By Ponciano Melo Jr.
Manny Pacquiao isn’t one for trash talking.
In fact, most of his career, he isn’t one to talk smack. And in most cases, his opponents try to get under his skin in any verbal jab they can, the last one being loud-mouthed Adrien Broner.
But time and again, this tactic doesn’t faze the only eight-time world champion in eight different weight classes.
In short he isn’t a talker, he’d rather let his boxing do the talking for him inside the squared circle.
But Keith Thurman, who called out the Pacman after his January bout this year against Josesito Lopez, might have just “pissed off” the future Hall of Famer Pacquiao.
Talking to Bad Let Hook, strength & conditioning coach Justin Fortune gave some insider info on Pacquiao’s reaction to the comment of the 30-year-old Thurman that he’ll be the one to “retire Pacquiao.”
And the fighting Senator from the Philippines might use this as fuel to do one over Thurman, give him his first professional loss and take his welterweight belt in the process.
“Yeah, he said some pretty silly stuff. I don’t know why but it is what it is. Yeah, he pissed off Pacquiao,” said Fortune.
“We like it though because he pissed off Manny, it’s better for us. I haven’t seen him this upset for a long time. So he’s not happy, he really wants to knock Thurman out,” Fortune added who was with legendary coach Freddie Roach to foresee the six-week training camp of Pacquiao which continued in Los Angeles after his training in Manila.
“(Thurman) said it a couple of times…Great, that’s great for us. That’s what you want, ‘cause that sort of Pacquiao is the Pacquiao of old.”
Back in May, when both fighters met at a press conference in New York, Thurman, brass as he is, said some BIG things, including forcing Pacquiao into hanging up his gloves for good when their fight ends.
"I'm gonna make a big statement. You are not gonna want to miss this fight, especially because it's about to be this man's last fight," Thurman said with Pacquiao seating just a couple of meters in the same room during the media presentation.
Fortune also said that the conditioning of Pacquiao is looking good heading into the July 20 bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against the youger Thurman. Though a bit jet-lagged, Pacquiao was still able to get some training in after three weeks or so of light training in the Philippines.
For now, what Thurman might expect as a repercussion of his words is a more aggressive Pacquiao. And the strength and conditioning coach expects the American fighter to back pedal if he gets a taste of that famous punching speed and power from the Pacman.
“Yeah. They all do. They all do. Listen, Thurman can’t stay in the pocket with Manny — he’s too fast, he’s too strong. So logically, or fight-wise, if he wants to win this fight, he has to try to box him. We plan for both,” he said.
Could Thurman's claim to retire Pacquiao be the very reason for his demise on July 20? The again, you would not want to piss off somebody like Manny Pacquiao.
Ponciano Melo writes a contributing article to Manila Standard Digital about Manny Pacquiao's upcoming fight against Keith Thurman. Melo is a freelance sports writer based in California, USA and has covered the NBA Finals, boxing matches, and other sporting events in the United States.