Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’s not washed up, and he’s going to prove it to the fans that purchase his FOX PPV fight against Mario Barrios on February 5th.
‘One Time’ Thurman may not view himself as being washed up, but he’s undoubtedly yesterday’s news at this point, having sat outside of the ring for ages before finally choosing to come back in 2022.
Interestingly, the former WBA/WBC welterweight Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) admits that he could have returned to the ring in 2020, but he rejected an offer of an in-studio fight.
After that, Thurman said his phone didn’t ring, and he wasn’t offered any more fights, which isn’t all surprising.
The 33-year-old Thurman has been out of the ring for almost three years, and he hasn’t won a fight since his victory over Josesito Lopez in early 2019.
Is Thurman washed up?
Thurman wants the fans to tune in on February 5th by purchasing his comeback fight on FOX PPV so they can find out for themselves if he’s washed up like many people think he is.
“The main blame is COVID, and the second blame is I had one small opportunity to hop into a fight, and it could have been a legitimate tune-up fight. It was without fans,” said Thurman to Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer.
“I’m still here. I’m 33-years-old, and we’re getting some age, but we’re not pruning. We’re not too old to get in there and rumble. That’s another reason why I’m happy to fight Mario Barrios. He’s a younger man than I am. He’s younger, has speed and talent.
“He had a great performance against Tank David before he was taken out in the later rounds, and I just want to see what he brings to the table.
“He thinks he’s going to be bigger, he thinks he’s going to be stronger, hie thinks he’s going to be better on his body to compete at welterweight. There’s no better test than the Keith Thurman test.
“Tune in on February 5th and find out,” said Thurman when asked if he’s ‘Washed up as a fighter.’ That’s what I’m here to do. I love where I’m at right now in camp. My body is feeling tremendous.
“I know the way of a champion. So for me to not apply that is simply foolish. I believe Keith Thurman has everything it takes to be back in the #1 position. Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, they never fought Keith Thurman, and Keith Thurman never fought them.
“You can say what you want to say, but styles make fights, and I’m a devastating puncher and an intelligent boxer, and I do believe I bring a lot to 147,” said Thurman.
One Time rejected an in-studio fight
“I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to do an in-studio fight,” said Thurman. “I was timid to jump on that boat, and after that boat sailed, I didn’t get a phone call again.
“Then we saw the sport starting to pick back up, and then I’m looking at it like, ‘Where’s the welterweight division?’
“I was trying to get back in the last quarter of last year, and I worked the Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas [last August] and came home with COVID.
“So that set me back that I couldn’t take the November, December date, and I got pushed back more into January. Then I fell into February 5th. I only had one small chance to get off my butt, and even that fight would have been in 2020.
“Obviously, if I got the ring rust off, they probably would have circled me in. You know me, I like to make great fights, exciting fights, and, of course, I’ve got the February 5th. From there, the sky’s the limit.
“This year, I believe Keith Thurman can do what Keith Thurman does best and bring some exciting fights back to the welterweight division,” Thurman said.
If Thurman didn’t make the millions that he did in his last fight against Manny Pacquiao, it’s a given that we would have seen him back inside the ring in 2020.
There’s a different mentality for people when they know they have millions in the bank compared to someone with zero funds and needs money to eat and keep a roof over their heads.
Thurman has fallen into the same trap that many wealthy athletes fall into after making a ton of money. They get complacent and don’t go back to work like regular people that have to work to survive.
In the long run, the money eventually wrecks the fighter’s career. After all, they don’t want to go through the unnecessary hard work because they’re complacent due to all the money they’ve made.
You can argue that’s been the significant reason Thurman chose to sit outside the ring for the last 2 1/2 years. He’s made his millions and no longer has the hunger that ordinary people would.
His career won’t likely be the same because he’s not been showing up for work for almost three years, and he’ll probably disappear again after he faces Barrios on February 5th and picks up his hefty paycheck.
Keith picked Barrios over Abel Ramos
It’s a good thing that Thurman DIDN’T choose Abel Ramos because that’s a more challenging fight for him on paper than Barrios. That’s not a knock on Barrios, but he’s not fought at welterweight, and he’s coming off a knockout loss to Gervonta Davis.
“Well, I was given a few names, and Barrios had the best record,” said Thurman when asked why he chose Mario Barrios for his comeback fight. “He’s a former world champion, and I’m a former world champion.
“It just seemed like the better name. No matter what, we’re always going to catch a little criticism when we’re not fighting the top guys. They’re always going to wonder, ‘Why you picked this guy or why you picked that guy?’ That question is always going to pop up.
“He’s got one loss, and I got one loss. He’s stepping up to the welterweight division and fighting Keith Thurman. That means he wants to make a name at 147, and that means he wants to redeem himself and put himself back in championship contention.
“He doesn’t want to slowly move into the welterweight division, he wants to make a big splash, and I respect that. Fighters coming off of losses are dangerous because you don’t know where his head is at.
“You don’t know where Thurman’s head is at after two years. You don’t know the drive and the focus of a fighter coming off of a loss. Is he still down in the dumps?
“Is he still not putting the pieces of the puzzle together? Or did they sharpen up, go back to the playbook and look at the mistakes? Did they analyze what they did in camp and what they can do better?
“The warrior is inside me, and the warrior is inside Mario Barrios. That’s why February 5th is going to be an exciting night of boxing. He’s on the card.
“I don’t mind mentioning names. Abel Ramos,” said Thurman when asked who was the other guy that was offered to him for his February 5th fight.
You can understand why Thurman didn’t take the fight with the 30-year-old Ramos. If he had fought him, he wouldn’t have received credit if he beat him, and if he were to lose or struggle, the boxing world would rake him over the coals.
Keith regrets not coming back sooner
“I should have taken the in-studio fight, but it wasn’t exciting to me. I love boxing, but I had the luxury of sitting back after the Pacquiao fight,” said Thurman on why he didn’t fight. “Should I have done it? Probably not, but I didn’t, and that’s all in the past. But I didn’t beat myself up.
“I haven’t had lots of fights, and I haven’t had lots of necessary sparring. My injuries have healed, and this hand is solid,” said Thurman.
Keith’s decision to stay out of the ring for 2 1/2 years may ultimately come back to bite him on the backside when he gets inside the ring with Barrios because he’s likely lost a significant part of his game that he’ll never come back.
There are no sports where a professional athlete can sit out of action for close to three years and come back to be the person they were before, especially when they’re over 30 and have had weight issues like Thurman.