MANNY Pacquiao needs to be at his best if he is to deal Keith Thurman his first-ever career loss.
International matchmaker Sean Gibbons has no qualms about saying Thurman is one marquee fighter who is regarded as one of the best in the welterweight division today.
“I see a tremendous match. Senator Pacquiao will have to be on his A-game to go after Thurman,” said Gibbons, who is now with the Filipino senator and his team in New York City for the scheduled whirlwind press tour promoting the July 20 welterweight title match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao and Thurman will see face-to-face in public for the first time on Wednesday (Manila time) at the Gotham Hall in New York to kick off the short two-day press tour.
The following day, the two camps fly to Los Angeles for the final press conference at the Beverly Hills hotel.
Pacquiao, 40, is 10 years older than Thurman, who is undefeated with a 29-0-1 record including 22 KOs.
“Thurman is a true marquee fighter. This is one of the best 147 pounders in the world,” according to Gibbons.
An elbow surgery, however, had the 30-year-old Florida native inactive for almost two years and only got back on the ring early this year against Josesito Lopez.
Thurman was obviously rusty and susceptible against Lopez, who had him in trouble in the seventh round, but nonetheless, managed to escape with a majority decision.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, with 39KOs) has been more active than Thurman of late, having fought twice in the last nine months.
His last bout was a 12-round unanimous decision win over Adrian Broner also at the MGM Grand last January.