Pacquiao / Thurman Promo!
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. In a battle of unbeatens, IBF super middleweight world champion Caleb "Sweethands" Plant (28-0, 10 KOs), from Nashville, will make the first defense of his title against the pride of the University of Notre Dame Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs), from Chicago, in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes preceding the Pay-Per-View and beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The respective world championship showdowns will take place on Saturday, July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Tickets for Pacquiao / Thurman, which is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office. The Ajagba vs. Demirezen match is being promoted in association with Ringstar Sports.
Freddie Roach: I’m Going to Make a Huge Score
Betting on Manny In This Fight!
(June 19th) Under the watchful eyes of world-famous Freddie Roach and Vice Mayor Buboy Fernandez, Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), the Philippines' national treasure, boxer laureate and the sweet science’s only eight-division world champion, kicked off his U.S. training camp with eight rounds of sparring. Not bad for the jet lagged fighter who arrived at LAX after a 19-hour flight on Saturday night to a throng of media and fans. After five weeks of training in the Philippines, Manny is back at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., preparing for his third world championship fight in the past 12 months. Amazin’ Manny has begun the most intense part of his training and conditioning for his battle against undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida.
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event,Saturday, July 20, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
And for the first time in many years, Manny, 40, and ten years Thurman's senior, has been installed as an underdog by major sports & race books around the world.
“I haven’t made a bet in a long time, but the oddsmakers have brought me back. I’m going to make a huge score betting on Manny in this fight,” said Roach. “Manny loves beating undefeated fighters, especially the younger ones. Heck, at this stage of the game, everyone Manny faces is younger. But that makes it fun for Manny. And when Manny is having fun, his opponents had better watch out. I was very pleased with Manny’s first day at Wild Card. Buboy and Justin [Fortune] have him in great condition for the rigors of this part of training camp. We were scheduled for six rounds of sparring and Manny insisted on going eight with two sparing partners. He’s running the Hollywood Hills like a deer. Nobody has the work ethic and conditioning like Manny. I can already see we are going to have to hold him back throughout camp.
“This is a great matchup. Thurman has youth and size. I’m sure he will come into the ring with 160 pounds behind his big right hand. Manny will be under 150,” Roach continued. “But we will have speed and movement. Winning this fight will come down to taking chances. Manny proved in his last two fights, against Matthysse and Broner, that he has his killer instinct back. Thurman better be prepared to shoot the works.”
Pacquiao / Thurman Undercard:
Olympians Efe Ajagba and Ali Demirezen
Meet July 20th on FOX!
(June 3rd) Rising unbeaten heavyweight sensation and 2016 Nigerian Olympian Efe Ajagba will square off against undefeated 2016 Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in FOX PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes Saturday, July 20 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 10-round heavyweight attraction will feature two 2016 Olympians putting their unbeaten records on the line as they look to make a statement in the red-hot division. FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and is headlined by undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb "Sweethands" Plant making the first defense of his title against unbeaten contender Mike Lee.
FOX PBC Fight Night will precede the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT that also takes place at MGM Grand featuring eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao facing WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith Thurman in the main event.
"Saturday, July 20th is the biggest night of boxing I can remember," said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. "The entire card top to bottom is toe-to-toe action with evenly matched fights featuring the most entertaining fighters in the world displaying their talent. I am sure several of the fights that night will be immediate Fight of the Year candidates. It is only fitting that the most talked about young heavyweight, Efe Ajagba, will be part of this Boxing-Extravaganza. Efe is simply put the definition of must-see TV. His opponent, Ali Demirezen, is undefeated in 11 fights with 10 of them by knockout. It will be two undefeated big punchers putting it all on the line, that is PBC boxing at its best!"
Ughelli, Nigeria's Ajagba (10-0, 9 KOs) gained notoriety last August 24 when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round. The 24-year-old won the fight without throwing a punch as Harper was disqualified live on FS1. Ajagba, who lives in Stafford, Texas and trains with Ronnie Shields, has steadily increased his competition in his two fights this year, stopping Amir Mansour on FOX in March in two rounds, before disposing of Michael Wallisch in April in two rounds as well.
"My goal is clear: I want to be heavyweight champion of the world," said Ajagba. "To get there I must continue to take on anyone and for the third time in my career it is another undefeated heavyweight. As they say 'somebody's o must go,' and it won't be mine. There's no better platform for this performance than on the biggest boxing night of the year. The stage is set...don't blink!"
