It’s the night before Thanksgiving and Keith Thurman (29-1, 22Kos), the former unified Welterweight World Champion, is at his St. Petersburg, Florida, training facility unleashing his two-fisted power on a heavy bag. In between hammering the bag, he’s naming off future boxing adversaries one by one: Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, and Errol Spence.
It is preparation for the former unified champion nicknamed “One Time” to reclaim his throne as the 147-pound king.
“There is no comeback because I didn’t go anywhere,” said Thurman, who eyes a ring return in the first quarter of 2021. “I’m in a position where I have to take what I want from those who have it. Nothing will be given to me. It brings a different kind of dog out of me heading into this next fight. I’m focused on having the best performances of my career and looking forward to reminding the world why Keith Thurman can still become the No. 1 welterweight.”
Thurman’s coming off his first loss in July 2019 to boxing’s only eight-division champion, Pacquiao, and subsequent surgery in September 2019 to fuse the metacarpal bones on his left hand. Knocked down in the first round and then dethroned as the WBA titleholder by a 12-round split-decision— Thurman is looking to enter 2021 healthy and ready for all comers.
“My injured left hand affected my left hook against Pacquiao, [but] I opened up big with the left hook on the heavy bag today. I’m banging away full throttle,” said Thurman, who turned 32 on November 23. “Whether it’s Errol Spence or Terence Crawford, I envision facing a southpaw champion in the future so that the right hand can be a dominant factor as well. I’m ready to go back to swinging for the KO with both hands.”
Thurman remains one of the most ferocious champions and challengers in the welterweight division, even if he fought injured for the past three years with elbow and hand injuries. Now the focus, fitness, and fire are back, and this week’s Spence vs. Garcia fight is just fueling that drive.
“One of my favorite performances was against Diego Chaves. With my new strength regimen, there’s definitely potential for me to return to that one-punch power I demonstrated in that fight,” said Thurman, referring to his July 2013, two-knockdown, 10th-round KO of the previously unbeaten Chaves. “There were several different times where I caught and hurt Shawn Porter. Shawn’s still a fighter who has never been stopped, so I would want to stop Shawn Porter, becoming the first man to do that and separating the gap between him and me. That would be a big statement and send a strong message within the welterweight division.”
Thurman ultimately wants the winner of the December 5 clash between IBF/WBC champion Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) and Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), who will battle at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.
“In 2021, I want the winner of Spence-Garcia, and Errol is one of the biggest welterweights in the division,” said Thurman, who claims that his combination of skills and versatility make him a very dangerous opponent for Spence.
“With [Spence’s height,] I’ve got to get closer to land the hook or the right hand. With Danny, it’s a rematch. My name is ‘One-Time’ for a reason, and you only need that one punch.
“I’ve had two surgeries, fought injured, and with bone spurs beat Danny Garcia. The most exciting fights at 147 have involved Keith Thurman, and my best performances are yet to come. 2021 is Thurman vs. everybody.”
Noel Galang – Kamao TV