Keith Thurman: “I don’t want to leave it to the judges”
By Huck Allen: Keith Thurman says his goal for his February 5th comeback fight against Mario Barrios is to make a statement and not leave it to the judges. The highly popular former WBA/WBC welterweight champion ‘One Time’ Thurman and former WBA 140-lb champion Barrios will be fighting in early next month on February 5th on FOX Sports PPV at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.
To win this fight, Thurman can’t get careless leave himself unguarded against Barrios the way he did in his last contest. Barrios, 5’10”, has the size, youth, and power to capitalize on any mistakes Thurman makes.
Another important thing for Thurman is not to coast as he did in his last fight, as this is the wrong guy for him to be taking off rounds.
Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) made the mistake of leaving it to the judges the last time he fought in 2019 against Manny Pacquiao, and it cost him the fight. Although the judges got it right with their scoring, Thurman, 33, doesn’t take any chances against Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs).
The 2 1/2 years that Thurman has been out of the ring is going to leave him rusty, vulnerable, and could impact his stamina in the second half of the contest.
Thurman to make a statement
“Let’s go back in time. The agenda was to beat Manny Pacquiao, and then unify the belts with Errol Spence Jr, point blank, period,” said Keith Thurman to PBC Podcast when asked who he wants to fight next should he defeat Barrios.
Take a glimpse into @keithfthurmanjr‘s grueling circuit training routine. Think you could keep up?! 💪#ThurmanBarrios pic.twitter.com/b6cz72fVNj
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) January 17, 2022
“The way I see it, Barrios is going to do his best to make a statement, showcase his skills and talent, do his best to frustrate Keith Thurman, dominate Keith Thurman and I’m going to come in and let him know that it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been out of the ring but you picked the wrong fight tonight.
“I want to go in, I want to make a statement, and I don’t want to leave it up to the judges. I want to stop him, but I’m going to be in there, I’m going to be looking and I’m going to be throwing.
“We’re going to be going toe-for-toe, blow-for-blow, and I want to challenge him to see how much gusto that boy really has and make an exciting fight like I’ve done many times in the past.
“Remind the world what I bring to the welterweight division. Explosiveness, great ring IQ, technique, movement, and a few haymakers. We got to drop the bombs. We got to come drop the bombs, you know?
“I got to hit him the way I wished I hit Pacquiao. I got to let it go. I got to take a risk. I’ve already been beaten once, so what am I holding onto? What am I protecting? My legacy is solidified. I was the undefeated unified champion of the world,” Thurman said.
With so many boxing fans doubtful of Thurman’s chances for success in his comeback, it’s important for him to make a statement against Barrios.
One Time’s loss changed everything
“They already have my uniform in the Hall of Fame,” Thurman continued. “I’m already there. It’s already happened, but that doesn’t mean that the stories’ over. So all we’re doing it hitting a new chapter in the life of Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
“This new chapter with this 2 1/2 year layoff reminded people how great I am.
“So what has happened since then? I let Pacquiao run away with my [WBA] belt. Spence had a hiccup [eye injury], which let [Yordenis] Ugas step in line, do his performance, grab the belt.
“Now, Spence is going to grab the belt, but nobody would have their hands on that belt if Keith Thurman didn’t take an ‘L’.
“This all happened because I fell from grace. None of this would have manifested in the world of boxing. Keith Thurman would have been the only guy that you guys would have been talking about. That’s why it’s funny when you guys aren’t talking about me as the guy you should be talking about.
“That’s why we’re trying to get back in the mix and re-manifest these dreams, goals and manifestations, and aspirations that we already had.
“There’s nothing new. I already told you, 2022 is nothing new. It’s just boxing, baby, and this boy right here brings the best out of everybody,” ‘One Time’ Thurman said.
‘One Time’ Thurman’s loss to Manny Pacquiao took something out of the Filipino’s game, factoring in his loss to Yordenis Ugas last August. Ugas’ career skyrocketed, thanks to Thurman’s loss.
If Thurman didn’t lose to Pacquiao, we likely would have never seen Ugas become world champion because this is a guy that Keith would have likely beaten.
Thurman favors Spence over Ugas
“Due to experience, resumes and the way we jot things down with pencils, we want to lean towards the Errol Spence side,” said Thurman when asked for him to pick between Spence and Yordenis Ugas for their unification fight in April.
“But styles make fights, and Ugas is one of the biggest welterweights in the welterweight division. The real thing about Usyk is that he might not be the most exciting fighter, but he’s Cuban. Boxing people know, the Cubans, they need to be respected.
“The Cubans, they know a thing or two about boxing, man. You can’t just say he’s going to walk through Ugas. People are going to want to say, ‘Man down.’ Ugas can give you a fight that you might not like. He’s going to challenge you in ways.
“He gave Porter a really good fight. Some people thought that he really won. I thought he fought too much like a Cuban. He was too much in the middle of the ring and took the pressure.
“He needed to step forward like his Mexican brethren and he should have taken the champion out on that day so that we would’ve known who Ugas was on that day.
“God blessed him with another opportunity and opened up a door and handed him, Manny Pacquiao, at 42 years old, two years after Keith Thurman put hands.
“It just was what it was. He got to showcase his skills and his talents against a legendary fighter and be victorious and now he got young dogs to fight once again. Can he win? I like the match-up. I’ll give it a 60/40.
“I almost want to give it a little closer than that, but we can only go off of what we’ve seen in the past. What is Spence like? I say 60/40, but it might be closer to 50/50 because the Errol Spence against Danny Garcia was not the best Errol Spence.
“How good of shape was he going to need for that Pacquiao fight? How is he going to recover just going into a camp and not fighting and coming into another camp?” said Thurman about Spence. It’s up to both fighters to demonstrate their greatness.”
The resume, high work rate, power, and the youth of IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. give him the edge to win this fight against WBA champion Yordenis Ugas.
What could factor against Spence is his recent eye injury, and the car crash he was in back in 2019. If Spence can’t fight like he used to, Ugas will take advantage of his depleted ability to beat him.
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