By: Sean Crose
“It was a little bit of a slow start after so many months out of the ring,” says Keith Thurman of training camp, “but I’m feeling great as we get closer to the fight. I’m starting to feel more and more like a world-class athlete again. It’s a good feeling working this hard and it reminds me what it’ll take to continue being the champion.” After close to two years out of the ring, the 28-0 Thurman will be returning this Saturday to face the 36-7-0 Josesito Lopez at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card will start airing live at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time as part of the PBC on Fox and Fox Deportes.
“I don’t think ring rust will be an issue,” the Florida based Thurman says. “The only thing that even if this may not be the best Keith Thurman that people have ever seen, we’re focused on getting better and much stronger with each fight. But make no mistake, people will see one of the best welterweights in the world on January 26 at Barclays Center.” Thurman, who has been healing from an injury, actually gave up his WBC welterweight title, though he still holds the major WBA welterweight strap, which he will be defending against Lopez on Saturday.
In truth, there has been a concern about the injury prone Thurman’s time away from the ring, something the undefeated fighter doesn’t make light of. “You always have to be a little worried about new injuries,” says Thurman. “There’s nothing wrong with your car until the day it decides to break down. So at the end of the day, it’s always in the back of my mind. I run a lot of miles, so I wonder about my knees. I wonder about my shoulders also. Athletes and their bodies go through a lot of things. But here I go getting right back into things and I’m totally ready to showcase my talents on January 26.”
As for Lopez, the engaging Thurman refuses to overlookthe veteran of 43 fights. “Josesito,” he says, “is experienced. He’s a busy fighter with good reach. He likes to mix it up and force his opponents to fight. He also has a new coach in Robert Garcia now, and I know he has a lot of confidence in his abilities. Josesito has been through ups and downs in his career, but he’s back on an upswing at the moment. Then he pinpointed me and called me out. So I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Thurman, who has knocked out over three quarters of his opponents, wants to show on Saturday that there’s more to him than just power punching. “”I’m going to show my versatility in the ring,” he says. “I’m going to show Josesito what it’s like to be in the ring with me. He might think it’s just all about my power, but I’ll show him what none of his sparring partners could. I’m going to show everyone the full package of skills I bring and enjoy every second of it.”