Unbeaten since turning pro after the 2016 Olympics, Demirezen (11-0, 10 KOs) has fought out of Hamburg, Germany in the professional ranks and will make his U.S. debut on July 20. The 29-year-old most recently defended his European heavyweight title against Adnan Redzovic in April, winning by disqualification and matching Ajagba with a perfect knockout rate minus one DQ.
"I'm very happy to make my U.S. debut versus a really good fighter like Efe Ajagba,'' said Demirezen. "I'm very focused on that fight and being in the best shape ever to make a statement. I plan to have a great performance in Las Vegas because I know the U.S. boxing fans like real fighters. I'm sure they will love me after the fight.''
Pacquiao vs Thurman LA Presser!
Here is what the fighters had to say:
"It's easy for my opponents to talk before the fight, and I'm used to everything they say. But when we get to the ring, it changes, and it will change on July 20.
"I chose Keith Thurman because he's a great fighter, he's undefeated and because we can give a good fight to the fans. I want to make the fans happy on that night and show that I can still go toe-to-toe with any opponent.
"He said he's young, but we'll see who looks young in the ring on July 20. I'm going to let my fists say everything for me.
"We will work hard in training camp like always for this fight. We're not going to take Keith Thurman lightly or underestimate him. He's a world champion. I'm thankful for what he's been saying, because it's giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old, I feel 29.
"Keith Thurman is aggressive and throws a lot of punches. I'm hoping on July 20 he will follow through with what he says and fight toe-to-toe with me.
"The fans need to watch this fight because it's a once in a lifetime fight. It's going to be a Fight of the Year and full of action from start to finish. I'm ready to get it on July 20.
"Most of my opponents are bigger than me and I beat them all. When we get into the ring, it doesn't matter. This has happened before and it will happen again against Thurman.
"My experience will be very important for this fight. It's going to be useful against an undefeated fighter. I'm going to give him the experience of losing for the first time.
"I'm still having fun and enjoying the sport. I'm excited to go straight to the gym after this and start focusing on training for the fight."
"It's a blessing to be on this stage and have a fight of this magnitude. I'm an all-American fighter, an all-American champion and come July 20, I'm going to stay champion.
"Manny is a world class fighter. He's a gentleman inside and outside of the ring. I look forward to trading punches with a living legend. But one thing's for sure, he's not walking away with my title.
"All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I'm not going to lose to a bunny rabbit. He's not Tupac, but he does a little hip hop and he's not going to stop until he gets dropped.
"Manny is a world class fighter, not a world class boxer. I'm going to trip him up in the ring and he won't know what direction to turn to. I know who I am as a fighter, and it will be proven come July 20.
"I'm destroying the legend of Manny Pacquiao. His legacy ends on July 20 and mine begins. He's an inspiration to many people throughout the world and everyone respects him, but I'm respectfully going to finish him.
"This is a big fight as far as the stage goes, but it's a big fight against a little guy. He's a veteran and I've dismantled veterans in the past. I believe I would have destroyed Manny Pacquiao five years ago. I've always been ready for this fight. He's never fought someone like me with this kind of lateral movement, speed and power. I'm coming for him.
"I was in the gym four weeks ago starting some preparations. I wanted to get the ball rolling and use the momentum from my last training camp for this opportunity. Who better to showcase my skills and talent against than Manny Pacquiao? He chose me because it will be a guaranteed action fight.
"I think this is one of the best Manny Pacquiao fights in a long time. I'm going to bring it. Pacquiao did not get reminded in his last fight what it feels like to be up against a real champion. I'm the youngest, fastest, hungriest fighter that he's ever been in the ring with. July 20, it's the 'Keith Thurman show'."
"I never consider myself the A-side because my history says that I shouldn't even be here. As beautiful as the belt is, it's about more to me than that. It's about legacy for me. I've been carrying myself as a world champion since the day I started this journey, so this is nothing new to me.
"I'm the whole package. I have speed, I have footwork, I have power, I have the heart and the will to win. Until you find someone else who's all that, I'm going to keep having my hand raised.
"Where I'm from, there's confrontation every day. This is nothing new to me. There are times I was told that I wouldn't make it. Nobody paved the way for me like I'm from New York or Los Angeles. I paved my own way.
