Well, it's finally come and went, and we got Keith “One Time” Thurman back in the win column over Mario Barrios this past weekend. The former unified champion is back on the title hunt after a 30-month layoff.
I know plenty of fans were disappointed in him not getting the stoppage win here, especially those with those bet slips. Thurman himself hinted as much post-fight as well, but if it's any defense, it wasn't from lack of effort here. Just the reality that it never was is in Thurman's game. When he tried to close the show, Barrios had a body shot waiting for him, and the rest of the fight night continued as the fight began. Thurman boxed and used his footwork and distance to ensure that any chance Barrios had in the night disappeared.
Barrios's face post-fight went viral as his nose was busted early on in the fight and, in the end, looked like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants.
— Nayk Tyson (@boxing_bird81) February 6, 2022
“This was a comeback fight after two and a half years away,” Thurman said post-fight. “I wish I had my best performance, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. “I grade this performance a C+ or B- for myself.”
Honesty is the best policy, and Thurman's assessment is definitely that. That is what I felt was the biggest takeaway from this fight from Thurman. He looked quicker and sharper here, albeit Barrios only had one way to him, and that wasn't working at all. Once Thurman realized early on his footwork would get him past Barrios, this was pretty one-sided. Wherever it's in the ring or any other sports, you know the cliche. Speed kills.
I'll give “One Time” the B- as I'll always grade up on fellow Tampa Bay Area natives. This card was on pay-per-view like endless others will be this year, and let's be real here, Keith passes the ring rust test here, but what's next?
Thurman mentioned he wants a title shot but from who? Errol Spence is busy with Yordenis Ugas in April, and Terence Crawford is waiting on a court date with his lawsuit against Top Rank. Does the winner of Spence/Ugas take on Thurman next? Not likely, and if Spence wins, I don't think he has amnesia remembering when he was wearing the same shoes that Thurman is rocking now.
The ones that weren't getting the fight when he was the unified champ back in the day or any time literally the past decade. My mom always warned me about the shoe being on the other foot, and it definitely is now.
So what is realistically next for Thurman? Time will tell, but this version of Thurman we saw last Saturday night is going to be the B-side both on the marquee and the sportsbooks against any true welterweight in the division. Barrios is fighting now at his natural weight, which will help him down the line, but he had nothing much for Thurman Saturday night.
I can't wait to see it either way, however. Thurman talked this fight up and is still talking after it now, so I expect to see him back sooner than two years here in the ring. It's why in a perfect world of boxing, the next fight for Thurman should be against Jaron “Boots” Ennis. What will likely happen is the winner of Spence/Ugas instead.
Thurman mentioned being active after this fight which is fine but at what cost? This was a pay-per-view, and for some odd reason, I still don't have the official attendance numbers from who attended the past fight at Mandalay Bay. Maybe I'll get them with the final pay-per-view buy rates for this card, but the eye test can tell you this wasn't a big event. (Or be hidden, sealed, and never heard from again like the purse amounts from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Amazing how this sport keeps finding ways to keep these numbers away from the public.) If they weren't shit, maybe we would have heard about it by now. But since they are, we were left to interpretations and what we see (or do not see) at the venue.
With this event done and over with, that now makes boxing 3rd pay per views this year that didn't need to happen. Boxing is determined to stick to this model, so it's only going to keep jacking up more of these like three-pointers at an NBA game. If the business of boxing model puts things on free TV that shouldn't make air and anything of substance behind a paywall, expect more than just Keith Idec to complain about it in 2022, rightfully.
So until the next fight card they'll ask the public to pay up for, Thurman looked fine, just not fine enough to justify the price tag to find out.
You can follow me on Twitter @weaksauceradio.