WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman 29-0 (22) has spoken candidly about his almost two-years away from the ring due to injury.
The 30-year-old from Clearwater, Florida is set to face Manny Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday night.
“I didn’t do a lot of talking in my inactivity because I like to talk positive,” Thurman said to Fightnews of his time on the sidelines.
“I like to talk action. Being an inactive fighter, to me, there’s not a lot to talk about. What am I going to talk about, my struggle, or am I going to talk about my depression, my sadness? What am I going to talk about?
“It’s human nature that not every day is going to be our best day and for me my thought process started to get a little morbid. I started having to ask myself the question, ‘Are you ever going to fight again. Is your career over at the age of 28, 29 years old? Are you done? Is that all that you will ever accomplish in your career?’
“It was sad, but I could still be proud about being a two-time world champion unifying the WBA with the WBC when I defeated world champion Danny Garcia, who was undefeated. But I was still in my prime so it was quite depressing to start thinking like that and obviously I got myself out of that chain of thought and getting into the gym also helps because as you’re not training, you’re not feeling good either.”
Thurman, who struggled at time in his return to the ring against Josesito Lopez in January, says he has long been chasing a fight with Pacquiao.
“I wanted this fight six years ago, at the MGM Grand,” Thurman said. “I always thought it would be a beautiful fight. I always wear red, white and blue. I never change my colors. When Keith Thurman is in the ring, he is living out his American Dream. I’m fighting a legend. It’s as if I’m fighting Sugar Ray Robinson. It’s like I’m fighting Roberto Duran.”
The key to defeating Pacquiao, according to Thurman, is to present a moving target.
“Movement will make it difficult for a fighter like Pacquiao to have the output he wants to have,” said Thurman. “If I feel like he’s getting off too much, maybe I will increase the movement.
“At the end of day, I’m gonna do to him what I did to Danny Garcia: I’m gonna hit him as soon as I can hit him.”
Pacquiao, 40, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars from the fight game, continues to box on for the love of the sport. It’s not a position Thurman can see himself in a decade down the track.
“I’m going to do my best to not take too many shots come July 20th. A few more of these paychecks and we won’t be here when we’re 40 years old,” Thurman said.
“I don’t need $100 million in life. I just need a little bit of moolah.”