Former WBA Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman Jr. could soon be making a return to the ring after being sidelined by a hand injury since mid-2019. The boxer had long-drawn-out pain in his left hand and was forced to have surgery where doctors fused his metacarpals.
The 31-year-old lost his WBA Welterweight Championship against the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao on July 20, 2019, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
The loss was the first of Thurman’s superb career, and he credited his hand injury as a major reason why. Nevertheless, he says he is working his way back to full strength and believes that he will come back stronger than ever.
“I’m gaining strength,” said Thurman. “I’m gaining confidence as I build to bigger punches. I do believe that I will be full throttle sooner than later.”
“The hand is the only real issue right now. As far as mentally, it was a big mental barrier in the Pacquiao fight. You yourself should be able to point out ‘Where’s the left hook, Keith?’… We didn’t see it that day”. Keith Thurman
Thurman said he is ‘happy’ with where he is at in his career and mentioned that his goal for the rest of his career is to stay healthy. He has experienced a variety of injuries during his 13-year boxing career, and he is aware that his time could be winding down far more quickly with another serious one. He says he has to listen to his body more rather than ignoring it because he does not want to miss any fights.
Thurman has a few options where he wants to take his career next. One potential matchup that is being speculated is one between him and Terence Crawford, whom he called out on Brian Custer's Last Stand Podcast.
“This Crawford dude, send me a contract bro, don’t act like I’m going to run from you,” said Thurman. “You never weighed 147, you never got respect in the game anyway at 147. You haven’t pushed the buttons at 147.”
It remains to be seen whether the super-fight between him and Crawford will be next up for Thurman. What is certain, however, is that any bout with the former undefeated champion will surely grab headlines.