Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, who are in the home stretch of their training camps for their upcoming welterweight world title showdown, both exuded confidence and good spirits during their media workouts thousands of miles apart.
Pacquiao spent the first half of his training camp at home in the Philippines, where he is a senator but is fitting in fight preparations during the summer recess, before moving to trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, about a month ago.
The fight is set for July 20 (Fox PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"We started in the Philippines before coming here and everything has been smooth," Pacquiao said Wednesday. "We picked this fight against Thurman because we believed we could give great action to the fans and I know I'll be ready to deliver on my end."
Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division world titleholder, has been motivated to show that although he's 40 -- this will be his second fight at that age -- he still has much to give against an opponent who is 10 years his junior. Fighting for the third time 12 months, Pacquiao also said he's motivated by a particularly mouthy Thurman, who has talked a big game during the lead-up to the bout.
"The more Thurman talks, the more it will help me," said Pacquiao, who cruised to a decision win over Adrien Broner to retain his secondary title in January. "His words are motivating me and encouraging me to work even harder day after day.
"I always feel like I have the ability to beat any fighter out there. I'm still in this sport and I'm planning on a lot more memorable victories. Thurman reminds me the most of Ricky Hatton, of fighters that I've faced. Will it be the same result? You never know."
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) was in the midst of his extraordinary prime when he scored one of his most sensational victories against Hatton, knocking him out cold with one punch in the second round to win the lineal junior welterweight title in May 2009.
Once a knockout machine, Pacquiao has not scored many of them in recent years. From his 2009 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto to win a welterweight world title for the first time until his seventh-round stoppage of Lucas Matthysse last July, Pacquiao had gone 13 fights without a knockout.
"I am not predicting a knockout. We are just counting on winning every round, one at a time," Roach said.
Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), working with longtime trainer Dan Birmingham at the St. Petersburg Boxing Club in Florida, was just as confident as the Pacman.
"I've had one heck of a journey. In reflection, I'm proud of all of my success," said Thurman, who is from nearby Clearwater and will be making his sixth title defense. "I hope to accomplish more in my career and it all starts with this fight.
"This is history in the making. This is one of the best fights all year. This is the biggest fight of my career. You see a lot of fight posters in this gym. I remember when [Thurman mentor] Winky Wright fought 'Sugar' Shane Mosley. I remember when he fought 'Tito' Trinidad. For me, this is my Mosley. This is my 'Tito' Trinidad moment. I get to show the world that Keith 'One Time' Thurman is not just a great champion, [but] he can beat legends."
In January, Thurman returned from a 22-month layoff caused by multiple injuries to outpoint Josesito Lopez by majority decision. Thurman dominated much of the fight but was badly hurt and nearly stopped in the seventh round.
He believes that fight helped him shake off the rust and prepare him for a more difficult match with Pacquiao -- one he claims he will end in style.
"My prediction? Less than six rounds," Thurman said. "I would love to be 30-0 with 23 knockouts. We've got 22 and we've held those 22 knockouts for a little too long. It's time to get one more knockout."