"Mike Lee is in uncharted territory. I'm curious on how he plans on beating me. Does he plan on roughing me up and trying to knock me out like my last opponent? Can he do that better than Jose Uzcategui? Is he going to try to outbox me with his hand and foot speed? Because there's no person from 160 to 175 who could do that.
"I've been committed to the same thing for the last 18 years straight. Rain, sleet or snow, I stayed committed. I'm bred for this. I was created for this. It's the only thing I've done my whole life. On July 20, I'll be keeping the thing that I've worked my whole entire life for.
"At every decision that has to be made, you can go left or you can go right. From the genesis of my being, every time it was the moment to make a tough decision, I went the same way. Because I do not bend or fold for anything. No matter what's tossed my way, this journey must go on for me. He said he has nothing to lose, but I have everything to lose.
"All the motivational videos that he watches and books that he reads, I'm the very essence and meaning of that. I'm the pinnacle of all those things he's studied. You can't learn mental fortitude in a book. Those things are earned, they're not learned."
"This is a dream come true for me. I've been through so much and there were days where I thought my dream was over. I've chased this since I was eight-years-old and I'm thankful for this chance to go after a dream that others thought I couldn't reach.
"The beauty of this sport is that it's only me and Caleb in there. Everyone else can only talk. I've been in the ring through adversity and stuck it out, because that's the kind of person I am. I know that if I come on July 20 as the best Mike Lee possible, that I can win.
"I've been in the gym working every day. Doctors told me at one point that I wouldn't fight again, but I'm still standing right here. I pushed through my pain to get here.
"I'm excited to be here in Los Angles, where we hold training camp. I'm bringing the belt back to Chicago, but Los Angeles is a second home to me.
"Today is the culmination of years of sacrifice, hard work and discipline. I'm undefeated for a reason but I feel people underestimate me and I like that. I've been underestimated my whole career. I've thrived off people say I couldn't do it.
"I respect Caleb Plant. He's the champion for a reason and I respect any fighter who can step into that ring. You have to be a different kind of animal to do that in front of all those people, and I am that animal.
"I'm coming with power, strength, speed and I'm going to give it everything I have. I'm going to become the new IBF Super Middleweight World Champion."
RICHARD STURM, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment & Sports
"I'd like to welcome back Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, two of the world's best fighters, back to Las Vegas and MGM Grand. Manny returns to the ring at MGM Grand following his convincing win in January while Keith will fight in Las Vegas for the first time in four years, looking to remain undefeated.
"We're truly excited to be hosting this sensational event at MGM Grand and we look forward to seeing everybody in July."
BILL WANGER, Executive Vice President of Programming, Research & Content Strategy for FOX Sports
"Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman is a living legend, versus a legend in the making. We're excited to deliver an unprecedented night of boxing on July 20 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"Manny is one of boxing's biggest stars. Keith Thurman is an undefeated world champion and a huge ratings draw. We're excited to bring viewers inside the ropes and up close to the action on fight night, and produce extensive behind the scenes preview programming that will air across the FOX networks.
Pacquiao vs Thurman Presser NYC!
(move slider to 1:30 to begin watching presser)
(May 21st) Boxing's only eight-division world champion, Philippine Senator and regular WBA welterweight champion Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao returns to face undefeated Super WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith "One Time" Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown LIVE on Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Here is what the fighters had to say from Gotham Hall in NYC:
"I've never been scared of a challenge. I'm so excited for this fight against an undefeated champion. He's the kind of fighter that you can't underestimate. His record and successe gives me more motivation to work hard.
"I will make sure that I'm 100 percent and ready for this fight. We'll find out what happens on July 20, but it's going to be exciting. I like being the underdog for this fight because that gives me more focus in training.
"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.
"It's a great honor for me to be fighting back in Las Vegas and on the FOX Sports pay-per-view. I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity.
"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.
"I'm the kind of fighter that I don't talk too much. I do my talking in the ring. I can do a lot of things in that ring. He can prove his words in the ring. I'm going to be a warrior on July 20 and show Keith Thurman what it's like to be in the ring with me.
"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.
"Our focus in every fight is on the speed and footwork, because those are advantages for me. We're going to work on avoiding Keith's offense.
"Fans should watch this fight because it's a once in a lifetime showdown. We're going to bring action and I'm confident I will be victorious."
"We're ready. This is a blessing to be here and a dream come true. I started boxing at the age of seven. I worked hard to be a champion and I've always wanted to fight the greatest names in the sport.
