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Keith Thurman to face Mario Barrios in Jan. 29 return on FOX pay-per-view

Keith Thurman hasn’t fought since 2019, but is looking at an early 2022 return.

Keith Thurman is looking set to return to the boxing ring
Keith Thurman is looking set to return to the boxing ring
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

UPDATE (5:28 pm ET): Keith Thurman will be facing former secondary 140 lb titlist Mario Barrios on Jan. 29, Mike Coppinger reports at ESPN. — Scott

Keith Thurman is reportedly looking at a return to the ring on Jan. 29 in Las Vegas, with Dan Rafael reporting it would be a FOX pay-per-view, because everything bigger than a Vito Mielnicki main event apparently has to be a pay-per-view with FOX now.

Thurman, who just turned 33, hasn’t fought since his summer 2019 loss to Manny Pacquiao, a fight closer than many remember but a deserved win for Manny, too. The former welterweight titlist has had a number of injuries over the past few years, and this is hardly his first long break. He also didn’t fight for 22 months between beating Danny Garcia and struggling to beat Josesito Lopez in a Jan. 2019 return.

In all, Thurman has only fought four times since 2015, beating Shawn Porter in 2016, Garcia in 2017, and Lopez in 2019 before the loss to Pacquiao.

PBC do have a number of sort of mid-tier welterweights on hand for a Thurman (29-1, 22 KO) return, not guys you’d think of as pay-per-view headliners, but Luis Ortiz vs Charles Martin is a pay-per-view main event now, too. You might not want to pay for Keith Thurman vs Abel Ramos or Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero, but that might be exactly what you’re asked to do in January. In theory, Thurman could also return at 154 lbs, so maybe we’re looking at Bryant Perrella or Terrell Gausha instead.

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