When Keith Thurman last stepped into a boxing ring, he was dominant.
His eternal campaign to fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. had finally subsided. He won a controversial unanimous decision against rival Shawn Porter and bested another rival in Danny Garcia.
The wins kept Thurman an undefeated champion with the WBA and coveted WBC strap over both shoulders. Fans clamored for unification between Thurman and the rapidly rising Errol Spence, Jr.
Then came Jeff Horn, who upset the legendary Manny Pacquiao and took the WBO welterweight title. Thurman was anointed the next welterweight God.
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Then came an elbow surgery that derailed him for almost two years. Now, the welterweight landscape is a vastly different place.
Terence Crawford has entered the division, took Horn’s title and is now about to face Amir Khan. Shawn Porter has the WBC strap that Thurman was forced to vacate due to inactivity.
Mikey Garcia has entered the playing field with his most ambitious feat to date, taking on Errol Spence, Jr.
However, the biggest news is that Manny Pacquiao is back, with a belt, and among the Al Haymon stable.
“When I’m outside of the ring, I’m not the jealous type watching other people perform,” said Thurman during his final media workout. “My ranking, my ‘0’ and my accomplishments haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve been out of sight and out of mind for a little, but I’m back now. You can’t block a star from shining. We’re in the galaxy and shining bright.”
Real Champions Make Adjustments
Tonight, Thurman re-enters the ring against Josesito Lopez and looks to reclaim his dominance.
Lopez is a 34 year old who is nicknamed “The Riverside Rocky”. He has rattled off three straight victories since suffering a KO loss to former champion Andre Berto in 2015. Training with renowned trainer Robert Garcia, Lopez is definitely walking into the lion’s den in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“In preparation for a fight like this, you have to look at bad habits and mistakes your opponent has made,” Lopez said at the final press conference. “You can’t find a losing fight with Keith, but he’s been in fights that have shown some flaws that he has in his game.”
Still, Thurman has the WBA (Super) welterweight title. With all the other champions preparing for battles and Pacquiao fresh off defeating Broner, Lopez could be seen as a soft touch.
However, Thurman has his eyes already set on his next goal, a matchup with Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr.
“I’m definitely interested in a big unification fight with Errol Spence, Jr.,” he said. “When I first met Errol in the MGM Grand years ago, I told him that it’s nice to meet him and I can’t wait to get in there and scrap it out. I’m humble, but I’m also honest. I’m a man of my word. It doesn’t matter how many years ago that I said it, but from that day to this day, it’s a true statement.”
With Manny Pacquiao possibly continuing his legendary career, Thurman has a whole new crop of talent to face.
After Josesito Lopez, we’ll see if “One Time” is still on time.