Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman wants his fans to know that he STILL believes himself to be the WBC welterweight champion today because he never lost the title in 2018.
The former WBA/WBC 147-lb champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) vacated his WBC title in April 2018, and he says the reason he gave up the strap is to the World Boxing Council could go tax another fighter with their sanctioning fees.
In the meantime, Thurman fought Manny Pacquiao and lost his WBA title.
Unfortunately, Thurman has been out of the ring ever since and will be coming back this Saturday night at age 33 to take on former WBA secondary 140-lb champion on FOX Sports PPV at the Michelob Ultra Arena in LasVegas.
The general belief is that Thuman’s comeback is motivated by his desire for money, wanting to get some while he still can before returning for good.
Thurman vs. Barrios is selling for $74.95 on FOX Sports PPV, which is a hard sell given that both fighters are coming off of losses.
Whatever fanbase Thurman had three years ago, it’s likely that many of them have lost interest in the Florida native after seeing that wasn’t motivated enough to return to the ring in a timely fashion after his loss to Pacquiao in 2019.
“First off WBC, Keith Thurman relinquished the belt”. Okay, you didn’t have to come to me and strip me of my world title,” said Thurman to Fighthype. “I gave the belt back to you! Why?
“Man, I let you make more money, WBC. I gave up the belt so that you could go tax somebody else and go be with somebody else.
“That’s still my belt. Pacquiao beat me but nobody stripped me of the WBC. So first off, WBC, ABC, WBA, them alphabet boys, they need to figure that stuff out. I’m a champion, period.”
If Thurman wants to put in a last-ditch effort to bring in a few more PPV buys, he’s going to need to say more outrageous things than him still being the WBC champion.
On social media, many boxing fans are refusing to purchase the Thurman-Barrios card, pointing out there none of the fights involving marquee fighters are viewed as worth paying $75 to watch.
“Errol Spence,” said Thurman to Boxing with Chris Mannix, when asked whether he’ll likely face Spence or Terence Crawford in 2022. “We’ve been on different train tracks but slowly getting ready to collide for many, many years.
“In an ideal world, Keith Thurman defeats Manny Pacquiao and fights Errol Spence. I predicted that I would fight Errol Spence in 2022. Thurman lost to Pacquiao, COVID hit, and when Pacquiao came back, he was going to fight Spence.
“Pacquiao wouldn’t have fought Spence if Thurman beat Pacquiao. That would have never been on the to-do list. All he would have been seeing is Keith Thurman. I think that’s another small dilemma that happened.
“When I fell short of victory, it allowed people to pretend like they can forget about Keith Thurman, but that’s why I’m coming back. That’s why I’m really motivated. That’s why the kindling of the flame.
“I feel like Roy Jones. ‘Y’all must have forgotten. February 5th, we’re coming back.’ We’re going to put on a show and put on a statement. Afterward, I don’t want to be the one to say it. I want you to say it.
“’Oh yeah, Thurman is ready.’ I want to see Thurman vs. the world. It’s Thurman vs. everybody. It’s 2022, let’s go,” said Thurman.
“I am focused in on the welterweight fight between Keith Thurman and Mario Barrios,” said Mannix. “This is an interesting fight for me because Thurman has been out of the ring for two half years. We haven’t seen him since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019.
“Mario Barrios, a decent fighter, we last saw him late last year, losing to Gervonta Davis. So how do we see this fight? I think Thurman is the better fighter. Even though he’s been gone a long time, even though he’s 33-years-old, I think he’s the better fighter.
“He is a -186 favorite right now, according to Fanduel. I think he’s the right guy to bet on. The trickier bet is how he wins this fight. If you look at Keith Thurman’s record, you see a guy with 29 wins and 22 knockouts.
“What you don’t see is he hasn’t had a knockout since 2015. That’s right. It’s been seven years since Keith Thurman’s last knockout. So that tells me that as the competition has increased, Keith Thurman’s power really hasn’t gone with it.
“I think Keith Thurman wins and I think he does it by a decision. Also, be on the lookout for Keith Thurman may be getting a favorable judging decision here. Thurman is the A-side, and sometimes the A-side gets the benefit of the doubt from some of these judges. So Thurman by decision,” said Mannix.