Keith Thurman Returns To Boxing To Face Mario Barrios Feb. 5

Image Credit: Stephanie Trapp /Trappfotos

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.

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“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.

The 33-year-old Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has assembled one of the most impressive résumés among the top welterweights of this generation.

Welterweight Staple

Having defeated former champions like Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Robert Guerrero, the Clearwater, Florida, native is ready to reassert himself in the division.

Keith Thurman Is Back At The Perfect Time

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.

“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.

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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.

Keith Thurman Is Getting Ready For Welterweight Supremacy

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.

“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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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.