Keith "One Time" Thurman back in the ring for the first time in 22 months
By Bill Tibbs
On January 26th, undefeated WBA world welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman returns to the ring for his first fight since March of 2017 after healing up from hand and elbow injuries.
The undefeated 147-pounder is facing off against veteran Josesito Lopez who has shared the ring with the likes of Jesse Vargas, Victor Ortiz, Marcos Maidana Saul Alvarez and Andre Berto. At age 34, with 16-years in the ring behind him, Lopez will be a motivated fighter as he knows that title shots won’t just keep coming along and he has to make the most of this opportunity.
Going into the fight, Lopez has a tough task on his hands as he has only fought one time per year dating back to 2015 and he is facing a fighter that is looking to again show that he is indeed the cream of the 147-pound crop. Lopez has experience in title fights having fought Andre Berto in 2015 and Saul Alvarez in 2012 but came up short in both fights.
Thurman has had an extremely impressive run as a champion after winning the (interim) WBA welterweight title in 2013. He defended that 3 times before wining the full WBA welterweight title in 2015 against Robert Guerrero. This will be the 4th defense of his WBA title that was elevated by the organization to “Super” status in 2017, (multiple-time world champion Manny Pacquiao currently holds the WBA regular welterweight title).
In a recent interview, the well-spoken, undefeated Thurman gave his thoughts on where he sees himself as he kicks of 2019.
“I’ve worked 23 years to be where I am in the sport of boxing. This is my blood, sweat, my tears. This is my passion”, said the Clearwater, Florida native. “This is just all that I’ve ever wanted, so to not fight is to not continue to live the dream. This (belt) right here is the dream come true. And I’m just grateful that we are stepping back into the ring, that the dream does go on, that it does get continued”, he said.
Mainly though, you get the impression that Thurman is happy to be healthy again as he knows a career can change in an instant, especially in the sport of boxing.
“There’s a lot of athletes, and a lot of potential athletes, or potential stars, who get caught up in the streets, get caught up with injuries that pull them out of their sport, you know? Achilles, spinal issues, car accidents, just anything”, he said. “There’s tragic stories of super young college kids going to a party and not making it back from that party, so at the end of the day I’m just grateful to still be here and it’s beautiful that boxing is where it is today, that we got this deal with FOX, and I’m in the mix”.
Thurman also addressed some jabs that have come his way via social media during his extended absence from the ring to make it clear that he is still indeed “One Time”.
“But all that we’re focused on is getting back, staying healthy, and just reminding the world who Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is. That he’s not ‘Sometime,’ that he’s not ‘Run Time,’ that he’s a real world class champion who goes toe-to-toe and has exciting fights.”