Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is back and looking to make big fights happen.
This past Saturday, Thurman, now 33 years old, reminded fans that the welterweight division has more to offer in the form of the former unified champion as he defeated former super lightweight champion, Mario Barrios. The entire fight Barrios showed grit and heart as he never shied away from the power puncher, but the output was abusive on Thurman’s part. Thurman threw 284 power punches and landed 135 of them to Mario Barrios 82 out of 238.
Thurman showed a high output of punches throwing 665 total punches which were high for a two and a half year hiatus but the ring rust showed nailing only 181 of those punches. Evidence to Barrios physical looks after the fight however, it’s safe to say the “C plus, B minus” grade Thurman gave himself is scary to think he could return in better form in his next bout.
We take a look at five possible opponents Keith Thurman could face in his next bout.
#5. Gervonta Davis
Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis meeting Keith Thurman is a bit of a stretch to happen but the reason it’s on the list is because of the traction it received before Thurman signed on for Mario Barrios. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe went on record to say Davis could fight Keith Thurman in a welterweight bout.
Gervonta Davis vs Keith Thurman at welterweight rumours have been doing the rounds this week. Thurman said he would be open to the idea and Leonard Ellerbe has now responded by saying: "That fight I'd make in two seconds, Tank would knock him the f*** out right now." pic.twitter.com/j3g8b0DYO0
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) August 3, 2021
This came after ‘Tank’ handed Mario Barrios the first loss of his career at 140 lbs where Davis won his fourth divisional title.
Should Davis at 27 years old, compete at 147 against Thurman, it would be a two-division jump from his current campaign at 135 to win a bout in a fifth division. Only the Mayweather protection program can make that call to truly make the fight happen.
#4. Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Now we’re talking about full-fledged welterweights here.
Vergil Ortiz Jr, 23, is a rising star in the 147 lb division looking to lay claim to a world title in the coming months. Ortiz Jr. currently has an 18-0 record with all 18 of those opponents being put away before the final bell.
Keith Thurman is a name Ortiz Jr would love to put in his resume in his own campaign for a world title, and should Crawford and Spence finally meet, this fight would be a great title eliminator.
Thurman would present world title level problems for Ortiz Jr with Thurman able to present a strong boxer-puncher attribute that can easily negate the power punch output Ortiz Jr brings. Whereas the fight becomes a slugfest, though Thurman is known for his ‘One Time’ show-stopping strength, Ortiz Jr would win the exchange there. The only reason this fight is not higher on the list is due to PBC’s Al Haymon most likely not doing business with Goldenboy’s Oscar De La Hoya.
#3. Jaron Ennis
For all the same reasons spoken about Vergil Ortiz Jr. the same would apply to Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis.
Ennis is 28-0-1 with 26 knockouts at the age of 24, nearly 10 years younger than Keith Thurman. Ennis is also in need of a big name on his resumé, with his most recent win coming against Thomas Dulorme in October.
The reason this fight is higher on the list is that Ennis is with PBC which also promotes Thurman.
#2. Terence Crawford
Here is where we start looking more realistic.
Should Keith Thurman avoid another fight before challenging for a world title? The likelier of the champs to accept Thurman’s phone call is WBO Welterweight champ Terrence ‘Bud’ Crawford. Crawford, 34, has been adamant, in the past, about the idea of fighting Keith Thurman in the past.
Keith Thurman has dismissed the idea of Crawford coming up as a super lightweight to welterweight to claim welterweight superiority.
Thurman is looking to get back into the title hunt and with Crawford now signed to Al Haymon’s PBC, it should be no issue making this fight happen while Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugás handle their fight in April.
#1. The winner of Errol Spence vs Yordenis Ugas
Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugás are on a collision course in April to determine who takes home the WBC, IBF, and WBA titles. Keith Thurman could opt to wait out his next appearance in the ring till later this year if it meant fighting the winner of this bout.
Keith Thurman just defeated Mario Barrios in a WBC title eliminator setting him on course to challenge for the WBC belt. Before Keith went down to Manny Pacquiao and took a two and a half year hiatus it was actually Spence’s WBC belt and Ugás WBA belt Thurman unified.
Though it would be risky to wait it out till the end of the year considering Thurman is riding momentum right now. I’m sure fighting for three of the four main belts would be enough to have Thurman wait it out for his crack at regaining his old belts and adding the IBF belt to the collection.