By Dan Ambrose: Keith Thurman has expanded his target list for his next fight from Manny Pacquiao to Shawn Porter, Kell Brook, Mikey Garcia, and Terence Crawford.
Former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) wants a rematch with Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) first and foremost, but the Filipino star is said to be done for the year.
Keith lost to the Filipino star by a narrow 12 round split decision a year ago on July 20, 2019. The first-round flash knockdown Thurman suffered against Pacquiao factored in large in the final decision.
Manny, 41, busy with his senatorial position in the Philippines, and he won’t be fighting for the remainder of the year.
With Pacquiao out of the equation, Thurman, 31, wants the next best guy available to him. Right now, that would be one of these fighters:
- Errol Spence
- Terence Crawford
- Shawn Porter
- Mikey Garcia
Thurman has the popularity to get any of those guys, but there’s not much time for him his management to schedule a fight before the end of the year. Keith hasn’t fought in 2020, and it would be a shame if he sits on the shelf without fighting at least once.
Right now, Thurman is battling his weight, which has gotten out of hand in the 14 months since his last fight in July of 2019.
Thurman regrets gaining weight
“I’m back moving on my diet. I was very dissatisfied last year. The weight management,” said Thurman on social media.
“Losing 35 pounds twice, that’s not what champs do. We did it, and I don’t complain through the process, but when I reflect and look back, it wasn’t a wise choice. I see it as my lower self, my ignorant self, my ego self, saying ‘you got this, you can do anything.’
To a degree, we can. We’re all blessed. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish, but if you want to tap into your higher self, then you should do what’s better for oneself,” said Keith.
Thurman would be the first to admit it that his discipline went out the door in 2019, with him ballooning up in weight twice in between fights. Twice, Thurman needed to lose 35 pounds in training camp to get ready for his battles against Pacquiao and Josesito Lopez.
The 31-year-old Thurman is beginning to come to grips with the reality that he cannot keep letting his weight get out of control between fights. If Thurman is going to continue to reward himself with food after each contest, he’s not going to be able to stay among the elite at 147.
There’s already a lot of questions about whether Thurman will be able to trim down from 171 to get near fighting weight for his net contest. It’s not a good sign that Thurman has’ t lost a pound for the last three weeks while trying to come down from 171.
That suggests that his body has reached a new setpoint for his weight, and it could prove to be difficult for him to get lower without making some tough sacrifices.
Using a stationary bike to try and reduce weight isn’t the best way of going about it. Thurman needs to get on the track or the treadmill and start running the weight off.
Keith hoping for Pacquiao rematch
“We’re working up early—respect to the Philippines,” Thurman said. “I know you loved that last Pacquiao fight. I loved it too. I still want my get back, but I really just want to get back.
“I want to get back healthy, I want to get back strong, and I want to get back focused. That’s what we’re doing rising up early. When I hit the gym today 2 1/2 hours ago, I’ll catch up.
“I don’t have a contract. Shawn [Porter] had a fight. Spence got a date. Where’s my fight date, baby? For three weeks, I haven’t gained a pound, and I haven’t lost a pound, and that’s why we’re out here spinning.
“I’m 171. In the last three weeks, I’m 171. I’ve been neglecting this spin and neglecting that cardio. I’m saying, ‘No more. I want to see those numbers change.’ You want to get back down to that amateur weight, closer to 165, 160 pre-camp.
“The last time I was like that was about a decade ago, man. I know I’m not old, but it’s a whole another story when you’re not in your 20s no more, and you can say, ‘this happened ten years ago.’
“I know what needs to be done. That’s why we’re here doing it, baby. What I always tell people is, ‘what you see in a fight is the outcome of the preparation, mixed in with some skills and talent. But skills and talent don’t do it alone.
“It’s the hard work and the dedication and the preparation.’ That’s what we’re getting back on track on,” said Keith’ One Time.’
