Whatever comes of his 2020 campaign, Keith Thurman has vowed that it won’t include any of the same mistakes he made the prior year.
The former welterweight titlist has been forced to sit on the lone loss of his career—a split decision defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao—for more than 10 months, and likely much longer as the sport continues to remain on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The decisions made in his life leading to that point have all been taken well into consideration as self-maintenance continues while waiting for the chance to return to the ring.
“Really, it’s more my wife encouraging me to not eat ice cream during the quarantine,” Thurman (29-1, 22KOs) quipped to BoxingScene.com of the secret to keep his weight down before getting to what really worked. “We’ve just been doing a lot of home cooking. It’s allowed us to control my weight.
“My biggest mistake in 2019 was my weight management. I’m really upset at myself for limiting myself, for not being the best that I can be because I didn’t prepare properly. I put myself in a very hurtful situation last year.”
Last January marked what should have been a triumphant comeback for the Florida-bred welterweight. Instead, he showed flaws in a 12-round win over Josesito Lopez, his first fight in 22 months after having suffered multiple injuries over that stretch following his March 2017 title unification win over Danny Garcia.
Thurman himself acknowledge—jokingly or otherwise—that he looked vulnerable enough versus Lopez to entice Pacquiao to agree to a fight. Their memorable title fight last July resulted in the first loss of Thurman’s career, a 1st round knockdown leaving him in an early hole he was never able to overcome.
By his own account, the greatest disservice he dealt himself heading into both fights was failing to stay in reasonable shape outside of training camp.
“The first fight (back) against Josesito Lopez, I can forgive for that. I can forgive myself for having to lose 35 pounds after 22 months of inactivity,” notes Thurman. “I can truly forgive myself for that right there. I cannot forgive myself for regaining every pound and having to re-lose it in a brand new training camp against Manny Pacquiao. When I already touched 147 in 2019, I should not have ever let myself (blow up) to 182 pounds again.
“Even with surgery after Pacquiao fight, with the dissatisfaction after the loss and inactivity, I hit 192. I was like ‘You’re not gonna be Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman ever again if this is how you want to live life.’ So, I just had to pull myself out of that mindset. I got down to 182, and I still wasn’t even healed yet. I told myself that I was at least down to where I was last time. The goal is just to keep bringing it down.”
Recent footage of the 31-year old training NFL quarterback Jameis Winston at his St. Pete Boxing Club showed Thurman holding true to his word, appearing at least in pre-training camp shape.
“168 is where I want to walk around before my next training camp,” Thurman notes. “If I’m at ’65, ’68 at the next start of my training camp, I think it will be a lot easier to maintain. Also to push myself and get the kind of performance that I want out of myself.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox