By Jim Calfa: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says that he’s on a mission to regain his throne as the #1 fighter at 147 when he returns to the ring next month against Mario Barrios on February 5th.
Assuming this comeback is only about money for Thurman, what he should do is milk it for as long as possible by fighting lower tier 140 and 147-pound fighters before challenging for a world title for a cash-grab fight.
The problem with Thurman milking his comeback by facing exclusively cannon fodder level opposition is that he’s too fragile physically to be counted on to fight more than once a year without breaking down.
Thurman has finally decided to get off the sofa and return to the ring after 2 1/2 years sitting inactive after his loss to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019.
Thurman has AGED badly
Four years ago, Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) was viewed as the top dog at welterweight and looked unbeatable after his wins over Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.
Sadly, a witch’s brew of money, success, injuries, and domestic life has stalled Thurman’s career since 2019. He looks like he’s aged 15 years and doesn’t look like the same person he was in 2019.
Thurman wants to regain the person he was 3,000 yesterdays ago, but it’s not possible. This isn’t a Benjamin Button type of situation where Thurman can age backward and regain his lost youth.
Now 33, badly receding hair, and the physical appearance of someone much older than his chronological age, it seems evident that Thurman will NOT regain his throne as the #1 welterweight on the planet.
At this point, Thurman will be lucky if he successfully defeats former WBA secondary light welterweight champion Barrios (26-1, 17 KO) next month in their headliner on FOX pay-per-view at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
If Thurman defeats Barrios on February 5th, he’ll likely face WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in the summer. That’s what many boxing fans believe is the sole reason for Thurman’s comeback.
They see this as a situation where Thurman returns to replenish his bank account before disappearing back to his domestic life in Florida.
“No, I don’t because I’ve been there before as far as the inactivity goes,” Sergio Mora said to DAZN’s JABS. “It takes away your skill, diminishes your talent and your hunger.
“Once you start becoming a family man, that’s another thing that gets thrown into the mix.
“I don’t think Keith Thurman at 33-years-old can do it. I don’t think he can even beat a Jamal James,” said Mora.
Boxing isn’t like playing checkers. If you stay out of the ring for an extended amount of time, you’re going to lose your skills, and you WON’T regain them, particularly if you’re in your early 30s like Thurman.
One Time’s inactivity has ruined his career
While many fighters have still found success after sitting inactive for two or more years, those were guys that either had massive punching power, enormous size, or tremendous boxing skills going for them.
Tyson Fury and George Foreman are examples of fighters who were out of the ring for years and could find success when they came back. Sugar Ray Leonard did well after taking repeated breaks, but it eventually caught up to him when he met with Terry Norris and Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho.
At welterweight, it’s a lot harder for a fighter to sit inactive for an extended period and regain what they lost. Thurman looked terrible in his last fight against Pacquiao, which was ages ago.
“I don’t see Thurman having the same kind of fire in his belly that he did when he was climbing the ranks beating guys like Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia,” said Chris Mannix.
“But being around him during that time, he didn’t seem like he was going through hell in his training camp. I saw him work out; it didn’t seem like he had that edge anymore,” said Mannix.
Thurman can probably overpower Barrios and get the win on February 5th. Still, he’s not going to beat Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Yordenis Ugas, or any of the young lions in the division like Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis.