By Jeff Aranow: Tim Bradley is convinced Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is going to beat Manny Pacquiao next month, and he thinks there’s a chance he could knock him out. Former two division world champion Bradley believes that former eight division world champion Pacquiao’s age will be a factor when he faces the unbeaten WBA Super World welterweight champion Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) next month on July 20 on Fox Sports pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley knows Pacquiao well from having fought him three times over a four-year period, and beaten him once. He thinks the 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) is facing a guy with a little too much youth and ring intelligence in 30-year-old Thurman.
Pacquiao’s age is a concern for Bradley
“It’s a 50-50 fight, man,” said Bradley to Fighthub about the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight. “Pacquiao has the experience and the punching power, and he has the speed. The legs of Manny Pacquiao is what concerns me. The legs. Manny Pacquiao still has quick reflexes, but it’s your legs, man. I saw the compression socks during the Broner fight. I think the youth of Thurman, the younger Thurman [will be too much for Pacquiao].
It’s interesting that Bradley starts off by saying the Pacquiao-Thurman fight is a “50-50 fight,” but then he quickly changes his tune, and says Thurman is going to win. Given that Bradley lost twice to Pacquiao in the past, you have to wonder if he’s still upset about the loss. Some fighters have a difficult time digesting their defeats. They sometimes can’t come to terms with losses, and they hold grudges. Is that what we’re seeing with Bradley?
Boxing fans believe Pacquiao deserved wins in all three of his fights against Bradley, because the first fight between them was a controversial decision victory for Timothy in 2012. Most fans saw that as a ‘W’ for Pacquiao. Whatever the case, it worked out well for Bradley, because their promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing had the excuse he needed to put Pacquiao and Bradley in with each other two more times. By the third fight, it was pointless and tiresome to see Pacquiao beating Bradley yet again.
Bradley: Thurman’s physical skills will cause Manny problems
“He got back in position [with tune-up against Josesito Lopez],” said Bradley. “I think he edges Pacquiao out. He [Thurman] has size, and he has strength. He has good hand speed, and a good fighting style. He’s a great counter puncher, and he has good punching power. He can fight off his back foot, and come forward. He has everything it takes to beat a guy like Manny Pacquiao, who is 41-years-old. Could I be wrong? Yeah, this is Boxing. It’s alright if I’m wrong. Thurman is my pick,” Bradley said.
There’s still a lot of debate out there whether Thurman is fully back after just one tune-up after being out of the ring for two years from 2017 to 2019. Thurman looked faded in his comeback fight against Josesito Lopez last January, and that wasn’t just ring rust that he showed. One Time looked like he had deteriorated in a way that was beyond ring rust, and he’s probably not going to be able to shake that off the way rusty fighters do. Bradley’s correct about Thurman being bigger than Pacquiao, and potentially stronger than him. The age that Thurman displayed against Lopez is going to be impossible for him to shake off unless he can reverse the aging process somehow, because he’s not going to dominate Manny.
Bradley tells Thurman to avoid Manny’s left hand
“If there’s any advice to give Thurman, it’s stay away from his left hand,” said Bradley. “Don’t get hit with the left hand. The tenacity and heart of Manny Pacquiao, it’s no joke. You might think you got him, and he rises. He elevates his game, and takes it to another level. So you’ve got to be ready for that, because he’s never going to stop trying. He’s going to be there all night until you knock him out. Of course, Thurman is not going to be the same [fighter he was two years ago in 2017]. He’s been out for a long time, bro. He suffered injuries. He had his tune-up fight [against Josesito Lopez]. Sometimes it take a fighter to be in a real serious challenge to get up for a fight,” said Bradley.
It’s easier said than done for Bradley to tell Thurman to avoid Pacquiao’s left hand for the entire fight, because Filipino star is too quick for One Time to avoid that shot all fight long. Unless Thurman runs from Manny like he did in the second half of his fight against Lopez, he’s going to get hit with his left, and he could get hurt. Pacquiao is going to be loading up more on his shots against Thurman than he’s done in his recent fights, because he wants to get even with him for all the talking he’s done lately about sending him into retirement. If Pacquiao is able to hurt Thurman the way Lopez did, it’s going to be difficult for Keith to survive.
Thurman will be motivated for this fight says Bradley
“I think Thurman is going to get up for the fight. There’s no doubt,” said Bradley. “He has a chance to beat a legend in the sport, an eight division world champion. He has a chance to beat him, and take all those accolades and put it on his resume. So this is an important fight for him. Plus, if he loses the fight, they’re going to say, ‘Ah, you can’t even beat a 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao as well.’ He’s going to get that backlash as well on top of this. I’m picking Thurman. It’s a 50-50 fight, but I think Thurman has enough, and he’ll figure it out in there. He’s a very, very intelligent fighter, man,” said Bradley.
