The last time boxing fans saw Keith Thurman in the ring, he had his hand raised in victory after a close fight against Danny Garcia, unifying the WBA and WBC welterweight titles in the process.
That was 22 months ago and since then, the 147-pound division division has undergone drastic changes. Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford emerged as the latest superstars at welterweight, winning the IBF and WBO titles, respectively. Shawn Porter reclaimed the WBC title and Manny Pacquiao has signed with Premier Boxing Champions.
At the height of his career, Thurman was undoubtedly the best welterweight in the world, but now that appears to no longer be the case. With the aforementioned champions gaining a lot of momentum since Thurman's last fight, the debate as to who is the best welterweight in the world today is rages on, but Thurman wants to erase all doubts when he steps into the ring on January 26.
Thurman will defend his WBA title against Josesito Lopez in the main event of a PBC card on Fox taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Now that Thurman is ready to go after elbow surgery and a left hand injury, the unbeaten champion told Fightful in a recent media conference call that the fight against Lopez isn't just a title defense, it's an opportunity to remind boxing who the top welterweight in the world is.
“We’re back on the stage and so, we’re going to perform. We’re going to give you guys a great performance. You guys are the critics. You get to say what Keith Thurman looks like and who looks to be the next top guy, x, y and z and all that stuff. I’ve always said I’m the original ‘Problem,’ I am ‘The Truth,’ I’m ‘Swift.’ It is what it is man. I belong here. I’ve been telling people that Keith Thurman was ranked No. 1. Two years out, do I hold my position? Some people say yes. Some people say no. I still don’t know my position. ‘Where do you put Keith Thurman? If he’s not No. 1, then he’s No. 2. Oh, but you also have that Crawford guy out there. Then, he’s No. 3.’ Look I worked my whole life to be at the top of my game and if you’re ranked No. 1, 2 or 3, then you’re at the top. I don’t stress that stuff. I don’t look at anything negative. I constantly focus on the positive and I’m stepping back into the ring against Josesito Lopez to remind the world who Keith Thurman is, what it looks like when he’s fighting, how entertaining I can be and that I am an elite fighter at 147," Thurman said.
You can listen to Thurman's comments on the welterweight division in the video above as well as his thoughts on a potential fight against Pacquiao down the road.