Filipino superstar Manny ‘Pac Man’ Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39) has announced his next fight will be against WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman 29-0 (22) on July 20.
The undefeated American from Clearwater, Florida has been cruelled by injuries in recent years, fighting just three times in almost four years. In his last fight in January – his first in almost two years – Thurman was held to a majority decision by journeyman Joselito Lopez.
“Don’t be fooled by how Thurman looked against Lopez. He was simply coming back from injuries,” Pacquiao manager Sean Gibbons told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
“We know the fighter Keith Thurman is, and this speaks to the greatness of the senator from the Philippines (Pacquiao) and his willingness to fight the best out there.
“Before Thurman was ever hurt, he was considered the best welterweight out there.”
The 40-year-old Pacquaio has only been marginally more active since his 12-round decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr four years ago, fighting just five times himself. In July last year southpaw Pacquiao bounced back from his points decision loss to Australian Jeff Horn to defeat Lucas Matthysse for a secondary title that he defended against former beltholder Adrien Broner in January.
Thurman, 30, has some impressive names on his ledger, including victories over former world champions Danny Garcia, Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter and Robert Guerrero.
The Thurman-Pacquiao bout is expected to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada and will feature undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant 18-0 (10) defending his title against Mike Lee 21-0 (11) on the undercard.