Keith Thurman makes his comeback next month against Mario Barrios on February 5th, and the fight will tell fans whether he had enough left to regain his #1 status at welterweight.
Thurman was the #1 fighter in the welterweight division five years ago. Still, he fell his perch after settling out of the ring for two years before coming back for a couple of fights in 2019 against Josesito Lopez and Manny Pacquiao.
The two years out of the ring took a lot out of ‘One Time’ Thurman’s game, causing him to struggle against Josesito and Pacquiao. He beat Josesito but then lost to Pacquiao, who was 40 at the time.
Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has done a lot of talking recently about him winning back his lost WBA & WBC 147-lb belts, and along with it, his top position as the best fighter in the welterweight division.
Former WBA light welterweight champion Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) is standing in Thurman’s way in presenting a formidable obstacle to getting to the fights he wants against WBO 147-lb champion Terence Crawford, IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBA champion Yordenis Ugas.
Has Thurman lost his edge?
“Thurman will fight for the first time since his loss to Manny Pacquiao and just the third time in the last five years,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN’s JABS.
“Thurman is 33 and talking a big game about reclaiming his place on top of the 147-lb division. Do you think he can do it?”
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“He has some close wins, but that Josesito Lopez was really telling because Lopez is a really small fighter, and he was able to hurt Thurman, back him up, and it was a competitive sloppy fight for Thurman’s part.
“I think that was a good tell for where Thurman is at in his career now,” said Mora.
“He didn’t have that edge anymore. Not the Thurman I saw when he was trying to win those titles back in 2016 and 2017,” said Mannix on his belief that Thurman has lost something from his game.
“I don’t know how you get that back at 33-years-old. I think Thurman can win this fight against Barrios. I don’t think Barrios is all that good.
“This is his first fight since coming up from junior welterweight, but as far as beating the Crawfords and the Spences at 147, I just don’t see it,” said Mora.
I wouldn’t say that Thurman has lost the edge that he had. What you can say is Thurman has aged A LOT during the last five years, and he doesn’t look as youthful as the 34-year-old Terence Crawford or 35-year-old Yordenis Ugas, even though those fighters are younger than him.
If the way Thurman is looking physically now is related to how he performs, then he has a good chance of getting beaten by Barrios.
Thurman has made a lot of money
“How do you get it back? By a bad loss, by an embarrassing loss, by doubt, by critics saying you’re washed up,” said Mora. “He’s not quite there.
“He has a loss to Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest fighters of our generation, and he has some solid wins over fighters that you just mentioned. I just don’t think the hunger is going to come back.
“At one time, Thurman was a hell of a fighter, but if you look at his resume, it’s a pretty damn impressive resume. He made a lot of money and only lost one time to a great.
“He can retire now, and it could possibly be a Hall of Fame career just with the names or be considered at least. He’s had a solid career. That hungers not going to come back unless he comes back and gets beaten down by somebody,” said Mora.
Thurman is a millionaire, and unless he’s gone crazy with the money he made during his career, he should be in a position where he can retire a wealthy man if things don’t work well for him against Barrios on February 5th.
Keith is a family man now
“Then it’s going to be whether he wants to continue this or not,” said Mora. “It’s a serious game, and once you become a family man and get married, traveling the world, you know there’s another chapter to life than just boxing.
“Antonio Margarito told me that the reason he didn’t start a family with his girlfriend is because it takes the hunger out of a fighter. A lot of fighters in the gym; I’ve heard that saying a lot of times.
“Now that I’m a family man guess what? They’re absolutely right,” said Mora.
Being a family man is acceptable for Thurman, but what isn’t is the fact that he’s sat on his backside since his last fight in July 2019. That tells you that being married hasn’t helped Thurman’s motivation to get back in the gym.