Keith Thurman targeting late December for next fight

By Boxing News - 10/16/2021 - Comments

By Huck Allen: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he could be back in the ring to fight in late December around Christmas time. His opponent will be someone outside of the top five at 147.

Thurman doesn’t want to jump straight back in against an elite fighter because he hasn’t fought in 27 months since July 2019.

The former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) says his management still hasn’t locked in an opponent or a date for his next fight, but he’s hopeful that it can happen before Christmas

If they can’t get an opponent for December, Thurman says he’ll be fighting in January, and he wants to fight twice in 2022.

As long as Thurman hasn’t lost too much from his game with inactivity, he could be right back in the thick of things soon at welterweight.

Some good options for Thurman’s December fight:

  • Conor Benn
  • Abel Ramos
  • Daniyar Yeleussinov
  • Mario Barrios

Thurman wants to fight before Christmas

“I’m back in the gym, ready for some action whatever comes my way some opportunities here,” said Keith Thurman to Fighthub TV. “I can’t wait to get back and showcase my skills again. I believe I’m one of the best performers in the welterweight division.

Image: Keith Thurman targeting late December for next fight

“If I get what I want, we’ll be dancing right before the jingle bells [Christmas]. If not, I’ll be right back in action in January. There are two dates that I heard about.  Nothing has been solidified. I haven’t heard about any opponents.

I’m good with the December date, but if I have to wait until January, so be it. I’m just going to be out here getting ready, keeping my body in tune. It would probably be outside of the top five,” said Thurman when asked if he plans on fighting a top-level contender for his December date.

We heard previously that Thurman might fight in October, but that obviously isn’t going to happen. It’s unclear what the hold-up is with Thurman. Is it his management keeping him on the sidelines, or is this something he’s doing?

Thurman has been out of the ring two years and three months since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019. The excuses for Thurman’s inactivity are no longer working, as it just now seems like he’s trapped in a cycle of inertia that he can’t break free from.

At this point, Thurman is like a spacecraft that has crossed the event horizon of a black hole and can’t pull itself free from the gravity pulling it inward.

“I always love a great fight; I can’t say not to a great fight. Whatever opportunities that are out there, then so be it. Next year, it’s really about being back on the scene, staying in action, rolling two more over.

“That’s why I want to get in the mix in December to roll two over next year.

“Then from December to December, it would actually be three fights in twelve months.

“That’s the kind of work rate that I want to do to try and catch up to this COVID and everything that’s happened. I don’t need this much time off. Time was one thing, but now it’s overtime,” said Thurman.

Keith says Spence is “salty”

“I said, ‘Get bigger, and I’ll see you when it’s worth something,” said Thurman on him turning down a fight with Spence years ago. “I never even say that to a lot of fighters, but I knew who Errol Spence was.

“I bet he has to talk about me after beating everybody I done beat after knocking out Bundu after I went 12 rounds with Bundu.

I think he’s hella frustrated and hella salty. I think Thurman vs. Spence is a great fight. I think the greatest fights in the welterweight division got my name in the mix,” said Thurman.

Image: Keith Thurman targeting late December for next fight

Thurman should put Spence out of his mind right now because he’s the least of his worries. Spence’s career is up in the air right now following his eye injury and car crash.

It remains to be seen whether Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) will come back from the torn retina injury he recently suffered. If he does come back, he’s not going to be looking in Thurman’s direction to throw him a bone.

I’m just trying to get back in action so I can get everything and everything they throw at me,” said Thurman. “I just want to get back in action and hopefully get these belts back, and some title matches.”

Thurman needs to start fighting again and show the boxing world that he can stay healthy long enough to fight at least once a year, if not twice.

“I just think it’s not time yet,” Thurman said when asked about whether he would like to move up to 154. “I think there’s too big of an opportunity to still go after greatness in the welterweight division. We’re all young enough if everyone buckles down and gets in the ring; we can make it happen in two years or so.

“Right now, the top dogs are Crawford, Spence, Ugas, and Thurman on the outside, looking to get back on the inside and grab all the belts back.

“Let’s say Spence fights Ugas and gets all three belts. If I get the Spence fight, it’s still the opportunity to get all three belts.

“There’s too much that entices me at 147. I don’t see much action at 154,” said Thurman. ”

Spence would have to go through a Scrooge-like kind of awakening for him to change his stance on not wanting ever to fight Thurman because he seems disinterested.

One thing that might change Spence’s view about not wanting anything to do with Thurman is if he captures a world title. But for Thurman to do that, he will have to beat WBA champion Yordenis Ugas or WBO champion Terence Crawford.

Thurman is popular enough to get title shots against Ugas or Crawford quickly, but he’s got to get back in action and stop making excuses for why he’s not fighting.

Keith’s inability to stay healthy is like that of other athletes in sports like football and basketball. When athletes hit their early 30s, the injuries start piling up and eventually it becomes untenable for them to continue. We’re seeing that with Thurman now.

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