By Allan Fox: Former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’s going to be fighting three times in 2022 to make up for the lost time.
Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) is coming off a 31-month layoff on February 5th against former WBA secondary 140-lb champion Mario Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.
It’s a bit difficult to believe that the 33-year-old Thurman will fight three times in 2022 because he’s been injury-prone and largely inactive for much of the last four years.
Thurman didn’t fight at all in 2018, 2020, and 2021. No fights at all during those three years, and it’s hard to believe that he’ll be able to fight more than once in 2022.
It would be the comeback of the year if Thurman can fight three times, and win all of his fights. He wants to challenge WBO 147-lb champion Terence Crawford in 2022.
A victory over Crawford would be a tremendous achievement because most boxing fans will be writing off the 33-year-old Thurman, even though he’s the same age as Terence.
“I’m not injured no more. I feel great and we’re so excited to perform once again for the fans in Las Vegas and just have a great night of boxing on February 5th,” said Keith Thurman during Wednesday’s virtual press conference.
“I’ve had a lot more time [during his 2 3/4 years out of the ring] meditating, trying to get more organized,” said Thurman. “There are things that the heart desires and wants, but they might not come at that time.
“Barrios was saying that he was hoping for an earlier date, but the date is set. February 5th, we’re getting back in action. I love this beautiful sport of boxing, and I can’t wait to get to swinging.
“Of course, I was given a few options. I wasn’t sure exactly how we were going to commit to this comeback and then I heard he had interest in it. I said, ‘Well, he had the best record.’
“I know he’s coming off an exciting fight. I love exciting fights, and I thought, let’s just make it happen. If it’s easy to make it work and he’s on the menu, let’s take him,” said Thurman on his fight with Barrios.
“Just COVID and when we were trying to get back on this year and within the last quarter, I contacted with COVID after working the Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas.
“I was doing some weight management and I had a protocol at that time. I just had to push everything back and bounce back strong. Everything is doing great right now and we’re in camp.
“February 5th was the date. This isn’t what I wanted, but this is what life has given me. A little push back, push back, push back and now we’re going to get the ball rolling.
“I have all the admiration to perform three fights this year if I can do it, to make up for the lost time. Let’s see what your boy ‘One Time’ can do,” said Thurman.
“It was a long time coming for myself. I have a big frame, and it was getting harder and harder to make 140 already,” said Mario Barrios when asked what made him decide to go up to 147 from 140.
“Before the fight with Tank was made, I was already thinking about dipping my toes in the welterweight division. When the opportunity came up, I said yes right away.
“I didn’t want an easy fight for my first fight moving up. I told my manager Luis Decubas Jr. that I wanted to fight someone that has been at 147 for a while, someone that has fought the best and been in the ring with the best.
“When Keith Thurman’s name got brought up, I said yes right away because I know he’s a great fight, and this fight has the potential of being one of the easiest fights out of the year and it’s only February,” said Barrios.
“What happened in 2019, Keith Thurman fought Josesito Lopez and Manny Pacquiao. I thought that was the most exciting thing I could do that year,” said Thurman. “So whenever I get back to a respectable comfort zone and then we don’t care about the zone no more.
“We take it all the way to the top, this is what we’re here for. We’re here for greatness. We’re here to be the greatest welterweight in the welterweight division.
“We’ve fallen from the ladder, we can see a few steps above. We’re looking up, but that’s okay. We’ll take one step at a time to be right back to where we once were as the #1 spot in the welterweight division.
“Those are the goals and the dreams and aspirations for your boy Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.”
“I don’t think it’ll affect it at all. I think if anything, I’m going to have more agility, more stamina now that I’m at a more comfortable weight, more natural in not having to drain myself to get down to 140,” said Barrios when asked how it’ll impact him going up to 147 from 140.
“I’m just excited to showcase my talent and skills at a much more comfortable weight,” said Barrios. “I was glad that I was able to display my boxing ability as well as aside from my punching power, and I’m looking to do the same at 147,” said Barrios.
“The fire has been burning my whole life. We can compete at tic-tac-toe. I’m just a competitor. I just love the sport and when you’re in it, you’re in it to win it.
“Why else are you in it? You got to be in it to win it. So that’s very natural for me. It doesn’t go nowhere. No matter how much I lay off, we’re thinking boxing. We’re thinking about that next one.
“My heart is in it and I’m committed. So I’m really looking forward to this show. It’s a perspective. There’s a group of people that have written me off in the articles that you read about.
“But there’s a whole lot of people that know better than that, and that’s what I’m here to do on February 5th. I want to prove that Thurman is not the type of fighter that you can write off.
“I’m not a minute champion. There’s volatility in sports.”