Keith Thurman wants to run it back one more time for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, and he’s asking him to give him another shot. Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) wants his WBA 147-pound title back that he lost a year ago against Manny.
In the meantime, Keith, 31, says he’s open to fighting behind closed doors in 2020 so that he can stay sharp for next year. Thurman wants to have an edge against his competition at welterweight, and the best way for him to do that is to stay active during the pandemic.
Terence Crawford is one of the 147-pound fighters that could wind up sitting on the shelf for the remainder of 2020 due to him wanting to be paid extra to fight without fans. Crawford isn’t as open-minded about fighting without fans as Thurman, even though he’s older than him.
Thurman needs to be active this year because he missed so much Time already in his carer due to various injuries. He didn’t fight at all in 2018 because of a lingering elbow injury from his win over Danny Garcia in 2017.
When Thurman did come back after a year and a half, he struggled in beating fringe contender Josesito Lopez last year in January 2019. Thurman won the fight by a 12 round majority decision, but he was rocked in the seventh round by Josesito.
Thurman Willing To Fight Behind Closed Doors
“I’m just trying to put bread on the table. My hand feels good, and I want to know how good. I want to test the waters,” said Thurman to the AK and Barak show. “Another thing; let’s say I perform in November or December, and there’s nobody in the arenas, but things start to look a little different in 2021, and I start to get more action, then I need to start dusting off in 2020.
“How many fighters are going to be able to say they did anything in 2020? Am I going to be able to do anything in 2020? It’s still up in the air, so that’s why I’m leaning towards [fighting behind closed doors].
“There’s a lot of benefits to getting back in the action, you know? This is a competitive sport, and if I see my peers, and if no one is doing nothing, I know what it did to me. I hope they’re doing something.
“If I come back ready, and if the other people aren’t ready, we don’t need the bookies to tell us that,” said Thurman.
A tune-up would be alright for Thurman, and it would give him a chance to test out his surgically repaired left hand. Facing one of the elite fighters like Pacquiao in his next match would be a bad idea for Thurman. But if Pacquiao offers to give Thurman a rematch in 2020, you can bet he’s going to take it.
Thurman has a lot of time to make up for with his downtime in the last four years, and he shouldn’t be too picky about his opposition.
Thurman Not Discouraged
“There’s still an opportunity, there really is,” said Thurman about why he wants to continue fighting. “I don’t know how many people see it and want to acknowledge it.
“If you can beat me, beat me. I’m still Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, and I’m still one of the baddest people at 147. I’ve never been an easy task, and that fight could have gone anyway,” said Thurman on his fight against Manny Pacquiao.
“I was right there in the fight punch for punch. It’s not an easy task. I’m ready to test everybody. I got to be in there with a legend. If there’s another young buck and somebody out there that has my number too, then call me up on it. Let’s go.
“If I had that much, then I might sit and commentate,” said Thurman when asked what he’d do if he had $100 million in the bank. “There’s still the opportunity to be the undisputed welterweight champion in my generation. That’s a real opportunity on the table.
“That’s something for me, Errol Spence and Terence Crawford. And that’s really what our generation is going to be about. If one of us doesn’t do it, then is there somebody else tagging along right behind us, who sprints right past us, and says, ‘Nah, those are my belts,’” said Thurman.
The only guys that Thurman needs to worry about right now at 147 are Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford. Spence is the real worry for Thurman, as he’s a true 147-pounder, and he’s been tested already.
Crawford still hasn’t fought anyone good at 147, and who knows when he finally will. The best opponent to date on Crawford’s resume was little 5’5″ former WBA featherweight champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa.
One Time Wants To Unify 147lb Division
“We know Pacquiao is in his final stretch, regardless of what that means,” said One Time Thurman. “I really believe there’s going to be an undisputed welterweight champion. Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, and only everybody sipping on hatorade would want to stop that.
“Pacquiao has got my belt, so I can’t throw mine in the mix right away. I’d love to go get it right back and then put myself in front of all these young champions once again because that was the original mission.
“I still have my eyes on big dreams and big things and being champion and unifying. And I was unified before Spence, and I know what it feels like. I had that taken away from me and had my other belt taken away from me. Now I’m just trying for greatness once again.
“Right now, it’s the get back,” said Thurman when asked if he prefers Pacquiao over Spence. “The truth is just because I might be young, and I might be in the new generation, but my soul is old. I’d like to get it [WBA title] right back,” said Keith.
Winning back his WBA title from Pacquiao will give Thurman a valuable tool to lure IBF/WBC champ Spence and WBO champion Crawford to fight him. Without that belt, Thurman may be out of luck. Spence already said he’s NOT going to fight Thurman because he wants to pay him back.
Crawford is with Top Rank and fights on a different network than Thurman, which makes it difficult to put a fight together between them.
Thurman Wants To Run It Back Again
“I’d like to run it right back. I don’t see nobody, Pac,” Thurman said. “I don’t see nobody. It’s going to be boring anyway. I don’t see nobody. Come see me. You did it one Time.
“Let’s do it one more Time. It’s just action, baby. I’m addicted to the action. I love being in the ring with that little hippity, hoppity, speedy little [Pacquiao]. He’s a little bunny rabbit that hops around that jumps at you with little T-Rex arms.
“It is what it is. We know certain things about certain athletes. It don’t mean you can stop it. He just got me, man. I think the whole performance came down to Pacquiao throwing the right punches at the right time, and keeping his hands up and seeing the bigger picture.
“Seeing the ‘W.’ It wasn’t like, ‘I’m going to destroy this kid.’ But he was real nice and easy. He did everything by the book and probably listened to the Roach in his corner.
“He probably listened to Freddie over there, and they executed a good game plan. As my old trainer used to say, ‘smart fighters win, and dumb fighters lose.’ I give him credit because regardless of how close the fight was, he executed a very smart game plan. The judges gave it to him. It’s his fight,” said Thurman.
Pacquiao should take the rematch with Thurman because he’s the only one that can sell a fight in the 147-pound division. Spence, Crawford, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia lack the charisma to sell fights the way Thurman can.
You can’t count Mikey Garcia in the mix as far as being an elite welterweight because he’s only fought twice at 147. Mikey lost to Spence by a one-sided 12 round decision in 2019, and then he beat over-the-hill 2nd tier fighter, Jessie Vargas, this year. Vargas is no longer a relevant fighter at 147.