LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao should stay retired rather than return to the ring for a legitimate yet tough bout against younger opponents like Conor Benn, Amir Khan, and Naoya Inoue, Keith Thurman suggested to ProBox TV on Friday.
Though Pacquiao dropped Thurman early in a 2019 bout, the American valiantly fought back in the middle to late rounds to lose by a mere split decision, surrendering his WBA welterweight championship to the Filipino legend.
Pacquiao has only returned to the ring once since that fight yet lost a unanimous decision to Yordenis Ugas in 2021.
The following day, Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee was seen on video feeding the fighter, who was seemingly struggling to open his eyes after the beating.
That year,, he said: "Goodbye, boxing," after admitting difficulty in accepting that his "time as a boxer is over."
Regardless, his name remains linked to younger, active boxers as trainer Freddie Roach told Boxing Scene this week that he’d like to see him fight Naoya Inoue, after the Japanese star bludgeoned Stephen Fulton earlier this week.
Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn even said Pacquiao could be a suitable opponent for Conor Benn, after the British boxer received clearance to fight once again after a doping saga.
“It is what it is,” said Thurman, when ProBox TV asked for his take regarding Pacquiao, and whether he should come back, or remain retired.
“The glory days are over, we know that,” Thurman told us. “Does he still have a fanbase? Yes. Are people still going to tune in? Yes. And that's what makes it hard [for him to stay retired].
“I know because I’ve witnessed that life. When you are a gladiator, this [real, non-boxing] world is so mundane. I promise you, it sucks. And it doesn't boil the blood.
“You want the action, you want the thrill, and to be a part of the thrill. When you've lived that life, you've got to go back out there [the real, non-boxing world] and it seems like a sad story. You want more!”