Leonard Ellerbe understands why Keith Thurman might be the underdog on paper ahead of his March 30 fight with Tim Tszyu, but he disagrees with how wide the bookmakers have the contest.

Junior middleweight contender Tsyzu, 24-0 (17 KOs), meets the former welterweight champion Thurman, 30-1 (22 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Thurman, 35, has boxed just once since losing to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019, when he defeated Mario Barrios on points in February 2022, but his inactivity clearly concerns the oddsmakers. 

Tszyu, conversely, has been busy, and Thurman represents what will be his fourth contest in little more than a year.

“The most disrespectful thing out there I saw this morning I was looking at the odds, and I was like, Tszyu’s an eight-to-one favorite?” Ellerbe said to Fight Hub TV. “There’s got to be a mistake. I’m like, 'Is this a typo or something?' Because no way in hell is this guy an 8-1 favorite over Keith Thurman.  

“That [Tszyu]’s not Floyd Mayweather, you know what I mean?” 

Ellerbe has worked with Mayweather for years, and while he sees why the odds have Thurman an overwhelming underdog, he disagrees with the implication that it might be a one-sided fight.

That said, he clearly rates Tszyu.

“He’s been doing his thing,” Ellerbe said of the Australian. “I give him his respect and his props, but Keith is a whole different type of fighter. They can say what they want to about the inactivity, those are facts, but I’ve heard no whispering going on, [that] he’s been battling through injuries but also one of the major things, yes, one guy’s been a lot more active than the other, but the other guy’s body is much more preserved. 

“And Keith has a lot of experience. This fight’s going to play right in to Keith’s hands. You see what kind of fighter Tszyu is? Again, I’m going to say he’s a good fighter, but I’m just being honest, I don’t think it’s kind of what people think it is. It’s cool to say you want all these big names [Tszyu talking about the big fights] – it’s cool to say that. Timing is everything. I’ve watched his most recent fights very closely but he ain’t no 8-1 favorite against Keith Thurman. I promise you that. I’ve been around this boxing s*** for a long, long time. The fight’s going to be what it’s going to be, but I’m going to tell you, Keith Thurman is coming to win and, in my eyes, he’s got a tremendous chance to win this fight.”

The fight headlines PBC’s first venture with Amazon Prime and is on the same card as Rolando Romero-Isaac Cruz, Sebastian Fundora-Serhii Bohachuk, and Erislandy Lara-Michael Zerafa.  

“This is a 50-50 fight,” Ellerbe said of Tszyu-Thurman. “It’s disrespectful [the odds] in my eyes, and it’s just a narrative.

“When have you seen Keith come off a long lay-off and he looks like he had ring rust? Look at the Barrios fight [which Thurman won on points] – that’s a prime example. Keith Thurman is a really good fighter and it’s time people put respect on his name.

“Keith knows what he’s doing and he’s well-preserved. Who’s the puncher in this fight? I wouldn’t be surprised if Keith Thurman clipped him.

“I think they made a bad choice picking Thurman.”