By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman admires Manny Pacquiao.
Right after he watched the 40-year-old Pacquiao defeat Adrien Broner on January 19, Thurman hit the streets for a three-mile run in the wee hours of the morning. Thurman’s long-awaited return to the ring was scheduled for the following Saturday and seeing the aged legend perform that night encouraged him.
“I did it because it was a week before my fight,” Thurman said during a conference call Tuesday, “and I just watched a 40-year-old man beat a young man. And it was really inspiring for me because I’m coming off of injuries and I’m coming off of lack of activity.
“And Manny’s just done so much, but he wanted to do more. And, of course, I’m young. I definitely wanna do more. And on the 20th, I’m gonna show you more.”
Thurman doesn’t want to do too much more, mind you. He appreciates the Filipino icon’s longevity, but Thurman has no desire whatsoever to fight anywhere near his 40th birthday.
Thurman turned 30 last November 23, a few weeks before Pacquiao’s 40th birthday. Ideally, Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) will retire from boxing much sooner than later – win or lose when he opposes Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“My grandfather, on my father’s side, he never liked that I was gonna be a boxer,” Thurman said. “My family’s all from Ohio, outside of Cleveland. My grandfather was even a mason, and he told me, he said, ‘If you’re gonna do it, boy,’ he said, ‘get in and get out.’ And he meant it in a two-fold way. He meant if you can stop ‘em, stop ‘em, and get out the ring early. And make your money and get out of boxing, while you still got sense and you can talk straight. Because the big thing about fighters back in the day is the punch-drunk syndrome. Even Ben Getty [Thurman’s late trainer] used to talk to me about it. And luckily, I’m more than a brawler. I am a boxer, and, you know, I’m gonna do my best to not take too many shots come July 20th.”
An appreciative Thurman joked that he won’t need to box much longer if he can continue making money comparable to what he’ll earn for facing Pacquiao in their welterweight title fight.
“A few of these paychecks, we ain’t gonna be here when we’re 40 years old,” Thurman said. “Believe that. I don’t need a hundred million [dollars] in life. I just need a little bit of moolah. I just need some moolah.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.