Manny Pacquiao is returning to the ring just two months from now.
A month after it was reported that the 40-year-old boxing icon was targeted for a fight against WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, it was made official on Saturday that Pacquiao vs. Thurman will take place on July 20th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The venue is to be determined, but we do know it’s going to be on FOX pay-per-view instead of Showtime.
Thurman (29-0-1 NC, 22 KOs) last fought in January, returning from nearly two years away from the sport due to injuries. In what was supposed to be a tune-up fight/title defense, Thurman had a very tough fight with gatekeeper Josesito Lopez, dropping Lopez but still getting hurt on multiple occasions on his way to a majority decision. He was the WBA and WBC champion but vacated the latter due to his inactivity. This will be the first time that he’s fought twice in a year since 2015.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) has won major world titles in eight weight classes. He presently holds the WBA’s “regular” title, which... yeah, that barely means anything and is not anything to pay attention to. In his first fight under the Premier Boxing Champions banner, he bested Adrien Broner by unanimous decision in a Showtime PPV main event back in January. The bout preceding that was a TKO of Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia last July. Pacquiao left Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing after a controversial defeat to Jeff Horn in 2017, and now promotes under his own MP Promotions banner.
This is a quality matchup that Pacquiao can absolutely win, especially if Thurman doesn’t look any better than he did vs. Lopez. When healthy, Thurman has proven himself as an elite welterweight and he does have the best resume of all the 147 lbs titleholders at present. We’ll also find out how much Pacquiao has left in the tank, as he had no problems with Matthysse or Broner, but Thurman is way better than both men and theoretically in the prime of his career.