BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Manny Pacquiao heard Keith Thurman's bold claim. The unbeaten champion predicted that the result of their July 20 bout would usher Pacquiao into retirement.
Pacquiao, 40, replied Wednesday with his own assertion: that he'd handle his exit strategy on his own terms.
"He's saying things before we fight, but I will send a message to him in the ring about exactly who he's fighting; he will come to know that," Pacquiao said Wednesday as he and Thurman stopped at the Beverly Hills Hotel to promote their bout. "No man can dictate when I'm going to retire.
"I've been in this sport two decades. Nobody intimidates me. Thurman should respect his elders, especially this elder."
Thurman (29-0, 22 knockouts) said during a media session in New York on Tuesday that he intended to finish Pacquiao's career in the ring.
"If you understand boxing history, you know that times change," Thurman said. "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 Pacquiao what he did to Oscar De La Hoya. I'm excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is."
Thurman was referring to when Pacquiao stopped De La Hoya in 2008.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 knockouts) is confronting a second consecutive foe at least 10 years younger. In January, the Philippines senator convincingly outboxed former four-division world champion Adrien Broner by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
In Thurman, 30, Pacquiao meets a former World Boxing Council champion who relinquished that belt and has fought only twice since June 2016 because of surgery to his right elbow and a left hand injury. On Jan. 26, one week after Pacquiao defeated Broner, Thurman emerged with a sluggish majority decision over Josesito Lopez.
That showing wasn't as impressive as Pacquiao's, although it was enough to establish Thurman as a better than an even-money favorite over Pacquiao -- bet $135 to win $100 -- in Las Vegas sports books.