Keith Thurman: “It’s Mario Barrios then champions”

Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’s going to be fighting for a world title in his next contest after his February 5th comeback fight against Mario Barrios. Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) isn’t saying which champion at 147 he’ll be challenging, but it WON’T be IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr.

Thurman looked stiff, slow, and sluggish in his workout posted on YouTube today. The speed that Thurman once had is GONE, and it’s not likely to come back. His movements are those of someone that has been sitting on the couch for three years, flipping channels and eating.

Former WBA/WBC 147lb champion Thurman can’t force Spence to fight him next, and Errol has already ruled out giving him a title shot.

Unless Thurman gets a title shot from WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford or WBA secondary belt holder Radzhab Butaev, he’s going to be out of luck in 2022. Fighting Crawford is going to be tough for Thurman coming off a nearly three-year layoff.

It doesn’t matter that he’ll get a little rust off his game with his fight with Barrios on February 5th, he’s still going to be below par.

On Tuesday, Thurman told the media and fans that his fight with Barrios will be a WBC title 147-lb eliminator, but that’s not the case. Thurman was guessing that his fight with Barrios was going to be a title eliminator.

Had the World Boxing Council sanctioned the Thurman-Barrios fight as an eliminator, they would have received tons of flak from fans and from the contenders ranked in the top ten.

Thurman and Barrios are both coming off defeats, which makes them poor choices to be competing in a title eliminator. Also, Thurman hasn’t fought in 2 1/2 years since his fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Thurman expects title shot

“I got plenty of more years, and that’s without a doubt,” said Thurman to PBC Podcast.”The way I set up, there’s more cleverness to it. When I get in position, I don’t hesitate.

Keith Thurman, Mario Barrios boxing image / photo

It’s Mario Barrios and then champions. That’s it,” said Thurman when asked what’s next after Barrios. “I need belts. My shoulders are saying, ‘We’re feeling light out here.’

“There are great fighters out there. You guys might have been satisfied without seeing Keith Thurman, but I’m going to remind you about what I do on February 5th, and why you should always be excited when there’s a return of Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. I will rise back up to entertain you,” said Thurman.

As long as Thurman is open to the idea of fighting Crawford, he’ll get his title shot in 2022, but he’s probably going to get knocked out.

If Thurman is serious about his comeback and not just coming back for a payday, he needs to go about it the right way by getting in four to six tune-up fights before challenging for a world title.

Thuman should devote 2022 and most of 2023 to get back in form by fighting six times before taking on one of the champions in late 2023.

One Time Thurman obviously not going to do that because he’s in a real hurry to fight for a belt, which reinforces the idea that his comeback is just about money and nothing else.

Barrios fight NOT WBC title eliminator

“He has the challenge that I have. We’re both coming off losses, so we’re going to demand greatness out of ourselves,” said Thurman when asked what challenges Mario Barrios presents to him.

“He’s going to demand more out of himself. Significant, no,” said Thurman when asked if he has a significant advantage over Barrios in that he’s coming up from 140 for their fight on February 5th.

“Manny Pacquiao was a lightweight, and I got beat. Styles make fights, we know this in boxing. Floyd Mayweather was never a welterweight,  and he beat tons of welterweights. It’s the style and who gets who first.

“I know he’s coming with it, and I just have to be physically and mentally prepared.

1. Vergil Ortiz Jr
2. Mikey Garcia
3. David Avanesyan
4. Keith Thurman
6. Danny Garcia
6. Jaron Ennis
7. Conor Benn
8. Kudratillo Abdukakhorov
9. Thulani Mbenge
10. Josesito Lopez

You can imagine how angry Ortiz, Mikey, Avanesyan, Danny, and Eonnis would be if Thurman’s fight with the unranked Barrios were to be a WBC title eliminator.

‘One Time’ sparring with amateurs

“I get tricky with these boys, and when I commit, I’m very explosive and it’s very dangerous,” said Thurman about his sparring with the amateurs that he’s bringing into his training camp.

“The way that I’m combating ring rust with motion. What is ring rust? Ring rust is the lack of ability to be sharp. So how do you sharpen a pencil? You got to grind it out.

“I’m doing what I’m doing to be slick, and that’s why I’m in here with these amateurs because they’re young. Their bodies don’t even know how to spell ring rust,” said Thurman.