The upcoming WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship bout between challenger Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and champion Keith "One Time" Thurman is widely regarded as a 50-50 bout for both fighters.
When the bout was initially announced earlier this year, betting lines favored the much younger and undefeated defending champion Thurman.
As fight night drew closer however, the odds began to shift and now, some have the experienced legend Pacquiao as a slight favorite.
Betting lines are one thing, but more often than not, the pros' picks are what carry more weight in boxing circles, and with fight night just around the corner, some of the industry's legends and experts have chimed in on their picks for Pacquiao versus Thurman.
Veteran boxing journalist Norm Frauenheim of the LA Times believes that the 40-year old Pacquiao still has the speed to stilfe the defending champion.
"I’m not sure if Thurman has ever seen this kind of speed and he’s going o be able to dart in dart out, and they’ve been smart this time about making sure that he doesn’t overtrain because that will save his legs for the full 12 rounds," he shared with ABS-CBN's Steve Angeles, "I think its going to go to the score cards."
The Ring Magazine's Cynthia Conte also believes the eight-division champion won't only be beating Thurman, but also Father Time.
"I don’t care about age. Based on what I see, he’s still strong, he’s turning back the clock," she stated. "Keith Thurman, he’s young, he’s hungry, I don’t think it’s Keith Thurman’s time just yet."
WWE Hall of Famer-turned-ESPN Radio Anchor Booker "Booker T" Huffman, meanwhile, sits on the other end of the spectrum as he believes Thurman show that Manny is no longer the fighter that he once was.
"Manny Pacquiao’s skills, they’ve diminished very very slowly but I think in this fight with Keith Thurman, I think they’re going to catch up with him," Booker T explained. "[Thurman] is the future of boxing of today, if Manny Pacquiao caught him ten years ago it might have been a different story."
During the Legends of Boxing Roundtable, Thursday evening, four men who know Pacquiao and Thurman quite well also weighed in on the welterweight clash.
Reigning WBC Welterweight World Champion "Showtime" Shawn Porter knows both Pacquiao and Thurman well, having been a sparring partner for the Pinoy legend before, and having lost to Thurman back in 2016.
The reigning WBC king, who has a date with Errol Spence Jr. on the horizon, says that it can go Thurman's way early, or Pacquiao's way if it goes the distance.
This fight could play out in so many different ways. Personally, I see three or four ways that this fight could play out," Porter explained. "I know what Keith is gonna do, Keith is gonna try to come out early, he's gonna try to get Manny. If he doesn't touch Manny the way he wants to touch him early on, he's gonna lay back, he's gonna try to box, he's gonna try to box his way to a victory."
"I think the problem with that is, Manny has a high work rate. Manny knows what he wants to see and he takes it when he sees it. I think if Keith doesn't get him early, Manny wins a late decision," he continued.
Former IBF, WBA and WBC Light Middleweight World Champion Winky Wright is going with Thurman all the way. The 47-year old boxing legend has served as somewhat a mentor to the undefeated Thurman, and the two have trained together in Florida.
"Everybody knows I'm going for Keith Thurman. Thurman by knockout or Thurman by decision. I think he's going to come out, he's going to make Manny respect his speed and his power," said Wright.
While Porter appears to see it going either way and Wright is fully on Team Thurman, a pair of Mexican former Pacquiao rivals see it going the Filipino boxing icon's way.
Four-division world champion and three-time Pacquiao foe Erik "El Terrible" Morales is all in on Pacman for this fight.
"It’s going to be a complicated fight, no doubt about it. Knowing Pacquiao, starting in the second round, that’s when he’s gonna be starting to charge, so it’s going to be decision for Pacquiao, or maybe a knockout late for Pacquiao," Morales said through a translator.
From 2005 to 2006, Morales and Pacquiao formed a rivalry as they faced off three times, with Pacquiao taking the W twice.
Three-division world champion Marco Antonio Barrera crossed paths with Manny Pacquiao in 2003 and in 2007, coming up short on both occassions. The man known as "The Baby-Faced Assassin" believes that Thurman is headed for the same fate.
"I think Manny Pacquiao by decision, but we always have to take into account the plan that Thurman has, it could play a part, but Manny Pacquiao by decision."
Don't miss the action! Catch Manny Pacquiao challenge Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship LIVE on SKY PPV this coming Sunday, July 21st! Follow the blow-by-blow coverage on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 starting at 11:00 AM!
For more information, log on to https://www.mysky.com.ph/pacman
The fight will also be available in the Middle East on https://tfc.tv/live/details/
ABS-CBN channel 2's free TV telecast will begin at 10 am. Replay will be at 3:00 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23.
The entire bout will be available on iWant beginning Monday, July 22.