ready to get back,” Thurman said during an interview for the AK and Barak show. “I’m a contender again. I think that’s what’s going to bring it out in me. The fact that I have to go GET it, you know? When I was going out to get it…everybody was getting the fire into the stick, you know? The fire’s not the same when you’re the one that’s being the hunted instead of the hunter.
“So, I see everybody in the welterweight division as future prey, and I look forward to manifesting that in a performance in the future.”
Healthy and Ready
Thurman underwent surgery to repair a nagging injury to his left hand following the Pacquiao loss. He blames the injury (and other accumulated injuries), at least in part, for the defeat. The former champ claims that the current forced downtime is doing wonders for his healing. He now sees himself coming into a rematch with the Filipino icon 100% healthy with renewed energy and focus.
“Every day no one is allowed to do anything. It makes me feel like I’m one day closer to my rematch with Manny Pacquiao,” Thurman said during a recent live stream on Premier Boxing Champions’ Instagram account.
“I understood after my hand surgery he was most likely going to step in the ring before I would be prepared to step in the ring, but now we’re both looking at a situation where we both might be prepared to step in the ring at the same time. If that’s the case, I mean, the ball’s in his court.
Thurman “Deserves” the Rematch.
“I just don’t see somebody else really giving him a great fight,” Thurman added. “I also believe I deserve the rematch from being the undefeated welterweight champion at the time.”
Few could argue that Thurman isn’t deserving of the rematch. He was very competitive in the Pacquiao fight and his pre-Pacquiao resume should immediately place him at (or near) the top of contenders for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
It remains to be seen, however, when boxing will get back to business and whether Pacquiao is interested in revisiting this match-up when fights do start being made. There’s also the serious question of whether Pacquiao, at 41 years of age, will even remain an active fighter.
With the shutdown dragging on and the post-COVID recovery workload from his role as Senator in the Philippines growing as time passes, it’s reasonable to believe that fans may have seen the last of Manny Pacquiao.
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