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Pacman vs. Thurman: The Last of the Gen X Champions vs the Millennials

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  • Pacman vs. Thurman: The Last of the Gen X Champions vs the Millennials

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    By David A. Avila

    BEVERLY HILLS-Rain and grey skies filled the Southern California landscape on Wednesday as Manny Pacquiao and fellow warriors met the media.

    Now 40 years old, Pacquiao entered the Beverly Hills Hotel with his usual entourage of family, fans and carry-on luggage of media followers. The eight division world champion has been running through this routine since arriving in 1999.

    Will this be the last time?

    Pacquiao remains the last of the Generation X fighters on a TGB Promotions boxing card that features millennial world champions and contenders. One of those millennial champions contends it will be the Filipino’s last.

    “He’s got T-Rex arms. I’m not going to lose to someone with T-Rex arms,” said Keith Thurman the WBA welterweight world titlist. "All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I'm not going to lose to someone with T-Rex arms.”

    Both Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) each have versions of the WBA welterweight belt and the winner of their fight emerges as the true belt holder.

    Senator Pacquiao has an extensive history over the last decades of battles with some of the best prizefighters to ever lace up boxing gloves. When asked to name some of the most skilled of his former foes he quickly rattled off Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Timothy Bradley.

    All of those Generation X fighters are gone now via retirement. Two are currently boxing promoters and one a television analyst. Pacquiao remains the last of his generation competing at the highest level. He is a phenomenon.

    As Thurman eloquently spouted the reasons why he will dominate when they meet in the ring at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on July 20, the always reserved Pacquiao sat quietly amused with a subtle grin. He’s heard all of these taunts and degradations before.

    “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,” said Pacquiao. “I’ve heard that many times before and I beat them all.”

    Thurman corrected Pacman.

    “Last time I looked he had seven losses,” said Thurman. “He had a hard time fighting Jeff Horn.”

    There’s no Millennial respect for the last of the Generation Xers.

    More Millennials

    IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) makes his first world title defense against Chicago’s Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) in a battle between undefeated millennials on the same MGM card.

    These millennials have no respect for anyone including each other.

    "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?,” said Plant of his next foe.

    Lee doesn’t understand the disrespect.

    "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,” said Lee. “I came into this event very respectful. He (Plant) had to come out with another line of disrespect. I don’t understand it. So be it.”

    Plant captured the title with a riveting performance against Jose Uzcategui that saw him floor the Venezuelan twice before holding off a late rally against the hard-hitting former champion. It showcased Plant’s speed, skill and grit.

    “Nobody from 160 to 175 can beat me,” said Plant, hinting that perhaps he plans a quick move into the light heavyweight division soon.

    Lee, a former walk-on Notre Dame football player, has been slowly moving up the prizefighting ladder with pure determination and grit since his pro debut nine years ago.

    “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,” said Lee. “The beauty of this sport is that it's only going to be me and Caleb in there.”

    Gen X

    In the heat of July, the millennials will have their say. And what about the last of the Generation X generation?

    "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,” said Thurman, 30. “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.”

    Pacman, the last of a retiring breed, smiles at the words.

    "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,” said Pacquiao. “I am excited for this fight.”

    Will the last of the Gen X champions continue on his journey? Or will the Millennials close that chapter for good?

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    I like Thurman, as a fighter and as a person.

    But he's not beating Manny Pacquiao.

    All that time off, and his lack of elite experience, will cost him.

    Manny gobbles him up like Pac-Man, close UD for Pacquiao.

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