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Keith Thurman battling Mario Barrios on PPV on Fox on Jan.29, 2022

Image: Keith Thurman battling Mario Barrios on PPV on Fox on Jan.29, 2022

By Allan Fox: Keith Thurman could be heading to disaster in making a comeback against Mario Barrios on January 29th on Fox PPV. Thurman, 33, has been out of the ring with injuries since his narrow 12 round split decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019.

33 isn’t old for a fighter, but it is when they’ve been sitting on their backsides, getting fat and not staying active like Thurman. He might as well be 40 because the inactivity and soft living that Thurman has had could bite him in the backside against Barrios.

You got to respect Thurman for picking a quality guy like Barrios, but this could be a genuine mistake on his part choosing someone this good.

Thurman should have gotten back in action in 2020 or 2021 rather than waiting until 2022, but obviously, the interest wasn’t there on his part.

Mario Barrios could pull off an upset

Barrios is arguably a much better version of Josesito Lopez, and he gave Thurman all he could handle in their fight in January 2019, when Keith came off an 18-month layoff.

Image: Keith Thurman battling Mario Barrios on PPV on Fox on Jan.29, 2022

Lopez was supposed to have been a safe fight for Thurman back then, but he came close to knocking him out in the second half of that fight.

Thurman was using the familiar pull-back style, and Josesito timed him with a big shot, briefly stunning him.

Thurman would have been finished off if that had been a slightly better fighter. Barrios is more than capable of finishing off Thurman if he gets him in a similar predicament.

‘One Time’ Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) may be biting off more than he can chew returning from a 30-month layoff to face a live body in former WBA light welterweight champion Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs), who is in the prime of his career at 26.

Will fans purchase it on PPV?

Putting the fight on pay-per-view is a questionable move by Premier Boxing Champions because they’ll be counting on Thurman’s old fan base to be willing to open their wallets to pay $80 to watch him fight a non-household name in Barrios.

It would be interesting to know the break-even number for Fox and PBC in terms of the PPV buys for this fight. Obviously, with Thurman being the only big name, it’s not as dire as it would be if his opponent were getting a big purse as well.

You’ve got to imagine the purse that Thurman is getting is much bigger than Barrios’ for this one, but still, it’s a questionable move putting this fight on PPV rather than on regular Fox.

Thurman must fight a relevant fighter because he plans to challenge WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford next summer. Hence, One Time is taking on the formidable former WBA 140-lb champion Barrios, who is fresh off an 11th round knockout loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis last June on Showtime PPV.

The 5’10” Barrios looked good for seven rounds against the 5’5 1/2″ Tank Davis, but he also had a tremendous size advantage.

If Barrios knew how to use his size and reach, he might have beaten Tank because it would have been a winnable fight.

Tank was smart NOT to choose undisputed light welterweight champion Josh Taylor, who is the same height as Barrios, but he knows how to use his size.

Mayweather Promotions did their homework well in selecting the tough but flawed Barrios rather than Taylor, Regis Prograis, or Jose Ramirez, all of which might have beaten their only star in their stable.

Thurman has let his career evaporate

A prime Thurman would have been too much for Barrios to handle, but Keith is wholly shot from years of inactivity, injuries, weight issues, and sitting around the house.

Thurman is the perfect example of what happens to fighters sometimes after they get a taste of money. Rather than going back to back and continuing to strive for success, they sit back at home, watch TV, get fat and let their careers evaporate.

At this point, it’s too late for Thurman to go back to the level he once enjoyed as one of the best fighters in the welterweight division.

He can only hope to get through training camp without sustaining an injury and try his best to beat Barrios.


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