Pac Man returns to action in Las Vegas this weekend and is favourite for another win, but Frank Monkhouse has Thurman bigger than he should be...
"The win over Garcia is a real standout and one that proved Keith is not a man to be taken lightly"
Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman
Live on ITV Box Office
Pac showing no signs of slowing
Manny Pacquaio takes part in what will be his 71st professional contest when taking on American Keith Thurman in a bout to decide the WBA Super world welterweight title. The 40-year-old will step under the lights once again at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas as he continues to defy critics and mix it at the top level of boxing.
It's a privilege to still have Pac Man competing, but how long does he have left? Is he too old and will Thurman send him into retirement? Many have tried and failed in the past. The betting has Pac as favourite to claim win number 62 of his career but there's very little between the pair in what has become a competitive market.
Manny is an inspiration
Manny suffered a points decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jnr at this very venue back in May 2015 with WBA, WBC and WBO world titles on the line. It was the biggest fight of a generation and a win that proved Floyd to be one of the best fighters who ever lived, but it did nothing to dent the confidence of the man in the opposite corner. Pacquiao's determination and self-belief is admired and at a time where a loss is seen as the end of the world for many fighters, Manny has never let defeat damage his love for the game.
He goes into fight night with a record reading 61 wins against seven losses and two defeats. His CV reads like a who's who of modern boxing. The Filipino has won 39 of his bouts by knockout and has been stopped three times himself. He has taken part in numerous world title fights at a list of different weights and, despite his advancing years, is the proud owner of the WBA welterweight strap. A pound-for-pound living legend of the fight game and a man loved by all boxing fans.
Going in search of the hat-trick this weekend, Pacquaio stopped Lucas Matthysse last summer and followed that with a points decision over Adrian Broner in January of this year, a result that won him even more friends. He has achieved all this while acting as a politician and building houses for the poor.
It's impossible not to like Manny Pacquaio. Punters are eager to keep on the right side of him and Betfair Exchange users will get [1.81] on win number 62. The Sportsbook has a KO/TKO at 4/1, the points cheer 6/4.
Thurman unbeaten in 29 fights
Keith Thurman faces the unenviable task of taking on boxing's Mr Popular, but he must ignore the love for his opponent and concentrate on getting the win needed to drive forward his own career. The 30-year-old from Florida goes in with an undefeated record reading 29-0-0 with no less than 22 knockouts already on his card. He'll know Pacquiao is a man to be admired but will also be aware the opponent 10 years his senior is another obstacle in his path to dominating the division.
Thurman has a 73% KO average but has claimed each of his last three wins on the scorecards, getting the better of Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and, most recently, California's Josesito Lopez.
The win over Garcia is a real standout and one that proved Keith is not a man to be taken lightly. He was written off by many that night but upset the odds to grab a split decision victory, the scorecards reading 116-112, 113-115, 115-113. Traders don't appear to have learned their lesson and, again, have been quick to go against the form fighter who has never tasted defeat in a career spanning almost a dozen years.
The Betfair Exchange has the WBA Super world champion available at [2.42] and that's a price that's sure to attract attention. It's certainly good enough to get our vote. Those after a bit more for their stake money - on Thurman being only the fourth man to stop Pacquiao, first since Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
Back Thurman to win at [2.44] (Betfair Exchange)