By: Hans Themistode
Keith Thurman believes his time on the shelf is slowly but surely coming to an end. The former unified welterweight titlist is back in the gym and working hard to return to form. Recently, rumors surfaced of a possible rematch between Thurman and long-time rival, Shawn Porter. In 2016, Thurman edged out a close unanimous decision victory between the pair.
Whether their showdown comes to fruition or not is yet to be seen but at the moment, Thurman is focused on the biggest fight in the welterweight division that is set to take place in just a few short months when Manny Pacquiao takes on current unified champion Errol Spence Jr.
Having gone toe to toe with Pacquiao in July of 2019, Thurman knows exactly what it feels like to be on the other end of the former eight-division world champions punches. Considering that Thurman went down from a punch in the opening round to Pacquiao for only the second time in his career and was hurt on multiple occasions, he wholeheartedly respects how hard Pacquiao hits. With that said, he isn’t the biggest puncher he’s ever faced.
“Nobody hit like Danny (Garcia),” said Thurman during an interview with FightHype.com “He felt like a big brick, Pacquiao felt like a little brick. Now the weird part is that Pacquiao’s hands just felt heavy. After the fight, I was like why did his fist feel so hard in the fight? I could handle it but I was thinking does he do certain training? Does he have more bone density in his hands? Did they do some Asian stuff? What did they do?”
As Thurman paused for a moment to reminisce of his back and forth battle with Pacquiao that ultimately resulted in the first defeat of his career, the Florida native believes he understands why Pacquiao hit so hard.
“I was looking at a picture that my dad framed up at his house, he took a picture of me and Pac trading body blows. When I looked at the picture, I noticed that Pacquiao wore those old-school Mexican Reyes gloves. Back when me and Ben Getty (Thurman’s old trainer who passed away) was knocking everybody out, we always wore those Mexican Reyes gloves. What would it have felt like for Pacquiao if I would’ve worn those Reyes?”
In the end, Thurman’s question is likely to never be answered as the two continue to go in opposite directions. Still, despite what he deems as unfinished business and regardless of how much respect he has for the hard-hitting future first ballot Hall of Famer, Thurman still gives Garcia the edge in the power department.
The two initially faced off in March of 2017. Although Thurman picked up the win relatively easily, he always stood firmly behind his claims that the punches Garcia landed on his shoulders made him unable to lift his arm for a week. So, even with the constant punishment he withstood at the hands of Pacquiao, Thurman still gives Garcia the edge in punching power.
“Pacquiao does hit hard, he hits fast but as a welterweight, it’s not the hardest punch I’ve ever felt. It’s the hardest punch I’ve ever felt coming from a little guy like Pacquiao. But Danny Garcia, the way he plants his feet, the way he develops tork into his punches, he’s not even a real welterweight and to me, he was the hardest hitting welterweight that I faced.”