By Jack Tiernan: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman lashed out at fans this week in response to their disinterest in his “get-back” tune-up fight against Mario Barrio this Saturday night at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)
It doesn’t help that Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) is making his second comeback in the last five years and the price tag is a hefty $74.95 on FOX Sports pay-per-view.
It’s a mix of things that has fans disinterested in having to pay to watch Thurman fight another tune-up in Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs).
Reasons why fans are NOT interested in Thurman’s comeback:
- $74.95 price point
- Thurman & Barrios coming off defeats
- Thurman-Barrios is NOT PPV worthy
- Fans have forgotten about Thurman
- Poor timing: Fans being asked to pay during the pandemic
- Fight viewed as a money-grab for Thurman
- Keith is not expected to regain his #1 spot
If this were the first comeback for Thurman after 2 1/2 years of inactivity, boxing fans would have more patience. But this is the second long layoff for Thurman, and the boxing public has moved on.
They no longer view Thurman as a viable 147-pounder, and they feel he would lose to most of the top 10 at this point in his career. That being the case, it’s a mistake on Thurman and his management’s part to sell this tune-up on PPV.
It should be free. If Thurman is able to work his way back to a title position, only then should be trying to peddle his fights to the public.
Until then, he needs to get active again, fight three times a year and work his way back into position for a world title shot.
Unfortunately, Thurman is doing the opposite of that. He wants a world title shot immediately after his tune-up fight with Barrios, and that suggests that his comeback is only about money rather than the love for the sport.
Thurman scolds fans for having short memories
“Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman was the #1 welterweight in the world and there’s a reason for that. So I want to resolidify that reason. I want to awaken everybody because that’s the problem with these fight fans out here,” said Thurman to Premier Boxing Champions.
“You got short memories. You’re just short-term memories. Whoever is fighting, you see the clamor and you hop on the train,” said Thurman in scolding fans for not getting excited about his comeback against Barrios.
“Now you’re a fan of this fighter, now you’re a fan of that fighter. For those types of fight fans, Thurman’snot the type of guy to give them their fix. My inactivity, my layoffs, they don’t get their fix through me, but that’s okay.
“We’re looking forward to staying very active this year and the years to continue. We got February, we got July-August, and from that point, you got December and January,” said Thurman when asked how many times he plans on fighting in 2022.
“Can I squeeze in three? Do I do two and then we’re back on the books early next year in January? For me, that’s what the calendar is looking like. I definitely want to stay active and have the most.
“I’m still in my prime at 33-years-old and I got a lot to show. I think my body has been moving better than ever. I feel better today than I did in 2019.
“No matter what, it was going to be some type of get-back fight, and Mario Barrios was the only former world champion that was presented to me,” said Thurman when asked why he’s fighting Barrios.
“People can criticize this fight all they want, but if I had picked any other opponent, I would have suffered more criticism. So, I respect this fight and I respect anybody moving up in weight to a brand new division.
“Mario Barrios is fighting a former ranked #1 welterweight in the world, and you don’t do that without wanting to make a statement in the welterweight division,” said Thurman.