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Keith Thurman vs Jessie Vargas likely for April

Keith Thurman’s return to the ring, against a former titleholder, is being worked on.

Keith Thurman v Danny Garcia Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Keith Thurman, who holds the WBC and WBA welterweight titles, sat out most of 2017 after surgery following his March 4 victory over Danny Garcia, but it looks like his return to action is close to being given the green light.

The 29-year-old fighter from Clearwater, Florida, is reportedly close to a deal to face Jessie Vargas at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 14, according to ESPN.

Thurman (28-0, 22 KO) recently spoke with Fight Hub TV about his progress after the successful surgery:

“We’re gonna pick a date that we feel comfortable with, and be ready to give you guys a great performance. What matters is that when you come back as an athlete, you come back strong. You come back too soon, and you don’t come back strong, that can shorten your career. Some people forget that this is my career, and I worked really hard to be where I am today, and I wanna maintain this for as long as I can. I’ve got a good team, I’ve got great doctors, so we feel confident.”

That gave us the idea that a return announcement was probably imminent, and it looks like that’s the case.

Vargas (28-2, 10 KO) sat out for 13 months after losing to Manny Pacquiao in November 2016, where he dropped the WBO welterweight belt he’d won earlier that year, before a successful return on December 15. He’s now advised by Al Haymon and fighting under the PBC banner, and his easy 10-round tuneup win over Aaron Herrera was expected to put him right into the big fight situation at 147. Again, it looks like that’s the case.

There will probably be some talk that Thurman is coming back somewhat light against the 28-year-old Vargas, rather than facing, say, mandatory challenger Shawn Porter, but considering it will have been over a year and some hard rehab since his last fight, I’d say that Vargas is an entirely reasonable opponent. Thurman would be the favorite, but we’ll see how he responds to the layoff. It’s never easy to come back from an injury.

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