Undefeated WBA super-welterweight champion Keith Thurman believes beating Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on Saturday will further his legacy.
The hard-punching American, 30, is looking for a 30th win – and a 23rd by knockout.
Filipino Pacquiao, 40, has held world titles at multiple weights and will fight for the 71st time.
“Manny isn’t going to do anything,” Thurman said. “With the little ‘T-Rex’ arms. He’s about to get beat up.”
He added: “I do need the victory to further my own personal legacy come Saturday night.”
- Are you quicker than a pro boxer?
- New British heavyweight champion could be ‘something special’
- Costello & Bunce: Where does Dubois stand?
In a poll of 46 big Boxing names by the fight’s promoters, 24 picked Pacquiao for the win, with 19 opting for Thurman and a further three predicting a draw.
BBC Boxing correspondent Mike Costello: The version of Keith Thurman who beat Josesito Lopez in January would not be good enough against Pacquiao. But I believe those 12 rounds will have been significant for Thurman in what was his first fight in almost two years, and his youth and overall strength will be decisive on Saturday.
BBC Radio 5 Live Boxing analyst Steve Bunce: Thurman is young enough, big enough and smart enough to beat this version of Pacquiao. I expect Thurman on points, perhaps with a few moans at the end.
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder: I like both fighters and what they’ve been able to achieve. Pacquiao’s a legend who still is among the world’s best fighters despite his age and having to overcome so many ups and downs. But I’m going with Thurman on a split decision in this one based on his youth and mentality.
Unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr: I’m going with Pacquiao because of his speed and aggressive style.
Four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia: Ultimately Manny’s footwork, hand speed, combinations and volume punching will carry him throughout the rounds. Thurman has the power to win it, and he’s very dangerous for that power, but he’s not a better fighter, overall, than Manny. I think Manny takes it.
Two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi: I saw Pacquiao in January beating Adrien Broner, who was willing to enter the pocket but not let his hands go. Pacquiao is not a defensive genius. I’m not saying that he’s super-hittable but I do see Keith catching up to him and winning by a late-round stoppage.
WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr: Keith Thurman is probably the bigger, stronger fighter, which will give him the puncher’s chance, but I think Pacquiao’s work ethic and his punch output will dictate the fight. Keith has the ability to get Pacquiao out of there but I see Pacquiao being more consistent. So, I think Manny’s going to outwork him and take it.
Former world-title challenger Gerry Cooney: Pacquiao’s been a phenomenon but age has been creeping up on him. Thurman’s going to try to box and use his power, and Manny’s been knocked out before. It’s a 50-50 fight, but I’m going with Pacquiao, who is really awkward and fast, to win a decision.