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Keith Thurman talks comeback, not respecting Terence Crawford at 147

Keith Thurman shares his thoughts on his road back to the ring and potential fights for him.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In this video interview with Fight Hub TV, Keith Thurman talks to Marcos Villegas about finally getting back in the ring after a long layoff and what he thinks about some big potential fights for him on the horizon. Check it out...

Thurman on how it feels to finally have a fight date after sitting out for so long:

“Definitely, you know, I mean, we’re just so happy to be back in the game. You know, it was a little depressing to have back-to-back injuries and to be out for so long. And also, I hit my peak, I accomplished my greatest boxing accomplishment and then I haven’t been back in the ring since. So, you know, emotionally there’s been its ups and downs with it but I have a great team, I’ve got a lot of support, and the number one thing that everybody says is ‘you will be back, champ! You are coming back.’

“And the only thing was I didn’t do a lot of interviews because everyone was gonna keep asking ‘When is it? When is it? When is it?’ but here it is, it is January 26th, Josesito Lopez. And so it just feels good to know that we have a fight date, we have an opponent, and to know that we’re gonna be back in action in the welterweight division, defending this world title and just putting on a great performance — reminding the world who Keith Thurman is and what I bring to the sport of boxing.”

On what he thinks when he sees Shawn Porter holding the WBC title that he never lost in the ring:

“You know, he’s borrowing it. You know what I’m saying? A little bit. That’s how I feel deep down, you know. But, ultimately too, I like the fact that he fought for it. You fight for a title, you’re a champion. And Shawn was a champion before, he’s always been competitive at 147. He’s had his ups and downs. You know, I obviously believe that any day that we step in the ring, I got his card. You know, I got it the first time, I’ll have it again, but it was a great fight the first time, I think it would be a tremendous fight the second time.

“I would actually love to, you know, really — because, Shawn, it was a close fight, so I know Shawn just feels like there was a little meat on the bone and he wants another bite out of it. So I would just like to get a more decisive victory if that fight presents itself in 2019 because you cannot look past any opponent, Josesito Lopez. Outside of that you have Manny Pacquiao that’s fighting Adrien Broner, and he’s a wild card as a potential fight. I don’t know if Pacquiao is thinking about the [WBA] ‘Super’ title, you know, but he may be so, I do look forward to watching that fight and seeing if that comes up later in the year for negotiation.

“But all that we’re focused on is getting back, staying healthy, and just reminding the world who Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is. That he’s not ‘Sometime,’ that he’s not ‘Run Time,’ that he’s a real world class champion who goes toe-to-toe and has exciting fights.’

On what he thinks of people poking fun at him with the ‘Sometime’ and ‘Run Time’ monikers:

“It’s fun. You know, it’s fun...The best one is Keith ‘Once Upon A Time’ Thurman, because of the injuries. You know but, what I feel like people really don’t understand is that I’ve worked 23 years to be where I am in the sport of boxing. This is my blood, sweat, my tears. This is my passion. This is just all that I’ve ever wanted, so to not fight is to not continue to live the dream. This [belt] right here is the dream come true. And I’m just grateful that we are stepping back into the ring, that the dream does go on, that it does get continued.

“There’s a lot of athletes, and a lot of potential athletes — or potential stars — who get caught up in the streets, get caught up with injuries that pull them out of their sport, you know? Achilles, spinal issues, car accidents, just anything. There’s tragic stories of super young college kids going to a party and not making it back from that at the end of the day I’m just grateful to still be here and it’s beautiful that boxing is where it is today — that we got this deal with FOX, and I’m in the mix...”

On Errol Spence believing that he won’t ever fight him:

“[That’s just] foolish. But obviously, he’s been ready. He’s never been injured. You know what I mean? And it’s just different when some athletes get to go throughout their whole athletic career without injuries and others suffer injuries. Look at Kobe at the end of his career...It just happens, man. So, like I said, I’m just happy to still be in the game. I look forward to showcasing my skills and talent and reminding them ‘Oh yeah, that is Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and he’s not no pushover, it’s not gonna be easy to walk through him.”

On his thoughts on Terence Crawford’s stoppage of Jose Benavidez:

“No thoughts. Didn’t watch the fight, sounded boring. Heard everybody talk about it the next day — still sounded boring! Okay, fighting somebody with a limp — no disrespect...I heard the boy was decent but he was flatfooted, he suffered an injury — it wasn’t even just an injury, it was a gunshot wound. You know, I’ve talked to fighters in the past, old school fighters who have suffered the same thing, got shot in the shoulder. Their hooks were never the same, their straight right hands were never the same.

“You know, at 147 Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford’s competition: zero respect. Has not been impressive.”

On Crawford beating Jeff Horn, a former titleholder:

“Pffft. Former what?! Ok, Jeff Horn. Who is Jeff Horn?! Nobody! I got so many different disrespectful things that I could say right now. I don’t even wanna do it because that was back then, doesn’t even matter now. But Amir Khan can beat Jeff Horn, you know what I’m saying? I don’t even know if Terence Crawford can beat Amir Khan. Amir Khan is better than a lot of [Crawford’s] competition lately.

“So I know there’s a lot of people, I respect Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, I just don’t respect him at 147 yet. You know what I’m saying? I love the stripes, I love everything he’s accomplished before he moved up to this weight division, but I just think this weight division separates itself from all the lower divisions. You know, we are the biggest of the smaller weights. What do I mean by that? At 147, it’s the last weight class where you wear 8oz gloves...So I’m a natural welterweight, Crawford isn’t. Spence is a natural welterweight, Shawn Porter is a natural welterweight, you know, and even Danny Garcia — he’s a smaller welterweight, but Terence hasn’t fought anybody that I think can compete with those kind of fighters.

“So at 147 it’s very [un]impressive and he’s gonna have to do more if he wants me to respect what he’s doing in the welterweight division. And obviously he doesn’t need my respect, he can keep doing what he’s doing, and he’s a tremendous fighter and he’s exciting to watch. A lot of people love the skills and talent that he brings to the ring. He trains hard, I know the kid from the amateurs, I have love and respect for him, but I don’t respect what he’s accomplished at 147. Not yet.”

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