KEITH Thurman wants to reclaim his welterweight title and if it means going through a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, then so be it.
The 31-year-old American has been busy calling out Pacquiao during this quarantine period in the hope of getting another shot at the same man who dethroned him of his World Boxing Association (WBA) super-welterweight crown in July last year via a split decision.
“I want my belt back,” Thurman said in an ESPN interview. “Deep down, there’s still a part of me that wants to grab my belt back (against Pacquiao).”
The loss to Pacquiao was the first career setback for Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) and altered his grand plans of unifying the 147-pound division.
Thurman admitted looking forward to a possible showdown with unbeaten Errol Spence Jr., holder of the welterweight versions of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF).
“Ultimately, I saw a big clash between Spence and me leading into a year like 2020. I always saw a big fight happening,” he said.
“We were both undefeated champions of the world, and I thought that’s how I was going to be introduced to Errol Spence as an undefeated welterweight champion,” Thurman added. “Him having two titles, we would unify the welterweight division with our match-ups.”
Only for a 40-year-old Pacquiao to spoil the party.
Thurman is man enough to accept his loss to Pacquiao, who won their 12-round title bout by the skin of his teeth.
A flash knockdown in the first round and a vicious body punch in the 10th that almost took the fight out of Thurman had Pacquiao turning the tide in his favor in one of the Fight of the Year candidates for 2019.
Two judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino, 115-112, while the other one had Thurman winning, 114-113.
“It was a close one,” Thurman admitted. “It’s easier to beat yourself up over a close loss than a real loss. If you beat me, you beat me in my face, and it’s not an easy task to do.”
“Still by the small margin that Manny Pacquiao got it by, it was still no easy task. There will never be a day where defeating Keith Thurman will be an easy task.”j