By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman senses Manny Pacquiao’s polite nature is keeping him from speaking his mind.
The unbeaten WBA “super” welterweight champion is sure his trash talk has gotten under Pacquiao’s skin since they began promoting their fight a couple months ago. Pacquiao kept from saying anything out of character again when they sat across a table from one another for FOX Sports’ “Face to Face” segment, hosted by Brian Campbell.
“Deep down, Manny Pacquiao’s saying, ‘I’m gonna f*** you up,’ ” Thurman said. “But he doesn’t wanna say it. Deep down, he’s saying, ‘I’m gonna knock you out, too.’ But he doesn’t wanna say it. But at the end of the day, I believe that the hourglass is almost finished. He doesn’t have much left. Go play basketball, Manny. You say you like to play basketball every day. Go shoot hoops with the guys, man.”
Pacquiao listened intently as Thurman spoke, but didn’t really respond.
“Well, I keep my mouth shut and let him talk,” Pacquiao said. “Let my fists talk in the ring.”
Thurman promised Pacquiao that their 12-round, 147-pound championship match July 20 in Las Vegas won’t be nearly as easy his last two fights.
Pacquiao dropped Lucas Matthysse three times on his way to a seventh-round knockout last July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Six months later, the Filipino southpaw soundly defeated Adrien Broner on points in their 12-rounder in Las Vegas.
“What I’m looking forward to is how badly Manny backs up the few words that he says, which is that he wants it to be exciting, he wants to trade, he wants to exchange,” Thurman said. “But in that last fight, when they said to him, ‘Manny, how do you feel?’ He said, ‘I feel good.’ In my head, at home, I said, ‘Man, he felt good because he didn’t get punched in the face. He felt good because he didn’t get hit in the body.’ How good is he gonna feel after 12 rounds of boxing with your man right here, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman?”
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, and the 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event July 20 from MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.