By:Dr.Adal M.Hussain,Phd (AKA) Dr.Abbey ,Editor @ Large for World Liberty TV
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Philippine Senator and regular WBA welterweight champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao returns to face undefeated Super WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown live on Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Preceding the pay-per-view is a FOX PBC Fight Night also taking place at MGM Grand that is headlined by undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweet Hands’’ Plant making his first title defense against unbeaten contender Mike Lee.
Possessing speed, power and tremendous boxing skills, Thurman represents the most dangerous challenger that the future Hall of Famer Pacquiao has faced in his recent ring appearances. This high-stakes match will firmly give the winner a claim for the top spot in one of boxing’s deepest and most talented divisions.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by MP Promotions, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now at any MGM Resorts International box office.
“Senator Pacquiao is thrilled to be back in ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ fighting at the best venue for boxing — the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This is where the Pacquiao vs. Thurman world welterweight championship belongs,’’ said Sean Gibbons, President of MP Promotions. “We’re excited to be working with our partners at PBC, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions. Manny is fighting in the biggest fights on a global scale and it doesn’t get any more global than FOX Sports Pay-Per-View. Fans have always enjoyed watching Pacquiao and Thurman compete in the ring and we are confident they will, once again, give boxing fans worldwide everything they’re expecting, and more. God bless Manny and Keith for stepping up to give us this fight!’’
“We’re looking forward to working with our partners in bringing yet another blockbuster back home to MGM Grand here in Las Vegas,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This fight is a tremendous opportunity for both guys in terms of where they are in their respective careers. Pacquiao is currently the biggest name in the sport and Thurman is a young skilled undefeated fighter in the prime of his career, making for a compelling matchup. I know both fighters will be ready for the challenge that lies ahead of them come July 20, and I can’t wait to see this one go off.”
“This will be a sensational matchup between two great fighters and we’re looking forward to hosting this championship event at MGM Grand in July,” said Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports. “Fans have always enjoyed watching Pacquiao and Thurman compete in the ring and we are confident they will, once again, give boxing fans worldwide everything they’re expecting, and more.”
“FOX Sports is thrilled to present our second Premier Boxing Champions Pay-Per-View featuring one of boxing’s biggest stars, Pacquiao, facing the champion Thurman, who wowed nearly three-million viewers live on FOX in January with his latest title defense,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. “This promises to be a can’t miss night of boxing with an unprecedented FOX Sports PBC doubleheader, as we open the evening with the FOX PBC Fight Night, headlined by newly crowned champion Plant defending his title against the undefeated Lee. Plant set the FS1 viewership record for a boxing show in January when he won his title, and we’re sure this match up will deliver even bigger audiences leading into the Pacquiao vs. Thurman Pay-Per-View.”
A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who hails from Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is the only sitting Congressman and Senator to win a world title. After serving two terms as Congressman, Pacquiao was elected to a Philippine Senate seat in May 2016, capturing over 16 million votes nationally. Pacquiao’s boxing resume features victories over at least seven current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
In his last match on January 19, Pacquiao put on a vintage performance against four-division champion Adrien Broner, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision in the 70th match of his illustrious career. It was his first time fighting in the U.S. in two years. Before that, he scored an impressive knockout over Lucas Matthysse to win his version of the WBA welterweight championship in Malaysia last July 15.
“All my life I have confronted challenges — in life, in politics, and inside the ring,” said Pacquiao. “Keith Thurman is the type of challenge I crave as a fighter. He is the biggest and best test. That is why I want to fight him. We are going to give boxing fans an exciting fight and a great night.”
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) is the longest reigning welterweight champion in boxing, having collected his WBA title with a stoppage victory over Diego Chaves in 2013. He has successfully defended that title eight times and became a unified welterweight champion when he defeated Danny Garcia by split decision to win the WBC title. Plagued by a litany of injuries, including bone chips in his right elbow that had to be surgically removed, Thurman was out of action for nearly two years before getting back into the ring with a hard fought victory against Josesito Lopez in January on FOX.
Having taken up the sport when he was in grade school, the Clearwater, Florida native blossomed under the tutelage of his first trainer, Ben Getty, to become an outstanding amateur. Though Getty has passed away, Thurman still carries those boxing and life lessons with him whenever he steps into the ring with his current longtime trainer Dan Birmingham. His power punching earned him the nickname “One Time.’’
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity to get a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,’’ said Thurman. “The right circumstances have aligned for it to happen now and I’m grateful for that. Me and my team are looking forward to it. It’s going to be an honor to be in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. It’s going to be fun to go back to MGM Grand in my first pay-per-view with FOX Sports. I believe that Ben Getty would be very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. He said I’d be able to dominate the welterweight division and be a multi-million-dollar fighter and a star in the sport.
“Manny Pacquiao is beatable. He’s been beaten before in his career. He’s a fan favorite and a legend. For me his boxing tactics are predictable. He fights in spurts and you have to take advantage of that. You have to be respectful of his power. But I believe my movement, athleticism and ring knowledge will be able to present him something he’s not seen in all his years of boxing.’’