"Pacquiao wants a challenge and I'm very grateful to be sharing a ring with a legend. If you understand boxing history, you know that times change. I believe boxing is in a new era. Come July 20, Pacquiao will disappear. He'll always be remembered in the sport, but I'm doing to Manny Pacquiao, what he did to Oscar De La Hoya.
"This is a big fight. I've waited 22 months to get back in the game. We had our ups and downs, but Keith Thurman is back on the rise. I'm going to make a big statement.
"This training camp is going to start this Saturday. Once I get home, it's grind time and on July 20, it's going to be my time.
"July 20 is 23 years in the making. I've dedicated myself to this beautiful sport of boxing for so long and my first trainer Ben Getty told me that I had what it takes to be a great champion. I'm truly looking forward to having another chance to show it.
"We definitely had a stretch with a lack of activity. Not everyone knows who Keith Thurman is today. You could see that I wasn't at my best in January. But on July 20, 'One Time' is back. I'm getting ready to have one of my best training camps for this fight.
"I had the knockdown in my last fight that was a reminder of what 'One Time' is all about. We brushed the dust off and we're taking that momentum into this fight.
"I'm excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is. He's a legend who's done great things. But I've never lost to a fighter who's lost seven times. I have no intention of losing this fight and I don't see him winning in any shape or form.
"Speed, power and overall ring IQ will be the difference. I'm one of the smartest fighters in the sport. I always find a way to win. I know Pacquiao comes in shape, but he's going to fall short of that finish line."
"I've been boxing my whole life. They say it takes 10,000 hours of work to become a true success at something. Come July 20, I'll have been doing this for 18-years straight. No breaks and no Plan B. I've just been boxing, day in and day out.
"Mike Lee may have a financial degree, but in boxing, I have a Ph.D. That's something he doesn't know anything about. I came from very rock bottom, where nobody makes it out. If he thinks I'm going to let him mess this up for me, he's not half as educated as I thought he was.
"I have everything to lose. Every night from now until July 20, I hope Lee and his team are envisioning the worlds 'and still'. Because that's all anyone is going to hear on fight night.
"It's exciting to be on this primetime card. Everyone who wants to take it to the top of the sport wants to be a main event at MGM Grand. At the same time, where we fight is not most important to me. We can fight in the parking lot, because it's about legacy to me.
"Anytime that someone steps into the ring and wins their first world title in fashion, it's going to be a confidence booster. But I did tell everyone what was going to happen. There's a season for everything and right now is mine.
"He may come into the ring bigger and heavier than me, but boxing skills are what wins fights. Years of repetition with boxing teachers, are what wins fights. You'll see all of that on July 20.
"I don't look at myself as the favorite in any fight. I'm the one who's not supposed to be here. Put everyone through what I've been through, and see if they would make it here."
"This has been a culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Most importantly, I've gotten somewhere no one thought I would get. I'm fine being the underdog. I have nothing to lose.
"I'm coming out with everything I have. This is everything I've ever wanted. I respect Caleb Plant, but on July 20, I plan on making it my moment.
"I've headlined cards in Chicago and at Notre Dame before so the bright lights are nothing new to me. I'm very excited and working hard. On July 20, I'm going to keep proving people wrong.
"The whole reason I got into this sport is to do it on big stages. Everyone wants to prove it on the biggest stage possible and there's no bigger stage than at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's a dream come true and it's the reason I've worked so hard.
"Moving down in weight is an advantage. I've got a great team working with me to make the weight easily and rehydrate the right way. I'm going to be the bigger and stronger guy in the ring.
"I've had people that never thought I'd get here and I love it. It takes a different kind of person to step into that ring in front of so many people. You have to be ready to go out there and risk it all. I fight who they put in front of me and keep winning. That's what I plan to do on July 20."
Preceding the pay-per-view is a FOX PBC Fight Night also taking place at MGM Grand that is headlined by undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb "Sweet Hands'' Plant making his first title defense against unbeaten contender Mike Lee.
Possessing speed, power and tremendous boxing skills, Thurman represents the most dangerous challenger that the future Hall of Famer Pacquiao has faced in his recent ring appearances. This high-stakes match will firmly give the winner a claim for the top spot in one of boxing's deepest and most talented divisions.
