For months, many assumed that Pacquiao could be facing either IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. after the two faced off in the ring in March after Spence's last fight or against Danny Garcia. But in the end, Pacquiao chose to face Thurman, the WBA "Super" welterweight champion.
During a press conference in New York, Pacquiao spoke about the reason why he chose to face Thurman instead of the aforementioned welterweights on PBC's roster. Pacquiao said he wanted to prove to the world that he can still compete against the best and win those fights.
"I've been careless and over confident in some fights, but this time around it's different. Keith Thurman is a good fighter and we're going to make sure the fans are happy on July 20. I chose Keith Thurman because he's undefeated and I want to prove that at age 40 I can still beat a great fighter like Keith. My time is not yet over. My journey is continuing. I'm going to prove that and more on July 20 against Keith Thurman," Pacquiao said.
During the press conference, Thurman spoke about wanting to retire Pacquiao in a similar way that Pacquiao did when he retired Oscar De La Hoya back in 2008. Speaking on that fight, Pacquiao admitted that he has not been this motivated for a fight since facing De La Hoya all those years ago when he stopped him after eight rounds.
"I will work hard for this fight. I haven't felt this motivated and excited since the Oscar De La Hoya fight. I feel like I'm back against the best fighters in the world," Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao vs. Thurman will headline a Fox pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20 for the WBA welterweight title.