By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Manny Pacquiao suspects his detractors don’t believe victories over Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner proved that the aged legend still can thrive at boxing’s elite level.
Pacquiao beat up Matthysse, dropped him three times and stopped the Argentine knockout artist in the seventh round of their July 15 fight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Pacquiao’s critics considered that a diminished Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC), who retired after Pacquiao beat him.
The Filipino icon’s subsequent win over Broner also was thorough, as Pacquiao buzzed Broner in the seventh and ninth rounds on his way to a comfortable points win January 19 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Cincinnati’s Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) was 0-1-1 in his two bouts before Pacquiao out-pointed him, though.
The 40-year-old Pacquiao figures he’ll get more credit if he can beat undefeated Keith Thurman in their welterweight title fight July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Thurman, of Clearwater, Florida, is a slight favorite over Pacquiao two months before their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event. He also is commonly considered Pacquiao’s most formidable opponent since Floyd Mayweather beat Pacquiao by unanimous decision in May 2015.
“I think after this fight everybody will be satisfied and convinced that Manny Pacquiao is still there,” Pacquiao told BoxingScene.com following a press conference in Manhattan. “Keith Thurman is different than Adrien Broner. Thurman is a fighter who’s aggressive, and he’s undefeated.”
Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) is 10 years younger than Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), but Pacquiao doesn’t think age will be a factor when they fight for Thurman’s WBA “super” welterweight title.
“I showed them that at the age of 40 I can still fight,” Pacquiao said. “That’s the message. Forty years old, for me, is still young. It’s not old. Because it just so happened that when you have the belt at age 35, you become lazy and your work is not the same as when you are young. But me, as a person, it’s different. I love working out, I love exercise and even at the age of 40, I don’t feel like 40. They think 40 is old. No, for me, 40 isn’t old.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.