WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman is not listening to the critics, who are taking aim at his decision to defend his title against Manny Pacquiao.
Back in January, Thurman snapped a two year layoff to win a much tougher than expected decision over big underdog Josesito Lopez.
In the aftermath of that win, Thurman made it clear that 2019 was a “get-back” year – where he would sharpen his skills with mid-tier opponents. He stated in interviews that champions like Errol Spence and Shawn Porter would have to wait until 2020, at the earliest, to face him in a unification.
Numerous observers, and fighters, frowned at Thurman’s decision to fight Pacquiao, who is 40-years-old and at the tail-end of his career.
Thurman states that every top welterweight – like Spence, Porter and Terence Crawford – were all gunning to land Pacquiao. And he believes that some of them are now upset because he beat them to the big money opportunity.
“I wanted to fight Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather six years ago at the age of 24. I was never presented with the opportunity at that time. I’m presented with the opportunity today. So the opportunity’s not coming tomorrow, it’s here today. I’ve got to take full advantage of it,” Thurman told Boxing News.
“Every welterweight in the welterweight division wanted this fight. They can say whatever they say want to say about this fight but everybody wanted this fight. Errol Spence, Shawn Porter even Terence Crawford would take this fight. Everybody wanted this fight, as long as Manny Pacquiao still wanted to be an active fighter and he wanted to make more exciting fights for the fight fans. I just think this is one of the best match ups of the year and I definitely believe it could be one of the best fights of the year once we start trading.”
It should be noted that Thurman had initially opened up as a solid favorite to win the fight – but the oddsmakers have shifted to the other side, and now Pacquiao is the favorite to win.