A fired-up Keith Thurman promised to go for the knockout when he defends his WBA welterweight title against Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao this Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).
The unbeaten Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1NC) has been vocal about his desire not just to defeat Pacquiao, but to retire the legendary fighter.
"You are not gonna want to miss this fight, especially because it's about to be this man's last fight," Thurman said when their fight was formally announced last May.
When he made his grand arrival at the MGM Grand ahead of the bout, Thurman doubled-down on his promise to defeat the "Pacman."
"My prediction is I'm going for the knockout. I wanna hit him big, I wanna hit him hard," Thurman declared.
The American will have a slight size advantage over Pacquiao, and he is counting on this as he tries to hand the Filipino icon his eighth professional boxing loss.
"He's a smaller guy. Can he really take the power?" asked Thurman, who has won by knockout 22 times in his career – though his last stoppage win was all the way back in 2015 against Luis Collazo, who retired in the seventh round of their welterweight bout.
"If he can take the power, then we're gonna do what we've always done. Stick, move, and show him that he can't touch me when I'm in my groove," Thurman added.
As confident as Thurman is, however, he did acknowledge that Pacquiao is a "very unique individual," and expressed some concerns about the Filipino fighter's remarkable handspeed.
"I've never seen a fighter in the ring that small with that kinda hand speed. He is a tremendous fighter," said Thurman of the fighting senator.
"There can be challenges throughout the fight. But if you know anything about Keith Thurman, you put a challenge in front of me, and I overcome," he also said.
The Pacquiao fight will be a showcase for Thurman, who was inactive for two years after beating Danny Garcia via split decision in March 2017. He only returned to the ring back in January, outpointing Josesito Lopez in New York.
The 30-year-old Thurman assured that he is ready for what is certainly the biggest fight of his career.
"It was a terrific training camp. I showed up, I'm only two and a half pounds away from making weight, weight is not an issue," he said. "We will be prepared to step on the scale very soon, I can step on the scale by the end of the night and make 147."
"So, we're here, we're ready. We trained hard, we're well-prepared to give the fight fans and Manny Pacquiao a fight to remember," he vowed.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.