Manny Pacquiao joined American Keith Thurman in New York City to kick off the press tour for their world welterweight title fight. | AJPress photo byMomar G. Visaya

Philippine Sen. Manny Pacquiao will be fighting against undefeated welterweight champion Keith Thurman who is promising to end Pacman’s boxing career when they meet on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“I have always wanted to fight the greatest names in boxing. I am very grateful, very happy to be sharing the ring with a legend like Manny Pacquiao. Floyd is gone, Pacquiao is here. Come July 20th, he will disappear,” Keith Thurman said, pointing at Pacquiao a few feet away on stage at the kickoff news conference on Tuesday, May 21 in New York. “You announced him as a senator, he belongs as a senator, in the Philippines.”

“He will always be remembered as a legend in the sport but I am doing to Manny Pacquiao what he did to Oscar de la Hoya. Oscar de la Hoya never fought again. Facts. You are not gonna want to miss this fight, especially because it’s about to be this man’s last fight,” he added.

AJPress photo by Momar G. Visaya

The 40-year-old Pacquiao just smiled and said later that he does not resort to trash talking, but he guaranteed that fans will have a great time watching their July 20 Las Vegas match. He is 10 years older than Thurman who is coming from a 22-month layoff because of his bouts with an injury.

“I’ve been boxing for two decades and I’m never scared or intimidated. I am so excited for this fight because I am fighting with somebody who is undefeated,” Pacquiao said, responding to Thurman’s threat of sending him to retirement.

“Keith Thurman is the kind of fighter you can’t underestimate. He’s undefeated and this gives me more encouragement and motivation to work hard like what I did before in my biggest fights against big names in boxing. I will not predict this fight but I will make sure I am 100 percent conditioned and ready for the fight. Let’s see who’s tougher in the ring on July 20. This is going to be exciting,” he added.

Asked why he chose Thurman over other viable opponents, Pacquiao said, “because he’s undefeated and I want to prove that at the age of 40, I can still beat undefeated fighters.”

The senator from the Philippines is a slight underdog in this match, a position Pacquiao is in for the first time since his much talked about 2015 match against Floyd Mayweather.

 “I like it that I am the underdog for this fight. This gives me more motivation to work hard in training and it’s fun,” he said.

This is Pacquiao’s second fight in 2019. Early this year, he beat former four-division titlist Adrien Broner, also at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

His undefeated opponent in July said that he is excited to show Pacquiao where the exit is. 

“I’ve never lost to a fighter who’s lost seven times. I have no intentions of losing to Manny Pacquiao. I don’t see him winning any way, shape or form… He’s 40, I’m 30. I want to show him that this ain’t Adrien Broner. My ‘AB’ is I be ‘about business,’” Thurman said.

As the presser closed, Pacquiao said he is undeterred by what Thurman has been saying, adding that he is looking forward to a great match instead and that he is not ready to retire just yet.

AJPress photo by Momar G. Visaya

“My story is 40 years in the making. My time is not yet over. My journey will continue,” Pacquiao said. “I’m not ready to look back. I’m still looking forward.”

Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, president of the World Boxing Association welcomed the media to the kickoff press conference at Gotham Hall in New York to announce the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight.

“We have a future Hall-of-Famer and a legend in the making in this great fight, they are ranked as the top welterweights in the world, number 1 and number 2. This is what the fans want, a big fight. Both fighters have extraordinary lives outside of the ring. It’s going to be a dream match,” he said.

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