Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’ll be returning to the ring this year to continue to dominate the 147-lb division as he did in the past.
The former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has been sidelined injuries and the COVID 19 pandemic.
Thurman says he would have returned to the ring a long time ago, but the pandemic stopped him. Also, there haven’t been dates for him to fight in his home state of Florida.
But finally, he’ll be coming back in the summer against an opponent still to be announced.
Thurman, 32, wants a contender that will help him get a world title shot against Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, or Yordenis Ugas.
With the inactivity and the weight that Thurman will need to take, it slow/y initially in his comeback.
It wouldn’t be a good idea for Thurman to face a dangerous younger fighter like Vergil Ortiz Jr or Jaron Ennis right away.
Thurman to fight twice in 2021
“I’m looking forward to coming back this summer, and it’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Keith Thurman to PBC Podcast.
“I haven’t skipped a beat, and I’m coming back to dominate the welterweight division. I want to get back no later than August.
“I want to step into the ring twice this year. I want to stay moving and active, and two fights a year, especially if the first one is this summer, it would make me very happy,” said Thurman.
Given Thurman’s track record since 2017, it would be better for him to shoot for just one fight in 2021 rather than setting a goal that his fragile body can’t accomplish.
Keith can definitely fight in August if he starts trimming the weight off soon, but a second fight is probably much to hope for.
What will invariably happen is Thurman will win his comeback fight and likely suffer an injury during the bout.
From there, he’ll need time to heal, and he’ll over-eat and blow up again like he’s been doing in between fights.
If Thurman has to trim off 50 lbs to get ready for the second fight in 2021, it probably won’t happen.
For some reason, Thurman has been letting himself go the same way we’ve seen from other fighters like Andy Ruiz Jr and Tyson Fury. Thurman can’t afford to do that and expect to be the dominant welterweight in the division.
Keith wants Spence title shot
“I want anyone to get me in the position to fight a world champion. So any legitimate [contender].
“People were wondering if I would fight [Yordenius] Ugas, and, of course, I would fight Ugas.
“Hopefully, we get a list of legitimate names soon, and we’re able to put a date on the board in the near future.
“I got a tremendous amount of respect for Terence Crawford. I would love to be in the ring with him.
“I’d say, Errol Spence,” said Thurman when asked which champion at 147 he wants to fight. “He’s a unified world champion, and he’s got the most credibility and he has a great resume.
“He has fought a lot of my opponents, but not me yet. Even though I don’t have a world title, I still have him in my sights. It’s really up to him.
“I’m not sure how stubborn he is. He’s made a few statements,” said Thurman about Spence saying he doesn’t want to fight him.
If WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas doesn’t take on IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence Jr in a unification, Thurman would be perfect for him.
However, Spence has made it known that he wishes to face Ugas in a unification fight, so it’s as good as done.
Once Spence gets his hands on Ugas’ WBA title, he’ll then hold three of the four belts at 147.
Unless Spence becomes receptive about fighting Thurman, he’s going to be locked out from fighting for a world title.
Thurman would have to go the mandatory route to challenge Spence, which might take a long time.
Thurman would make it tough on Spence
“I just find it a little bit awkward because I don’t care who you are,” said Thurman about his confusion on Spence’s stubborn refusal to fight him.
“If I wanted to fight you yesterday, then I probably still want to fight you today.
“If you really think you’ve got my number, and I’m superior to the fighters you’ve been fighting why not step up the competition and let’s test out that truth to see how great you really are against Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
“Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, he beat both, and I beat both. He beat Danny convincingly, but I dn’t think he did a lot of damage to Danny.
“I think he played it safe similarly to how he fought Mikey Garcia. He was on the outside and he used a lot of things to his advantage.
“I believe if he fought me, it would be not only one of the toughest fights of his career and one of the most interesting and action-packed in the welterweight division.
“A grudge match with him [Shawn Porter] and a grudge match with Danny [Garcia], are all on the table.
“Real-world champions lose their titles, get up and get it right back. That’s what I want to prove,” said Thurman.
Spence had a lot of trouble against Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, but he still won. Thurman fought those guys a long time ago when he was still in the prime of his career.
The injuries, inactivity, and over-eating have done a serious number on Thurman’s career.
It probably would be a hard fight for Spence to deal with the offensive firepower of Thurman, but he’d still likely win.
If Thurman were still active in his prime, keeping his weight down and fighting the best at 147, a fight between him and Spence would be possible.
Thurman needs to take his comeback slowly and focus o fighting fringe contenders and not any of the talented welterweights.
One Time has to crawl before he walks because he’s not ready for the elite-level fighters, and I don’t know when he will be.