It’s doubtful that Thurman will be able to get a rematch with Pacquiao in 2021, as the Filipino star is expected to take on Mikey Garcia or possibly Errol Spence. There’s nothing for Manny to gain from fighting Thurman again, especially with him sitting inactive, getting fat after his loss to him a year ago.
IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) said that he WON’T fight Thurman because he ignored him for years when he was attempting to set up a match between them.
The only way Thurman gets a title shot against Spence is if he becomes his mandatory, and that’s not going to happen before he moves up to 154.
‘One Time’ wants Brook, Spence, Porter & Crawford
“I’m getting NO more L’s, no more split decisions,” Thurman said. “We got to come back and dominate the welterweight division. ‘Y’all must have forgot who I am.
“They must have forgot who I am. I’m the biggest threat there was at 147. I just got to get my mind right and show all these other welterweights what’s up. That means EJ [Spence], and that means Shawn [Porter]. Any of them.
“That means Pacquiao, that means Bud Crawford, all of them. Kell Brook is talking to me overseas. They are trying to talk about something.
“I don’t see any contract, though. I don’t see any paycheck, though. Where ‘my pounds, baby? Pay me in pounds, not pence. I want pounds,” said Keith.
Kell Brook is in negotiations with Top Rank to challenge WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford. It’s not likely that Brook will be available to take on Thurman in 2020 unless the talks with Crawford fails to produce a fight.
Of the fighters that Thurman has called out, Shawn Porter is the one he has the best chance of facing. Thurman already beat Porter by a close 12 round unanimous decision in 2016. It was an exciting fight from start to finish, and one of Thurman’s toughest of his career.
As the WBC mandatory at 147, Porter is supposed to be fighting the winner of the November 21 match between Spence and Danny Garcia.
Unless Porter wants to get in a fight before the end of 2020, he might elect to wait until next year to challenge the Spence-Garcia winner in 2021.
Porter recently beat Sebastian Formella in a WBC title eliminator last month on August 22, and he might not want to jump back into the ring and risk his mandatory status against Thurman.
Injuries have been a problem
“That’s right, the first unified champion after Mayweather,” Keith Thurman said. “Y’all already know, man,” said Thurman. “I had a series of injuries, but that’s not going to hold me back.
“Real champions, they fall to rise again. You can’t stop the cream of the crop. The cream of the crop always rises to the top. I’ve been doing this my whole life.
“I’ve been competing with the best fighters in the world my whole life. That’s my love and my passion. Ain’t nothing going to stop that, baby. I’m going to go clean up, and I’m going to shape up, that’s what I’m going to do.
“That’s right. 2021 is my year. I’m calling it out; that’s my year. I’m going to make real things happen. I’m going to make ‘One Time’ what it is. I’m hurting the boys again. They’re getting hurt.
“I’m tired of competing, having these close rounds, having this back and forth drama. We’re going to get it in. We’re going to eat these fools up; breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day,” said Thurman.
Thurman’s hand and elbow injures have taken a big bite out of his career since his fight with Danny Garcia in 2017. He’s only fought twice since then, looking less than impressive beating Josesito Lopez and then losing to Pacquiao.
It hasn’t helped Thurman that he had to lose 35 pounds for the Lopez and Pacquiao fight. That’s a crazy amount of weight for anyone to lose, especially a world champion like Thurman.
He was weight-drained for both of those fights, and, surprisingly, he didn’t learn a lesson after he fought Josesito. After that fight, Thurman should have kept his weight down rather than ballooning up to the 190s.
Teofimo Lopez will give Vasily Lomachenko problems
“Loma or Lopez? Everybody loves Lomachenko for the most part, he’s very skilled, but we know his numbers are going to be on the punchers, man.” Thurman said about Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez’s fight.
“That puncher threat [from Teofimo Lopez] is going to be a real threat, even for Lomachenko. We saw him get dropped [by Jorge Linares]. He keeps wanting to jump up in weight, but we’ve seen him get dropped already.
