By Keith Idec
The long-expected announcement of the Keith Thurman-Manny Pacquiao fight finally was made Saturday night during FOX’s telecast from Fairfax, Virginia.
Thurman-Pacquiao has been scheduled July 20. Their welterweight title bout will headline a FOX Pay-Per-View show.
Their 12-round fight is expected to take place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The card also will include the first title defense for IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KOs), who’ll defend his title against Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs).
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, will defend his WBA “super” welterweight title against the Philippines’ Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs). The 40-year-old Pacquiao won the WBA’s “world” welterweight title by knocking out Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) in the seventh round last July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thurman ended a 22-month layoff January 26. He defeated huge underdog Josesito Lopez by majority decision, but Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs, 1 NC) hurt Thurman badly during the seventh round of their 12-round battle at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The unbeaten Thurman’s career was interrupted by elbow surgery following his split-decision defeat of Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) in their 12-round welterweight title unification fight in March 2017 at Barclays Center. A hand injury further delayed Thurman’s return to the ring.
Pacquiao most recently fought January 19. He dominated Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in a 12-round fight that headlined a Showtime Pay-Per-View show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.