By Dan Ambrose: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says fans shouldn’t mind paying $74.75 to see him face Mario Barrios in his comeback on FOX Sports pay-per-view on February 5th because they’ll be seeing a “stacked card” from top to bottom. The event organizers could be asking for trouble in charging $74.75 for Thurman’s comeback.
If One Time were fighting someone like Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, or Gervonta Davis, it wouldn’t be a big deal to ask that much, but he’s facing former paper champion in Barrios, who is coming off a KO loss to Tank.
(Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)
Unfortunately, fans disagree with former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) that his fight card against former WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight champion Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) is a “stacked” card at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Boxing fans feel that Thurman hasn’t been fighting enough to justify a steep $75 for what essentially is a tune-up for his comeback fight. For Thurman, this is his fourth fight in five years. That’s less than one fight per year.
Thurman vs. Barrios undercard:
- Josesito Lopez vs. Abel Ramos
- Leo Santa Cruz vs. Keenan Carbajal
- Enriko Gogokhia vs. Kent Cruz
- Fernando Vargas vs. Kody Koboski
- Luis Nery vs. Carlos Castro
Former four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz is a good fighter, but he’s coming off a vicious knockout loss to Gervonta Davis in October 2020. Santa Cruz’s fight with little-known Keenan Carbajal is a tune-up fight and not expected to be highly competitive. Carbajal isn’t a contender. He’s a second-tier fighter.
In the chief support bout, 37-year-old fringe welterweight contender Josesito Lopez (38-8, 21 KOs) will be facing Abel Ramos (27-4-2, 21 KOs). At this point in Josesito’s career, he’s a journeyman-level fighter.
It’s fair to say that neither of those guys will win a world title for the remainder of their careers. Josesito has been around and faced a lot of top guys during his long career, but he’s not a champion and not going to be.
Former two-division world champion Luis Nery is coming off a seventh round knockout loss to Brandon Figueroa in May 2021.
Nery’s opponent Carlos Castro is unbeaten and highly ranked, but he has no power and has never fought anyone of note. Castro is NOT a household name, and neither is Nery.
Thurman explains $74.74 PPV cost
“Where you are now isn’t where you were yesterday,” said Thurman to Behind The Gloves when asked why his fight with Barrios is selling for $74.95 on FOX Sports pay-per-view. 2022, COVID, so much has changed in the world. Go buy your groceries. How much do your groceries cost today?
“You’re going to pay $80 bucks buying groceries,” Thurman continued in justifying the $74.75 price for his comeback fight against the recently knocked out former 140-lb secondary WBA champion Barrios.
“You’re going to pay $40 putting water in the refrigerator. So if you’re going to talk about prices, I’m going to put my political hat on and start talking about the value of the U.S dollar. I’m going to start talking about how bubblegum isn’t 25 cents no more.
Let’s look at February 5th. What do you get? You’re not just getting Keith Thurman and Mario Barrios. This is not Shawn Porter against Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford where nobody wants to watch the undercard,” said ‘One Time’ Thurman.
Given that the pandemic is going on and many boxing fans are hurting for money, the price of PPV shouldn’t be going up. It should be going down, especially for Thurman, who has been out of the limelight for three years since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019.
If Thurman were a world champion, fighting frequently and beating the best, $75 would be reasonable to charge fans. But in this case, Thurman has had two long layoffs in the last five years, consisting of 2+ years each, and his record is 1-1.
Thurman’s activity during the last seven years:
- 2021 – inactive
- 2020 – inactive
- 2019 – Manny Pacquiao & Josesito Lopez
- 2018 – inactive
- 2017 – Danny Garcia
- 2016 – Shawn Porter
- 2015 – Luis Collazo & Robert Guerrero
Keith says the undercard is STACKED
“This is one of the most stacked undercards of the year,” said Thurman. “I cannot guarantee that my next fight will have an undercard as stacked as this card. I’m going to be backstage warming up watching every single fight.
“It’s going to be a great night of boxing,” said Thurman. “From the moment the pay-per-view hits, you’re going to have action-packed fights. This is not just the Thurman show. I would love to take all the credit.
“The roster that we have is tremendous. I’m looking forward to sneak-peaking some of these fights backstage. There’s going to be some stuff that you’re not going to want to miss.
“Josesito Lopez vs. Abel Ramos is one of them. Both of those fighters don’t know how to move backward. Someone is going to get hurt; someone is going to need a doctor. I can predict it.
“Those boys are going to be throwing punches left and right, they’re not going to be moving an inch, and they’re going to be trying to make a statement.
“I want my fight to be the best fight of the night, but I can’t guarantee that with his career. You have great fights throughout the whole night. This is not your average pay-per-view. This is not where you’re buying Floyd Mayweather. This is not where you’re buying just one fight.
“This is a stacked card, and when you take that into respect, I think you’ll understand why we’re asking $75 for this pay-per-view. This is a night of boxing that true fight fans are not going to miss,” said Thurman.
Dan Ambrose disagrees with Thurman about his assertion that his undercard is stacked. The fact is, the undercard is barren of high-level fights.
Yeah, there are two talented fighters on the undercard in Luis Nery and Leo Santa Cruz, but neither of them is world champions. Moreover, they’re BOTH coming off knockout losses.
Thurman suggests inviting friends
“Anybody that wants to keep their night of COVID safe, they don’t want to go to the club,” said Thurman. “By the fight, invite some friends over, and make them give you $10.
“I’ll take the burden away from you. Ask them to bring a pack of beer. Bring the fish & chips out, whatever you need to do, because it’s going to be a great night.
“This is 2022, the year that we’re in, and it’s where we are in the world. It’s going to be a great night of boxing,” said Thurman.
I don’t think enough boxing fans will be willing to purchase Thurman vs. Barrios on PPV for it to turn a profit, but it could be wrong.
At this point, Thurman has been out of the ring for too long for him to be fighting on PPV, and his opponent isn’t a pay-per-level fighter.
I know Barrios fought on PPV in his last fight, but he was facing Gervonta Davis. That fight wasn’t PPV-worthy either, but Mayweather Promotions took a gamble and put on pay-per-view.