“I think he needs to stay focused and to pick his fights right, and he’s going to be alright,” added Thurman.
IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is the underdog in facing WBA/WBC/WBO champion Vasily Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) next month on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It would be a monstrous upset if the 23-year-old Teofimo defeats Lomachenko, but it’s possible. With the size, power, youth, and speed that Teofimo has going for him, he could unseat the 32-year-old Lomachenko if he lands one of his big shots at some point.
The fight will be a real test for Lomachenko because he’s going to be getting hit harder than he ever has, both as an amateur and a professional.
Fighting Mikey Garcia interests Thurman
“The hand is good. I’ve been on the back, and I sparred, not this last Saturday but the Saturday before that,” continued Thurman.
“I took this last Saturday off. I had some business I had to do. I’m going to be back sparring on Saturday. When we’re in camp, we’re sparring two to three times a week, but right now, I’m just testing it out one day a week.
“I’m looking forward to that again. But I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and getting things mixed up.
“I just want to get this cardio right. I just want to get some extra rounds in me so that I can have a nice little performance on Saturday at the gym for sure.
“Would I fight Mikey [Garcia]? Yeah, I’d fight Mikey,” said ‘One Time’ Thurman. “I haven’t heard of him getting a fight date. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get the opportunity to make that happen.
“That’s definitely someone that could pop up on the list. I was promised a list of names. Let’s see what kind of list they give me, and what kind of opportunity I’m given to get back in the ring.
“I’m just here waiting. I’m getting ready right now. I’m getting ready before I need to be ready, and I’ll be ready. That’s all it is. I got to get this mind right with diet, exercise, and just energy levels. I am staying healthy—the hand injury,” said Thurman.
Mikey Garcia is trying to get a fight against Pacquiao, and it’s unlikely that he’ll take an interest in facing Thurman. In some of the videos of Mikey from last week, he looks out of shape and is not motivated to return to the ring in 2020.
Thurman would be all wrong for the smallish 5’6″ Mikey, and it’s unlikely that he would be able to compete against him. Mikey has’ t impressed since moving up to 147 last year.
Garcia lost to Spence by a one-sided 12 round decision in 2019 and then defeated Jessie Vargas last February. Vargas’s career has gone down the drain since losing to Pacquiao in 2016. Mikey would be the equivalent of a tune-up level fight for Thurman, and it wouldn’t be competitive.
The former four-division world champion Mikey needs to move back down to 135 because he’s too small to be fighting at 147. It’s easy to understand why Mikey is choosing to stay at 147. The paydays are better, and he’s become the new Adrien Broner for the welterweight division.
Keith ballooned to 192 last summer
“I was 192 last summer after the hand injury when I was out in LA when I was commentating on the Spence-Porter fight,” said Keith. Right after that fight,
“I popped up to 192, man. I was depressed. I didn’t enjoy “taking my first career L, even though I lost to a champion [Manny Pacquiao], even though I lost on my front foot. I put in my effort in that fight.
“That’s what we’re trying to do. Were trying o be ready this up and coming year, man. We’re trying to be prepared and top competing with these boys. I know I can set my self apart.
“I did it before in the welterweight division, and I’m going to do it again. I know I can set myself apart. It’s all about the hard work and the dedication, and right now, taking that L, I’ve got that motivation for sure.
“I’m strapless [title-less]. I don’t get anything. I want to get it all back, right back. They’re going to get the fist, and they’re going to get the fury, baby. Y’all boys can stay tuned,” Thurman said.
If Thurman takes the weight off without draining himself, he should be fine when he returns to the ring in 2020 or 2021. He still doesn’t have an opponent, though, and that suggests that he’s likely going to be matched against a lower level contender.
The guys on Thurman’s wish list for 2020 are not going to look his way this year, unfortunately, but he may get a fight against one of them in 2021.
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