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Keith Thurman vows to retire Manny Pacquiao in unification fight: 'Come July 21, he's gone'

The undefeated American, 30, takes on the eight-division world champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20

Manny Pacquiao, left, and Keith Thurman square up after a news conference in New York to publicise their July 20 fight. AP Photo
Manny Pacquiao, left, and Keith Thurman square up after a news conference in New York to publicise their July 20 fight. AP Photo

Keith Thurman has vowed to end Manny Pacquiao’s boxing career when the pair face off in their welterweight unification bout this summer.

The undefeated American, 30, takes on the eight-division world champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20. Pacquiao holds the “world” welterweight belt, while Thurman has the “super” strap.

Ten years Pacquiao’s junior, Thurman returned to the ring in January after almost two years away, when he clinched a unanimous decision against compatriot Josesito Lopez to retain his belt. It lifted his record to 29-0.

Speaking in New York on Tuesday as Thurman and Pacquiao met for their fight's launch press conference, the Florida-born boxer said: “This is just a dream come true. I worked hard at being champion and wanted to face the greatest names in the sport of boxing.

“Years ago, I wanted Floyd Mayweather [Jr] and Manny Pacquiao. Floyd’s gone, Manny is here and I’m ready to challenge a legend. Come July 20, he will disappear. He’s a legend and will always be remembered in the sport. But I’m going to do to Manny Pacquiao what he did to Oscar De La Hoya. Oscar De La Hoya never fought again. Facts.

"This most likely will be Manny Pacquiao's last fight. I love the sport of boxing, but we're in a new generation. Look at the heavyweights. There is no more Klitschkos [Wladimir and Vitali]. The Klitschkos are gone. In the welterweight division the king was Floyd Mayweather. He is gone. The legend Pacquiao, he's here. He will be here July 20th. But come the 21st, he is gone."

A senator in the Philippines, Pacquiao will make the second defence of the WBA crown he successfully defended for the first time earlier this year, when he defeated American Adrien Broner on points in January. Pacquiao’s 70th fight, it took the Filipino’s record to 61-7-2, with 39 knockouts.

“I have been in boxing for two decades and I am never scared or intimidated with my opponent, and I am so excited for this fight,” Pacquiao said. “Keith Thurman is the kind of fighter you can respect. He is undefeated and this gives me more encouragement, motivation to work hard, like I did before, in my previous fights with big names in boxing.

“I will make sure I'm in 100 per cent condition and ready for the fight, and let’s see who is tougher in the ring on July 20. It is going to be exciting and I like it.

“I chose Keith Thurman because he's undefeated and I want to prove that at the age of 40 I can still beat undefeated fighters. I like it that I am the underdog for this fight. This gives me more motivation to work hard in training and it's fun.

“This is what I want. Sometimes I became careless and overconfident because I'm so favoured in every fight, but this time around it's different."

Updated: May 22, 2019 09:09 AM

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