LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Keith Thurman warned Tuesday he is targeting the destruction of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao when the two welterweights face off in Las Vegas.
The undefeated Thurman puts his World Boxing Association welterweight crown on the line against the 40-year-old Pacquiao on July 20 at the MGM Grand.
Thurman, 30, has relentlessly fanned the flames for the contest by stating he plans to send Pacquiao into retirement.
On Tuesday, Thurman took a more respectful tone against Pacquiao, the eight-division world champion who remains one of boxing’s biggest draws as he prepares for the 71st fight of a two-decade professional career.
Thurman said he plans to take an aggressive approach into the fight as he chases an emphatic victory.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to destroy a legend and create my own legacy,” Thurman said on a conference call.
“How can I not Babe Ruth it and step up to the plate, point and start swinging. How can I not go for it? I’ve got an ‘0’ and I’m not afraid to let it go.:
‘‘If Manny Pacquiao is the man that beats me, he’s the man that beats me. I’m going to shake his hand after the fight and congratulate him.”
Meantime, Pacquiao took a respite from all the hurt and pain that he has endured the past few weeks in the gym by staying behind closed doors on Tuesday as he prepares to host an open media workout Wednesday afternoon at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
“Zero workout,” reported Pacquiao’s right-hand man Sean Gibbons, noting that the 40-year-old Filipino legend just recharged his batteries inside his room.
“He didn’t even jog in the morning,” added Gibbons.
In the past, during his younger years, Pacquiao saw nothing wrong in pushing himself to the limit every single day. (With a report from Nick Giongco)