Keith Thurman: The Greatest Hits

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A look back at the former unified welterweight champ's finest performances ahead of his 147-pound showdown versus former super lightweight champ Mario Barrios Saturday night on FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view.

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Top Welterweights Discuss the Return of Keith Thurman Against Mario Barrios

A poet from Pensacola once coined the phrase, “Y’all Musta Forgot!” The popular refrain could also be applied to the latest saga of another Florida native, Clearwater’s Keith “One Time” Thurman.

Thurman, the former unified welterweight world champion, makes his much-anticipated ring return against former super lightweight champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios Saturday, February 5 in the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) blockbuster main event from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

It’s been 30 months since fight fans witnessed Thurman inside the squared circle. Once considered the heir apparent to the great Floyd Mayweather, Thurman lost his WBC and WBA 147-pound belts to Manny Pacquiao via split decision in an epic battle in July 2019. 

Injuries have kept the explosive, fan-friendly fighter out of the ring and now a rejuvenated Thurman is out to prove he’s hungrier than ever. But before “One Time” climbs through the ropes for what is expected to be another war, here is a look at his five greatest performances. 


Date: July 27, 2013

Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Result: Thurman KO 10

Records: Thurman 20-0 (18 KOs), Chaves 22-0 (18 KOs)

Summary: It was a battle between two rising, undefeated fighters eager to take a major step toward their world title aspirations. Thurman had a well-deserved reputation for being a KO artist but Chaves was no slouch himself. The war everyone expected broke out early as the two power-punchers stood toe-to-toe from the opening bell. Chaves landed his share of shots, including a right hand in the third which busted Thurman’s nose. Thurman found his range in the fourth and proceeded to break Chaves down. 

The steady onslaught of punches took its toll. In the ninth, Thurman forced Chaves to drop to one knee with a left hook to the ribs. Chaves made it out the round but in the tenth Thurman floored him once more and put him away for good at 0:28 of the round. 

“I saved my best tools for the later rounds," Thurman said. “I knew he would be in beautiful condition early on but that he would eventually die out. That's when I hit him with that beautiful body shot.” 

Thurman’s infamous gaffe during the post-fight interview was perhaps even more memorable than the victory. “I'd like to thank this beautiful city. Thank you, San Diego,” Thurman shouted. "San Antonio, I mean. San Antonio!” 


Date: December 14, 2013

Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Result: Thurman TKO 9 

Records: Thurman 21-0 (19 KOs), Soto Karass 28-8-3 (18 KOs)

Summary: Thurman would return to San Diego, err San Antonio, for his next bout – this time at the Alamodome against veteran Jesus Soto Karass. The Mexican slugger attacked soon as the opening bell rang, stunning Thurman with a big overhand right seconds into the fight. “One Time” gathered himself, responded in kind and the war was on. 

Ultimately, Thurman’s unique blend of skill, power athleticism and ring IQ allowed him to take over. In the fifth, a straight right-left hook combination drove Soto Karass to the mat and in the ninth he was felled for good when a vicious Thurman combination left him out on his feet before he hit the deck. Referee John Schorle wisely waved it off at 2:21 of the ninth. 

Thurman got it right this time during the post-fight interview. “San Antonio, baby.  Thank you.  There's a lot of tough guys out there but ‘One Time’ represents the KO every time.  They can take it for a few rounds, but they can't take it for 12 rounds.”

Robert Guerrero

Date: March 7, 2015

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

Result: Thurman UD 12 

Records: Thurman 21-0 (19 KOs), Soto Karass 28-8-3 (18 KOs)

At stake: Thurman’s WBA Welterweight World Title

Summary: Thurman, now the WBA 147-pound champ, kicked off PBC on NBC’s debut against four-division titlist Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in front of a raucous crowd of over 10,000 people at the world famous MGM. A clash of heads in the third caused a large knot on Thurman’s noggin’ yet didn’t slow him down. He dominated much of the action, tattooing Guerrero with eye-popping combinations until Guerrero’s face was a reddish blur.

Guerrero remained upright until the ninth, when a series of shots punctuated by a right uppercut caused him to crumple to the canvas. Ever the warrior, he beat the count and gamely fought back, demonstrating heart that brought the fans out of their seats. Even so, Thurman never lost command, winning a wide 12-round decision by scores of 120-109, 118-108 and 119-109. 

“Robert Guerrero was a tremendous warrior,” Thurman said. “He's known as 'The Ghost' and is a veteran, a [former] world champion. He showed it today and was a little more calm.

“I thought he was going to press more in the beginning rounds. But he's a veteran, and he knew how to pace himself and stay a little bit out of range. This was a tremendous fight and an incredible learning experience for me, Keith 'One Time' Thurman.”

Shawn Porter

Date: June 25, 2016

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Result: Thurman UD 12 

Records: Thurman 26-0 (22 KOs), Porter 26-1-1 (16 KOs)

At stake: Thurman’s WBA Welterweight World Title

Summary: It was the first primetime boxing event on CBS since Muhammad Ali fought Michael Spinks in 1978—and those who tuned in witnessed one of the greatest welterweight battles in the division’s rich history. Unsurprisingly, it involved two of the finest to emerge in this era, Thurman and “Showtime” Shawn Porter, the latter a former IBF world welterweight champion champing at the bit for another strap.

The Big Apple’s knowledgeable crowd watched a brutal, breathtaking back-and forth between two hungry, elite 147-pounders. Each took turns hurting the other both to the head and body. It was anybody’s fighting heading into the championship rounds. Porter was unrelenting and Thurman was up to the challenge, finishing strong to eke out a close decision. All three judges scored it 115-113 in his favor. 

“I want to thank Shawn Porter for a tremendous fight, he’s a great warrior,” Thurman said. “Defense is the key to victory. He smothers his punches a lot and makes it difficult for the judges to score. I was able to rock him with clear, effective blows and I believe that was the difference today. It’s all about defense. I had great defense today.”

Danny Garcia

Date: March 4, 2017

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Result: Thurman SD 12 

Records: Thurman 27-0 (22 KOs), Garcia 33-0 (19 KOs)

At stake: Thurman’s WBA and Garcia’s WBC Welterweight World Titles  

Summary: It was a bout fight fans had been anticipating, a unification matchup between two undefeated welterweight champions in their prime. The numbers backed this up. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center set an arena record for a boxing event with 16,533 people in attendance.  The peak audience for the PBC-SHOWTIME event on CBS reached 5.1 million viewers, the largest audience for a primetime boxing broadcast since 1998. 

Nearly all thought the fight would end early when Thurman staggered the steel-chinned Garcia in the first round with a left hook followed by a right hand. Garcia kept his composure and worked his way back into the fight after a rough start. In a bout that featured several adjustments from both fighters, Thurman found a path to victory, maintaining his lead despite Garcia’s late round surge to win a 12-round split decision. One judge scored it 115-113 for Garcia while Thurman won on the other two cards by scores of 116-112 and 115-113. 

“I thought I out-boxed him.” said Thurman. “I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight.  I knew when it was split and I had that widespread, I knew it had to go to me.

Weeks later, Thurman had surgery to remove calcium deposits in his right elbow, an injury which caused him severe pain during the Garcia bout. He was sidelined until January 2020, when he outpointed Josesito Lopez. That July, he suffered the loss to Manny Pacquiao. “One Time” is on a mission to reclaim his spot atop the welterweight throne, beginning this Saturday against Barrios on FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view.

For a closer look at Keith Thurman, check out his fighter page. 

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