Lord be with you

Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman
PACMAN, THURMAN: Fighting for 12 rounds or less.

Las Vegas (AFP) - Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman on Friday both tipped the scales at 146.5 pounds ahead of their much-anticipated WBA world welterweight title clash on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Filipino icon Pacquiao smiled and waved to several thousand fans inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he faced off with undefeated champion Thurman for the final time before Saturday’s bout.

“It’s going to be a good fight,” Pacquiao said from the stage.

“I want to prove something in this fight. It’s all set for tomorrow,” added Pacquiao, who was half a pound lighter for his last fight in January against Adrien Broner.

Thurman meanwhile was greeted by loud boos from an overwhelmingly pro-Pacquiao crowd.

“It is my time. This is one time. Manny Pacquiao ain’t doing nothing to me, baby,” Thurman said.

Pacquiao is attempting to capture Thurman’s WBA “super” welterweight crown, regarded as the sanctioning body’s most important championship belt in the division.

The 40-year-old will be climbing into the ring for the 71st time in what is seen as his most challenging contest since defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2015’s “Fight of the Century.”

Thurman, meanwhile, returned to the ring in January after a near two-year layoff, defeating Josesito Lopez to improve his record to 29 wins with 22 knockouts.

The 30-year-old from Florida is determined to boost his legacy with a win over Pacquiao, and has pledged to send the Filipino into retirement with a decisive victory.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to destroy a legend,” Thurman told reporters ahead of Saturday’s fight.

Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 knockouts) meanwhile said he was unconcerned by Thurman’s trash-talk.

“For me nothing is personal,” Pacquiao said. “Our job is to fight. He has to prove something, and I have to prove something. It’s easy to say things. But it’s not so easy to do it in the ring.”

Great fight. Thurman will be a star if he defeats Pacman in spectacular fashion but he’s taking a huge risk of losing his undefeated record. But undefeated does not make a fighter, it’s the quality of fights he’s had.

Thurman trying to make this look like a career-defining bout for him. Manny is 40 and way past his prime, but for Keith to underestimate the man would be a mistake and a career-altering loss. Talk is cheap. Manny is a machine even at 40 and could wear Thurman down. Punches in bunches will win this fight.