Keith Thurman says it will be his time again. The welterweight championship he won from Danny Garcia almost twenty-two months ago at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn went his way with a controversial split decision. That has become a distant memory.
Elbow surgery followed after that title win. The comeback took time and there were questions as to how much Keith Thurman was worth as a champion among the elite fighters in a division that always has the boxing world talking.
Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it will be Thurman in the ring again and fighting for welterweight supremacy against the veteran Josesito Lopez. No more questions and drop the speculation because a prime time national television audience watching on Fox and Fox Deportes have been warned.
Because as Keith Thurman says, his time is here again. And a convincing win gets them talking about Thurman facing Garcia again, Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter, perhaps Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr.
These are the elite fighters and champions in the welterweight division. Keith Thurman has never ducked an opponent and when healthy has proved to be that elite fighter. Saturday night, and with a Garcia fight still in the spotlight, the message will be sent with a convincing win.
“It’s always my job to do my best,” Thurman said Thursday afternoon. “Win, lose or draw, people will have something to say about it. I’m fighting to stay at the top. We want to showcase our skills and remind people that I am ‘One Time’ and I am a big puncher. I’m going to have fun in there.”
But in boxing, and more than the other sports, convincing is the key. Because Keith Thurman was riding high and took his time for this comeback fight, there were more skeptics that questioned his ability to have that desire.
Thing is, Keith Thurman always had the desire to return. Lopez (36-7, 19 KO’s) will present a challenge. He has won his past three fights after losing to Andre Berto in 2015. So there is more of that active streak in the favor of Lopez.
“We took this fight because we’re prepared,” Thurman said. “If anything to occur, like if I were to feel some bumps and bruises in the fight, people have seen me fight through hematoma and some hard shots. I’m a tough egg to crack. No matter what shape I’m in, when it’s time to go to war, we fight.”
Lopez has an answer. This fight can also change a complexion of the division if Josesito Lopez changes the plan with a win over Keith Thurman.
“In preparation for a fight like this, you have to look at bad habits and mistakes your opponent has made,” Lopez said Thursday. “ 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.
“I don’t know if Keith is overlooking me, but whatever the situation is, it will show in the ring. I’ve prepared for the best Keith Thurman and I’m prepared for Saturday night.”
As Thurman said. “I’ve got new health.” And if Keith Thurman remains healthy and has that dominant win this welterweight division and the title will be prepared again for that elite fighter who always was.