Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman to fight in welterweight title unification bout

Kevin IoleCombat columnist
Manny Pacquiao Keith Thurman. (Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao Keith Thurman. (Getty Images)

Manny Pacquiao’s decision to sign with the Premier Boxing Champions last year will pay its biggest dividend to date when he meets Keith Thurman on July 20 in a welterweight title unification bout that will headline a Fox Sports pay-per-view.

No venue has been announced, but a source said the fight will be in Las Vegas. The PBC plans to air a super middleweight title fight between IBF champion Caleb Plant and Mike Lee on Fox that will serve as a lead-in to the pay-per-view.

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A Pacquiao-Thurman bout has been talked about for years, and figures to provide fireworks.

Thurman is 29-0 with 22 knockouts and is an outstanding offensive fighter, though he hasn’t had a knockout since stopping Luis Collazo in the seventh on July 11, 2015. Across the ring from him will be Pacquiao, an eight-division champion who is coming off a one-sided victory over Adrien Broner in January.

Pacquiao is 61-7-2 with 39 knockouts. Both men hold a version of the WBA championship.

The Pacquiao-Thurman bout is setting up for a bout against the winner of another unification bout, between IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBC champion Shawn Porter, which is expected to be held in August.

That would enable a bout between the winners that would, at least in theory, leave one man holding three of the four major welterweight belts. Terence Crawford holds the WBO title.

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