Former unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman is finally ready to snap a 29-month layoff from the sport.

Thurman has been out of the ring since suffering the first defeat of his career, when he lost a twelve round split decision to Manny Pacquiao in July of 2019.

Thurman will return on February 5, when he takes on former WBA 'regular' junior welterweight champion Mario Barrios, who makes his debut at 147-pounds.

At 33-years-old, Thurman has no time to waste in getting his career back on track.

"I'm happy with my return. I'm excited to be back in Las Vegas, injury free and ready to give the fans a great fight. It's not ideal to let time go by like this, but it was a blessing, I meditated and organized, I prioritized," Thurman told DAZN.

"There's always pressure in fights, but you have to have the pressure to be able to turn coal into diamonds. It's the path of the warrior, but it has a lot of beauty. A round of applause to Mario Barrios who wants to prove himself, wants to make a name for himself in this division. We'll make new stories."

There are plenty of options for Thurman at 147 - should he beat Barrios.

WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence, WBO champion Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, WBA champion Yordenis Ugas - are among some of the top options at the weight.

"Once I feel comfortable, I'll go for greatness. We know we've fallen off the ladder and we're looking up. That's good, because we're going to take it one step at a time to get back to where we were," Thurman said.

"The fire has been burning inside me all my life. When you're in this sport, you're in it to win. You have to do it. That competitiveness is natural to me. No matter how long I'm out, I'm thinking about boxing."