"Senator Pacquiao is thrilled to be back in 'Viva Las Vegas,' fighting at the best venue for boxing -- the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This is where the Pacquiao vs. Thurman world welterweight championship belongs,'' said Sean Gibbons, President of MP Promotions. "We're excited to be working with our partners at PBC, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions. Manny is fighting in the biggest fights on a global scale and it doesn't get any more global than FOX Sports Pay-Per-View. Fans have always enjoyed watching Pacquiao and Thurman compete in the ring and we are confident they will, once again, give boxing fans worldwide everything they're expecting, and more. God bless Manny and Keith for stepping up to give us this fight!''
"We're looking forward to working with our partners in bringing yet another blockbuster back home to MGM Grand here in Las Vegas," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "This fight is a tremendous opportunity for both guys in terms of where they are in their respective careers. Pacquiao is currently the biggest name in the sport and Thurman is a young skilled undefeated fighter in the prime of his career, making for a compelling matchup. I know both fighters will be ready for the challenge that lies ahead of them come July 20, and I can't wait to see this one go off."
"This will be a sensational matchup between two great fighters and we're looking forward to hosting this championship event at MGM Grand in July," said Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports. "Fans have always enjoyed watching Pacquiao and Thurman compete in the ring and we are confident they will, once again, give boxing fans worldwide everything they're expecting, and more."
"FOX Sports is thrilled to present our second Premier Boxing Champions Pay-Per-View featuring one of boxing's biggest stars, Pacquiao, facing the champion Thurman, who wowed nearly three-million viewers live on FOX in January with his latest title defense," said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. "This promises to be a can't miss night of boxing with an unprecedented FOX Sports PBC doubleheader, as we open the evening with the FOX PBC Fight Night, headlined by newly crowned champion Plant defending his title against the undefeated Lee. Plant set the FS1 viewership record for a boxing show in January when he won his title, and we're sure this match up will deliver even bigger audiences leading into the Pacquiao vs. Thurman Pay-Per-View."
A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America's reigning Fighter of the Decade, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who hails from Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is the only sitting Congressman and Senator to win a world title. After serving two terms as Congressman, Pacquiao was elected to a Philippine Senate seat in May 2016, capturing over 16 million votes nationally. Pacquiao's boxing resume features victories over at least seven current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
In his last match on January 19, Pacquiao put on a vintage performance against four-division champion Adrien Broner, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision in the 70th match of his illustrious career. It was his first time fighting in the U.S. in two years. Before that, he scored an impressive knockout over Lucas Matthysse to win his version of the WBA welterweight championship in Malaysia last July 15.
"All my life I have confronted challenges -- in life, in politics, and inside the ring," said Pacquiao. "Keith Thurman is the type of challenge I crave as a fighter. He is the biggest and best test. That is why I want to fight him. We are going to give boxing fans an exciting fight and a great night."
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) is the longest reigning welterweight champion in boxing, having collected his WBA title with a stoppage victory over Diego Chaves in 2013. He has successfully defended that title eight times and became a unified welterweight champion when he defeated Danny Garcia by split decision to win the WBC title. Plagued by a litany of injuries, including bone chips in his right elbow that had to be surgically removed, Thurman was out of action for nearly two years before getting back into the ring with a hard fought victory against Josesito Lopez in January on FOX.
Having taken up the sport when he was in grade school, the Clearwater, Florida native blossomed under the tutelage of his first trainer, Ben Getty, to become an outstanding amateur. Though Getty has passed away, Thurman still carries those boxing and life lessons with him whenever he steps into the ring with his current longtime trainer Dan Birmingham. His power punching earned him the nickname "One Time.''
"I'm extremely excited for this opportunity to get a fight that I've wanted for a long time,'' said Thurman. "The right circumstances have aligned for it to happen now and I'm grateful for that. Me and my team are looking forward to it. It's going to be an honor to be in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. It's going to be fun to go back to MGM Grand in my first pay-per-view with FOX Sports. I believe that Ben Getty would be very proud of what I've been able to accomplish. He said I'd be able to dominate the welterweight division and be a multi-million-dollar fighter and a star in the sport.
"Manny Pacquiao is beatable. He's been beaten before in his career. He's a fan favorite and a legend. For me his boxing tactics are predictable. He fights in spurts and you have to take advantage of that. You have to be respectful of his power. But I believe my movement, athleticism and ring knowledge will be able to present him something he's not seen in all his years of boxing.''