By Ron Goodall
Welterweight world champion Keith “One Time” Thurman will return to the ring against Josesito Lopez that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FOX at the Barclays Center in New York City January 26. Keith Thurman
Thurman has last been seen in a boxing ring back in March 2017 when he unified with an undefeated, 2 division world champion, Danny Garcia for the WBC & WBA “Super” welterweight titles. That was approximately 22 months ago.
Following the next month, Thurman went into surgery to extract calcium deposits from his right elbow. Thurman later suffered a “deep bruise” on his left hand during training that prevented him from entering the ring in 2018.
For a fighter, it is very difficult for a fighter to return from a lengthy absence. When Felix Trinidad returned from two years, five months, layoff he went on to defeat Ricardo Mayorga in 2004. Unfortunately, he was not able to perform against Ronald “Winky” Wright and was dominated in their fight.
All-time great Sugar Ray Robinson, with attempts to regain the middleweight title from a two-year absence, would first face Joe Rindone. Ralph “Tiger” Jones would later beat Sugar Ray following that fight in an upset loss.
Muhammad Ali made his 3½-year layoff comeback and would look perfectly fine against Jerry Quarry. However, five months went by and he met up with Joe Frazier in a classic showdown. Ali did not just lose but was dropped in the 5th round.
Of course, then you would have Floyd Mayweather Jr. Who took almost a two-year layoff after defeating Ricky Hatton in 2017. Mayweather would later face and dominate 4 division world champion Juan Manuel Márquez in a 2019 showdown in the Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand. Mayweather would later go on undefeated throughout his current professional boxing career.
Keith Thurman told the media “I don’t think ring rust will be an issue. 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.”
Keith Thurman will enter the fight against Josesito Lopez as the favorite. If he gets through Lopez, Thurman will have a loaded division with former opponent and WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr, WBO welterweight champion Terrence Crawford. Former 2 division world champion Danny Garcia is also in the mix as well WBA welterweight champion and 8 division world champion Manny Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao is coming off a dominating win over 4 division world champion Adrien Broner last Saturday. Only time will tell how “One Time” will do after his time off.