Keith Thurman says he’s the “Dark-Horse’ in the 147-lb division

Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman believes he’s the “dark-horse” contender that will come from the back of the pack to defeat the top welterweights Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford in 2022 to regain his #1 spot at 147.

The first part of the former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman’s goal involves him beating Mario Barrios early next month on February 5th on FOX PPV at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.

This is a tough opponent for Thurman to come back to after a long layoff since 2019, but he wanted Barrios. The fight is on PPV, so Thurman couldn’t just pick anyone for him to fight,

One thing that Thurman, 33, has going for him in his latest comeback is that he’s not taking 35 lbs off rapidly the way he did before his fights against Josesito Lopez and Manny Pacquiao in 2019.

Not having to take off a huge amount of weight in a short period before his fight on February 5th should benefit Thurman because he won’t be drained.

Thurman talks about losing weight

‘One Time’ Thurman was really letting himself go physically back in 2019, and it’s no wonder that he struggled in his fights with Josesito Lopez and Manny Pacquiao.

Thurman says he lost 35 pounds TWICE in 2019 before both of those fights, which left him less than 100%. In hindsight, Thurman may have forgotten that he’s a professional athlete, and you can’t let yourself go the way normal people do.

“I lost 35 pounds to fight Josesito Lopez in 2019, and then I lost 35 lbs again to fight Manny Pacquiao  [in July 2019],” said Keith Thurman to The Porter Way Podcast.

Keith Thurman, Mario Barrios boxing image / photo

“That was a big takeaway for me from 2019 is that my weight management was not proper, and from here on out, that is not going to be my story. I’m really going to be on top of that.

“I’m 33. I’m still in my prime, but I got to get my work in on my prime. I’ve been out of work. I started both camps [for Pacquiao and Josesito] at 182, which is not good,” said Thurman.

‘One Time’ Thurman may be kidding himself if he believes that he’s still in his prime at 33. After almost three years out of the ring and only TWO fights under his belt in the last five years, you can’t say that Thurman is still in his prime.

Heck, One Time’s prime passed him by in 2017, and now he’ll be lucky if he’s 70% of that he once was. The power might still be there, but even that is unlikely.

“Fighters losing 25 lbs in a camp, you hear that a lot, but 35 lbs and I did it twice,” said Thurman. Those numbers add up quick. I lost 70 lbs [overall], and I was an undefeated world champion.

“That was a big no-no before the fight. To be honest, it’s a longer layoff, but I feel so much better,” Thurman said.

Thurman isn’t saying what kind of foods he was eating when he ballooned up in weight 35 pounds twice.

You got to imagine that he was going overboard with the junk food and failing to exercise. Again, Thurman has been slacking big time, not just in 2019 obviously.

For him to have stayed out of the ring from 2019 to 2022, that tells you a lot about where his head has been at.

Thurman’s right hand was injured for Josesito fight

“One of the reasons is my hand isn’t injured any more,”  said Thurman. My hand was injured in the Josesito Lopez fight.

“It was my first fight of my career where this dude is swinging at me, and in the fight, my head goes, ‘I have no intention in swinging at you the way that you swinging at me.

“It’s not like I’m going to tell him in the clinch or anything like that. For the first fight for me, he was swinging like they were coming from Tijuana. I know he’s from California, but he was stretching his arms like they were coming from Tijuana.

“He was swinging at me, bro.  He was like,  ‘I’m going to get Thurman tonight,’ and I was like, ‘It’s not tonight, but I see you trying, boy.’ I didn’t have it in me to hit him like that, and I don’t know if it was just because of my hand injury.

“I had another good hand, but I wasn’t ready to take it to that level. I think I can do better because I can implement my power, and showcase my power in this fight once again,” Thurman said.

Hopefully, Thurman won’t come into the fight with Mario Barrios with a hidden injury that keeps him from punching with authority because he’ll lose again if he can’t sit down on his shots.

When Thurman came back in 2019, he was still young enough to perform well enough to keep from getting stopped. But now almost three years later, Thurman could get dominated by the younger 26-year-old Barrios.

Even though Barrios is new to the welterweight division and not a huge puncher, he could get Thurman out of there.

Thurman = Dark horse

“In 2019, I told all the reporters, ‘You will not see the best Keith Thurman this year, but you will see a world championship performance, and I am not fighting any of the top welterweights.

“I wasn’t going to fight Shawn one-handed. It was a dogfight. I wasn’t going to fight nobody that was close to my age.  I took Josesito Lopez because I knew he was flat-footed.

“I don’t care about all this opinionated BS. I’m a two-time world champion. I’m one of the most exciting welterweights in the welterweight division today. So rank me as you please. I don’t care,” said Thurman when asked where he ranks in the welterweight division.

“I’m not here for the rankings. I’m here for the sport. I was born and raised in the sport of boxing. I used to do it for a medal. I used to do it for a trophy. I used to do it just to make my momma and my daddy proud.

“I’m here for the sport. I’m here until the day I retire. I’m here. I don’t care about nothing else. I love boxing, and I love what boxing brought into my life. From this point on, that’s all Keith Thurman is about.

“I’ve been beaten one time. Is ‘One Time’ going to get beaten two times? Will he ever get beaten three times? I don’t know, but I’m here and willing to find out. That’s that matters to me.

“You can put as many people as you want in front of me, but you best believe I’m the dark horse in the back that has all it takes to work his way back to the front.

“I  got the gusto to make it back to the front of the line. Put me wherever you want in the line, but I’m the dark horse. We galloping, we working,” said Thurman.

Whatever term Thurman wants to give himself but you got to say he’s a longshot to make it back to the top of the weight class in 2022 or 2023. What’s more likely to happen is Thurman is going to get hurt either in training camp or during the fight with Barrios.

Once that happens, he’ll disappear for another one to three years, and live his life in Florida with the money he makes from this fight on February 5th.