Keith Thurman kept up his wave of trash talk against Manny Pacquiao with just a few days to go before their welterweight showdown, even as he acknowledged that the "Pacman" is a legend in the sport.
Thurman and Pacquiao faced off in a press conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, with the unbeaten American again reiterating his intent to add another defeat to Pacquiao's ledger.
"It's been tremendous thus far, and the experience isn't over. I'm looking forward to the fight, I'm looking forward to the final moment when my hand is raised," said Thurman.
The American will defend his WBA (super) welterweight title against Pacquiao on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Sunday morning in Manila).
Thurman has not been shy about talking trash about Pacquiao during the build-up to the fight, saying – among other things – that he intended to retire the Filipino boxer, and to crucify him.
Upon his official arrival in Las Vegas yesterday, Thurman vowed to go for the knockout, and during the press conference, he confirmed that he bet on himself.
"You know, we're going for the overall victory, and then we're going for first-round knockout, second-round knockout, and then a lucky number seventh-round knockout," he said.
"I like to encourage myself. And you know, in boxing, man, we really don't have a knockout bonus. You know? If One-Time Thurman gets a first-round knockout, somebody's gotta pay me, so at least the MGM Grand can pay me," he explained.
The 30-year-old American knows the challenge that he has in front of him. He has repeatedly called Pacquiao a legend, and is well aware of what the "Pacman" has done as a boxer.
"Most boxers, if they accomplished half the things Manny Pacquiao has accomplished, they'd still have a successful career," he pointed out.
Yet Thurman does not seem fazed. He believes that he has all the tools necessary to beat Pacquiao, and remain the WBA (super) welterweight champion.
"I'm not here to hug Manny Pacquiao, I'm not here to pat him on the back, I'm here to fight him," said Thurman. "And so for me, it just puts me into fight mode when I let him know, he ain't gonna do nothing, with them little T-Rex arms."
"He's about to get beat up," Thurman declared. "I get to punch a senator in the face, he's gonna feel it, and if he's upset about it, you know, he can do something about it on Saturday night!"
"It's called swing, swing, swing, baby."
Pacquiao simply smiled as he listened to Thurman's statement, and afterward issued a short rebuttal.
"It's easy to say, but I don't know if it's easy to do it in the ring. You know me, I've been in this sport for more than two decades, so my experience will prove it," he said.
While the fight will pit the 40-year-old Pacquiao's experience against Thurman's youth, the American boxer believes he has so much more to offer.
"Keith Thurman is a tremendous fighter. Just watch my fights. Nobody has beaten Keith Thurman, and there's a reason for that," he said. "Not because Keith Thurman fights the easiest fights every year. I fight undefeated champions. I fought ex-world champions. I fight young fighters."
"Pacquiao is 40 years old. He's never faced an undefeated welterweight like myself. Keith Thurman is not Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman is not Lucas Matthysse," he added, referring to Pacquiao's last two opponents.
"I have a jab. I have foot movement. I have power. I am multi-dimensional. I have love for the sport, same way Manny has love for the sport. We will go toe to toe. I will make him respect me in the ring from the start of the first bell."
Thurman will carry a 29-0 record to the bout, with 22 of his wins coming by knockout. Pacquiao, for his part, is 61-7-2 over his glittering boxing career.
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