Keith Thurman vs Leonard Bundu, Las Vegas (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Keith Thurman vs Leonard Bundu, Las Vegas (CC BY-SA 4.0) (Photo: Denzel1312nico/Wikimedia)

WBA welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman defies his critics, who have been critical of his decision to fight Manny Pacquiao.

Thurman snapped a two-year layoff in January to win a more challenging decision over big underdog Josesito Lopez. The American fighter then made it clear that 2019 will be his "get-back" year, where he would hone his skills fighting mid-tier opponents. In several interviews, he proclaimed that champions Shawn Porter and Errol Spence would have to wait until next year, at the very least, to face him in a fight.

However, critics and observers weren't exactly all supportive of Thurman's decision to fight Pacquiao, who happens to be ten years his senior and is near retirement. Thurman argues, though that every top welterweight, the likes of Terence Crawford, Porter, and Spence, all wanted Pacquiao. Moreover, he believes that some champions are upset because he was the first one to land the Filipino fighter.

Thurman claims that he had always wanted to fight both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but he was never given the opportunity. Now that he has been given one, he says he's going to "take full advantage of it."

"Every welterweight in the welterweight division wanted this fight. They can say whatever they say want to say about this fight, but everybody wanted this fight. Errol Spence, Shawn Porter even Terence Crawford would take this fight," Thurman told Boxing News. "Everybody wanted this fight, as long as Manny Pacquiao still wanted to be an active fighter and he wanted to make more exciting fights for the fight fans. I just think this is one of the best match ups of the year and I definitely believe it could be one of the best fights of the year once we start trading."

Thurman had been a favorite to win in his upcoming fight with Pacquiao, but oddsmakers have since shifted to the other side, and now Pacquiao is the favorite to win on account of his training camp being more action-packed to the delight of the media.

But Thurman's camp believes that Pacquiao's defeat would be to think he's not doing due diligence, and believing Thurman is the same fighter he was when he narrowly decisioned a D-lister fighter in Lopez earlier this year.

Thurman's camp remains positive though, and despite his long layoff due to an injury 18 months prior and the lackluster last outing, they said is ready and will definitely defeat Pacquiao.