By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Keith Thurman unquestionably is headed toward the biggest fight of his 11-year pro career.
When the unbeaten WBA “super” welterweight champion meets Manny Pacquiao on July 20, he’ll encounter one of the most iconic boxers of this generation. The 40-year-old Pacquiao has headlined numerous pay-per-view shows, has made hundreds of millions of dollars and participated in the most lucrative event in boxing history – his unanimous-decision defeat to Floyd Mayweather in May 2015.
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), who’ll take part in his first pay-per-view main event, still doesn’t feel like he is the proverbial ‘B’ side of this promotion.
Thurman replied incredulously when he was asked after a recent press conference in Manhattan if he feels defeating the Philippines’ Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will make him the ‘A’ side of his next pay-per-view fight, perhaps a long-awaited showdown with Errol Spence Jr.
“There ain’t no ‘I’m on the B side,’ ” Thurman said. “How am I on the B side? That’s just advertisement purposes, playa. You know what I mean? When I fought Danny Garcia, we had it both sides. You had Thurman versus Garcia and Garcia versus Thurman. Why? Because it’s both champions. You know what I mean? I’m not gonna argue over the petty things. That’s petty, boy. That’s petty.
“You wanna come out first, you wanna come out second – that’s petty. You know what I mean? So, like Manny Pacquiao, to him trash talk is petty because he wanna fight. Announcing who’s this and banners that, that’s petty to me, too, because I already know I’m gonna win.”
Pacquiao’s name appears first on all the promotional materials for their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View fight July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
When Thurman and Garcia fought in March 2017, Thurman’s name appeared first on some promotional materials and second on others. That bout, which Thurman won by split decision, drew a peak audience of 5,100,000 on CBS.
Thurman’s previous fight on network television was watched by a peak of 3,940,00 viewers. CBS also televised that bout, a unanimous-decision win over Shawn Porter in June 2016.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.