Guess who’s back in the world of boxing and welterweight division.
Former unified welterweight world champion Keith “One Time” Thurman will return to the ring to take on former super lightweight world champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios.
The two will engage in a 12-round welterweight showdown that headlines a jam-packed FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view lineup on Saturday, Feb. 5, from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
“One Time” Is Back
Thurman will be returning to the ring after a 30-month absence, which is the longest of his career. Barrios will be testing himself at 147 pounds for the first time in his pro career and against one of the sport’s best and most experienced welterweights.
Both Thurman and Barrios are looking to rebound from their first career defeats to put themselves back on the path toward another world title.
Feb 5th I’m back! It’s grind time! Stacked card feb. 5th with be a great night on boxing for all fight fans it’s showtime 2022! pic.twitter.com/Y6OdNQJSgz
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) December 19, 2021
The 33-year-old Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has assembled one of the most impressive résumés among the top welterweights of this generation.
Having defeated former champions like Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Robert Guerrero, the Clearwater, Florida, native is ready to reassert himself in the division.
Thurman took the first loss of his career, dropping a close decision to Manny Pacquaio in a 2019 Fight of the Year, in his last outing.
“It’s been a long time coming for my return to the ring, and I can’t wait to compete again,” said Thurman. “In 2022, I will remind the world of boxing that Keith’ One Time’ Thurman is a fighter not to forget. I look not to the past nor to the future, I’m back now, and I’m ready to fight.
— Fight Hub TV (@FightHubTV) December 18, 2021
“I dream big, and now is the time to make that dream a reality. Get ready, because I’m putting in the work to put on a show against Mario Barrios on February 5 on pay-per-view. It’s begun and my time is now.”
Thurman Is Sturdy
Thurman proved his broadcast salability when his welterweight title unification match against Danny Garcia peaked at 5.1 million viewers in prime time on network television.
According to a news release, it was the largest audience to see a live boxing match on prime-time network television since 1998.
Thurman’s opponent, the 26-year-old Barrios, faces a significant challenge when he faces Thurman. The San Antonio native will be going against a seasoned welterweight in Thurman.
Stepping Up In Competition
However, Barrios will own a three-inch height advantage against Thurman and will look to use that to his advantage in establishing himself at 147 pounds.
Barrios lost his super lightweight world championship when he suffered an 11th-round TKO loss to Gervonta Davis in his most recent fight on June 26.
The 5-foot-10 Barrios operates in the ring under the tutelage of renowned trainer Virgil Hunter. The pairing had proved successful as Hunter helped guide Barrios to the WBA 140-pound title when he scored a unanimous decision over Batyr Akhmedov in 2019.
Keeping The Welterweights Alive
“I’m excited to be making my welterweight debut against a great fighter and former world champion like Keith Thurman,” said Barrios. “A lot of fighters wouldn’t take this fight, but that’s why I wanted it. Both of us like to throw a lot of bombs, and I believe this will be an all-out war.
Keith Thurman vs. Mario Barrios officially announced for February 5 on PBC on FOX PPV. No venue revealed. PPV undercard is the following:
– Leo Santa Cruz vs. Keenan Carabajal
– Abel Ramos vs. Josesito Lopez
– Luis Nery vs. Carlos Castro
— Carlos Toro (@CarlosToroMedia) December 19, 2021
“The fans know I’m a warrior and that I don’t back down from any challenge, that’s why everyone should order this fight. ‘El Azteca’ is going to make a statement on February 5.”
Keith Thurman came back when the welterweight division looked extremely thin. A matchup against Mario Barrios is a solid return fight and adds another layer of challenge for Thurman.
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