Keith Thurman favors Spence over Pacquiao: It's all about size, youth

Published June 9, 2021, 5:40 PM

by Carlo Anolin

American welterweight boxer Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao’s former and most recent opponent, is rooting for Errol Spence Jr. over the Filipino boxing legend.

In this file photo, Manny Pacquiao (left) knocks down Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada last July 2019. (AFP)

“I do respect Pacquiao but I still do favor Spence just coz a few [reasons],” said Thurman, who lost to Pacquiao via split decision in July 2019. “Size, same reasons why I favor myself [before], youth, and then ultimately, when was the last time we saw Pacquiao against a world-class southpaw?”

READ: Ricky Hatton has stern warning for Pacquiao’s next American foe

But Thurman is not counting Pacquiao out of the picture just yet and even gave his compatriot some warnings as far as Filipino icon’s boxing style is concerned.

For the 32-year-old Thurman, Spence should watch out for Pacquiao’s speed and power despite Father Time catching up to the only eight-division world boxing champion.

As someone who experienced it first hand almost two years ago, the former welterweight champion knew too well how to go up against Pacquiao.

READ: Sean Gibbons: Pacquiao out to prove why he’s 8-division world boxing champ

“Styles make fight, especially against Manny Pacquiao,” added Thurman. “We’ve seen it throughout his career many different times but his number one attribute is that speed and that power and coming in at awkward little angles with that burst of energy.

“I do believe that’s something that Errol has not seen in his career — the way that Pacquiao punches. But I was able to walk back down, keep my guard up. Spence is really good in this guard, in this side, he’s got a long jab. I think he’ll be able to do what he needs to do in the fight but I’m not saying Pacquiao is out of it.”

READ: Former Pacquiao foes favor Spence

Pacquiao, now 42, scored a split decision win over Thurman in July 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada to capture the super WBA welterweight title and improve at 62-7-2 record on top of 39 knockouts. In late January, however, the fighting senator got stripped of his belt and was declared “champion in recess” due to his inactivity.

Against Spence, Pacquiao will be facing a much younger opponent who is also unbeaten in 27 matches with 21 KOs.

READ: Fortune: Spence is a hell of a fighter but Pacquiao is on different level

Spence, 31, last saw action in December last year, beating Danny Garcia via unanimous decision to keep his record unblemished and the WBC and IBF welterweight belts.

Pacquiao and Spence are set to lock horns on August 21 in Las Vegas with the final venue yet to be announced.

READ: Manny Pacquiao wants 70,000-seater Allegiant Stadium for comeback fight vs Errol Spence