As we approach Keith Thurman's planned May 19 return to the ring, more and more details about a possible opponent have come out.
In an interview with Kevin Iole, Thurman, the unified WBC and WBA "super" welterweight champion, revealed that his first fight back will likely not be against a top-10 fighter from either the WBC or WBA.
"First thing is first, We just want to make sure that we're back completely. I might not even fight anybody in the top 10 in my comeback fight. We'll have to see what we negotiate, but outside of that, the second fight should not really be against the No. 2 guy. I can go after someone from the top seven up, the top five up, but shouldn't be the No. 2 guy," Thurman said.
If we're taking Thurman's quote at face value, then the following WBC-ranked fighters wouldn't be considered to be Thurman's return opponent: Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Jessie Vargas, Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo, Ray Robinson, Konstantin Ponomarev, Brandon Rios and Adrian Granados.
As for the WBA, that list would be Tewa Kiram, Garcia, Terence Crawford, Jamal James, Carlos Adames, Kerman Lejarraga, David Avanesyan, Qudratillo Abduqaxorov and Fabian Maidana.
Thurman had already told Fightful last year that he wouldn't be fighting Porter, who is the mandatory challenger to Thurman's WBC title. Given Thurman's stance on not fighting a world-class elite fighter in his first time back, it's also likely he will not be fighting WBA "regular" welterweight champion as the WBA hopes to eventually unify the "regular" and "super" titles in all weight classes.
Thurman's return is scheduled to take place on May 19 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Thurman has been out of action since last March due to elbow surgery. The interview can be seen in the video above.