Bradley thinks that Thurman will be able to raise his game to another level for the Manny fight, because he’s facing a “legend” in Boxing. The Thurman that fans saw against Lopez won’t be there, according to Bradley, due to him being so mentally psyched up for the contest.
Thurman still loves Boxing says Bradley
“He was injured. What are you talking about,” Bradley said when asked whether Thurman still enjoys Boxing. “He loves the sport. He loves to fight. Thurman has some time, and he wanted to be 100%. You’ve got to be 100% when you step into the ring, because if you’re not, it plays tricks on your mind. It takes a full year when you have that type of surgery, elbow surgery, and Thurman took his time with it. Of course, he’s going to come [all the way] back. He had some ring rust. His timing is going to be off. His ability to take a punch is going to be off. His countering is going to be a bit off, because the only time you’re getting better is when you’re in the ring. He didn’t have that for almost two years,” said Bradley.
Many Boxing fans think Thurman could have returned to the ring a lot sooner. He was out of the ring for two years after undergoing elbow surgery following his 12 round split decision win over Danny Garcia in 2017, and a lot of people think he was no motivated to continue fighting. A lot of people think Thurman is now more into enjoying the good life of living with family, eating well, traveling, reading books and playing his flute. Bradley views Thurman as still loving the sport of Boxing, but he couldn’t return sooner to resume his career because of his various injuries. The thing is, only Thurman knows why he stayed out of the ring for two years, and looked poor against Lopez. Bradley is speculating that Thurman still loves the sport, but he doesn’t know. All he can do is guess.
Bradley not sure if Thurman can stop Manny
“I don’t know,” said Bradley when asked if he believes Thurman will knockout Pacquiao. “He has the power. He definitely has the power to hurt him. Manny has slowed down a bit. Thurman is a great counter puncher. He can time you. He can time Manny when he comes in. Thurman has a big enough punch to stand his ground, and let his punches go. He has the confidence and power to let those shots go, wheres [Adrien] Broner didn’t. Broner was a little skeptical. Keith Thurman, he will. He’ll engage, because he knows he has big punching power. He’s got to catch Manny when he’s punching and coming on, and that’s when Manny is going out. He’s got to come and attack. Keith Thurman knows what to do. I think he can pull it off. I really do,” said Bradley.
It’s possible that Thurman could knockout Manny, but it’s equally plausible that Pacquiao could KO him if he hits him with enough shots. Josesito had Thurman hurt after hitting him with a big left hook to the head in the seventh round. He showed that Thurman can be hurt, and he’s vulnerable. If a limited fringe contender like Josesito is able to hurt Thurman, then the chances are high that Pacquiao can do it, and finish him off
Bradley: Thurman is the favorite because of his youth
“He’s the favorite right now? It could be because of his youth,” said Bradley. “You can’t pay for experience. Even though Manny is 41, he’s still dangerous, bro. He’s dangerous for anybody. Don’t get in there with [Errol] Spence. They’re crazy. Spence is way too big, and way too strong too. He’s a southpaw with punching power, and he can fight off the back foot, and fight coming forward. He can destroy you to the body. Come on, bro,” said Bradley.
Thurman is the favorite because he’s younger, bigger, and a stronger fighter than Manny. The Filipino star began his career 24 years ago at light flyweight [108 pounds], and he’s now fighting 9 divisions above that weight class. Thurman has always fought at 147, and he’s shown no desire to move up in weight even one division to fight at 154. It makes sense for the bigger, and younger fighter to be the favorite in the fight.
Bradley talks about Manny’s age
“It’s a concern fighting at old age. It’s like taking a peach, and hitting it on one spot,” Bradley said. “It’s going to soften over time. What happens when a peach ages? It becomes soggy. The same thing similar to that happens to a fighter. Taking all those shots over the years, and then all of a sudden you get hit on the button, and you’re out. Now you’re having issues. I got out of the game young at 33,” said Bradley.
Pacquiao’s former promoter Bob Arum recently mentioned to the news media that he’s worried about him getting hurt by fighting late into his career, but it’s unclear whether he would say that if he was still guiding him. It makes sense for Pacquiao not to fight someone like Errol Spence Jr., but he matches up well against Thurman. That’s a winnable fight for Manny, and he could surprise the Boxing world with a victory.