The fight, announced Saturday night, will take place July 20 (Fox PPV), likely in Las Vegas, and should be a treat for fans. It's a fight that Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), 30, of Clearwater, Florida, has wanted.
Thurman returned in January from a 22-month layoff caused by injuries and had a tougher-than-expected time in a decision win over Josesito Lopez to retain his belt for the fifth time. Against Pacquiao, it will be interesting to see if Thurman was just shaking off the rust against Lopez or if the injuries and layoffs have truly taken their toll.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), whose main gig these days is working as a senator in the Philippines, looked great against Broner, but it was Broner, not the top opponent that Thurman is considered to be.
Thanks to Pacquiao's willingness to fight Thurman -- a likely $20 million or more guaranteed purse certainly helped convince him -- the red-hot welterweight division will remain that way for the time being. The Pacquiao-Thurman winner almost certainly will go on to face the winner of a unification fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter. That fight hasn't been announced yet but it is almost certainly going to happen in the late summer/early fall. There is also the prospect of another fascinating welterweight fight between former titlist Danny Garcia and Mikey Garcia -- no relation -- the latter of whom probably will remain at welterweight despite his lopsided loss to Spence in March.
These are all excellent fights, even if boxing fans aren't getting the one most want to see in the division: Crawford-Spence. Crawford is the only one of the top 147-pounders not with PBC. But at least Pacquiao-Thurman, Spence-Porter and even the possible Garcia-Garcia are outstanding alternatives to that mega fight not being made right now.