By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr. expects Keith Thurman to be better against Manny Pacquiao than Thurman was when he fought Josesito Lopez.
If a better version of Pacquiao doesn’t show up than the one that defeated Adrien Broner in his last bout, Spence can’t see the 40-year-old Pacquiao overcoming the unbeaten Thurman. Spence broke down the Pacquiao-Thurman fight during an appearance on “The PBC Podcast,” which was released Tuesday on premierboxingchampions.com.
“It just depends on which Pacquiao shows up and which Keith shows up, I think,” Spence said. “I think Keith will be a lot sharper than he was in his last fight. You know, he had a long layoff and he was just now coming back. And Keith is a lot tougher than a lot of people think he is. I mean, he took a lot of punches that last fight. Even with the Shawn Porter fight, he took a lot of punches, too. So, I mean, the dude, he’s tough. He might be a boxer, but he’s tough and he’s gritty.”
Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) is 10 years younger than Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), but he showed some vulnerability versus Lopez that adds intrigue to their welterweight title fight July 20 in Las Vegas. In the seventh round, Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs, 1 NC) hurt Thurman badly and nearly finished off the heavily favored WBA “super” welterweight champion.
A resilient Thurman recovered, regained control of their 12-rounder and won a majority decision January 26 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
A week earlier in Las Vegas, Pacquiao convincingly beat Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC), whom the Filipino legend hurt in the seventh and ninth rounds on his way to winning a unanimous decision. Nevertheless, Pacquiao’s performance didn’t especially impress Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), the IBF 147-pound champ who’ll oppose Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs), the WBC champ, on an undetermined date in the fall.
“I think [Thurman is] gonna win a split decision or he’s just gonna blow [Pacquiao] out,” Spence said. “It just depends on which Pacquiao comes out and, you know, if he can turn the tables a little bit, and become the Pacquiao of back then, you know. [Then] I think he can win. But if it’s the Pacquiao that fought Broner, I think Keith might edge him and might out-point him, because Keith will get on his bicycle if need be and just move around, and just pot-shot him. So, I think Keith will edge it out.”
Pacquiao and Thurman will headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event two weeks from Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.