By Dan Ambrose: Inactive ‘One Time’ Keith Thurman says he’s like a “dragon in a dungeon waiting to be released from captivity to attack Mario Barrios on February 5th on FOX Sports PPV at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.
The chains are about to come off the former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) next month and he’ll be officially off the leash against the younger 26-year-old former WBA secondary 140-lb champion Barrios (26-1, 17KOs).
Clearly, Barrios has been well-vetted by Thurman’s management at Premier Boxing Champions and deemed as a non-threat to him, but you never know.
You hate to say it but this is a cherry-pick for Thurman, but it’s understandable, though, because he’s been out of the ring for ages, enjoying the millions he made in his last fight against Manny Pacquiao.
Barrios is coming off of a knockout loss to the tiny 5’5″ Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, so he shouldn’t be a threat to Thurman unless he’s really lost it completely. He might have.
Thurman is looking old, and not the same guy that beat Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter many yesterdays ago. While 33 is young for some people, it might well be 50 for others. It’s possible Thurman is one of those types that age fast.
Thurman has had a lot of couch time
When you get a fighter that has essentially been sitting on the couch for four of the last five years, navel-gazing, like Thurman, it’s quite possible that he’ll lose to Barrios.
Not surprisingly, Thurman gained a lot of weight during his time out of the ring, but he’s shed the pounds and no longer looks unrecognizable.
Thurman’s management obviously is well-aware of where he’s at physically after his latest 2.5-year layoff and they’ve got to have real concerns about his ability to win this fight.
Just watching Thurman throw punches and move around the ring in his training clips on YouTube, you could see a lot of stiffness in his joints, which are the hallmark of a person that has been sitting idle for many years.
The joints stiffen up due to the sedentary lifestyle and don’t come back. Thurman can probably still punch, but his speed and movements will never be the same.
Barrios ready to ruin Thurman’s comeback
“All I’ll say is make sure you’re ready because come February 5th, I’m coming,” said Mario Barrios to FOX Sports at PBC in warning Keith Thurman.
“In a perfect world, any way that I’m able to walk out with my hand raised,” said Barrios when asked what will be the ideal outcome for his fight with Thurman.
“The fact that I’ve been out of the ring for over two years is one of the reasons why Barrios has stepped up to this challenge with confidence,” said Keith Thurman. “But that form of confidence is a mistake.
“He was a great champion, but he’s never stepped up to this caliber,” said Thurman of former WBA 140-lb secondary belt holder Barrios. “He has not seen this speed. He has not seen this power.
“Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is like a dragon in a dungeon just waiting to be released. The welterweight division is a different division. On February 5th, Mario Barrios will discover that reason,” said Thurman.
It must have been pure torture for Thurman to be sitting inactive all these years, but he only has himself to blame.
If he’d agreed to the offer given to him by PBC, they could have gotten him back in the ring in 2020 and he wouldn’t have been out of the ring for 2 1/2 years.
That is what happens when a fighter becomes a millionaire. When you got millions in the bank, it’s hard to get up off the sofa to get back to work.