By: Hans Themistode
Certain fighters are synonymous with the division they currently fight in.
When the name Tyson Fury is mentioned, the overwhelming thought is that he is the best Heavyweight in the world. Canelo Alvarez brings about the same feeling when mentioning the Middleweight division. Vasiliy Lomachenko is the first name that comes to mind whenever the Lightweight division is brung up in conversations.
In the case of the Welterweight division, there are two names that are usually brought up before anyone else. Those would be WBO titlist Terence Crawford and unified champion Errol Spence Jr. Although you would be hard pressed to find a unanimous decision in terms of who is the better fighter, the consensus is that they are the best Welterweights in the world.
Non undying fans of Manny Pacquaio just collectively tossed their computer screens across the room. The now 41 year Pacquiao may garner a few votes, but Spence and Crawford are still in the driver’s seat.
Yet, just a few short years ago, Keith Thurman was the unquestioned best man in the division.
In 2017, then unified champ Keith Thurman had it all. He was fast, strong, smart and with wins over Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, Thurman was looked at as a star as he held two titles. Fast forward three years later and he looks much different.
The undefeated record is gone. And so are both of his belts. With constant injuries derailing him, Thurman is determined to replace both Spence and Crawford as the best in the division.
“I wanna become a complete monster again, because that’s what I’m capable of,” said Thurman. “I’ve dominated the welterweight division before, and I believe that I can do it again if I come back 100 percent.”
For now, Thurman sits on his familiar chair on the sidelines as he recovers from recent hand surgery. But thanks to the Coronavirus pressing pause indefinitely on the normality of sports around the world, Thurman is using his time away from the sport to his advantage.
“It feels pretty strong, as far it’s all in one piece,” Thurman said. “The flexibility is almost back to 100 percent, so we’re real happy with that. We just know that it hasn’t punched in a while and we still have to build up a little bit more strength in some of the small ligaments around it, to get ready for heavy contact.”
“It’s really just by feel right now. With nothing really on the calendar or anything, I’m not trying to go all out. We’re just building up into heavier contact. But I am getting into light contact as of now. So, it’s really just off of feel. But, you know, being a heavy puncher, I’ve hurt myself many times. So, at the end of the day, we’re just gonna see how it holds up and take it in stages.”