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Keith Thurman assesses his win over Mario Barrios, likes potential Terence Crawford fight

Thurman breaks down his performance after his latest win and talks about how he can improve going forward.

Thurman took a unanimous decision over Barrios this past weekend.
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In the immediate aftermath of Keith Thurman’s decision win over Mario Barrios over the weekend, Thurman appeared at the post-fight press conference to discuss his thoughts on the fight, what improvements he can make, while also touching on a potential future fight against Terence Crawford. Check out some excerpts of what Thurman had to say below.

Thurman on how he felt in the ring

“I felt pretty good in there. I felt like after I landed some big shots I should’ve been able to have some follow ups but, you know, I learn, I assess everything, I just use my craftiness in there. He was more poised than I thought. I thought he’d be a little bit eager, I was trying to get him to take chances. There was no holding, that was kind of interesting and nice. We both stayed on the outside. He had a great jab like we expected and we just worked around it. I let him touch me a little bit but not touch me a lot, I landed the bigger shots, and that was the game plan the whole time.”

On not pressing the advantage when it looked like he had Barrios hurt several times

“I’m gonna be honest, man. I just need to get back to the killer. I think I was being a little bit too nice to my sparring partners, and just a little too nice to my past opponents. 12-round championship boxing is just that different level, and the last thing you want to do is try to get somebody out of there, fall short, and not have the gas for the later rounds. And I think what I need to do — I’m good at my endurance in the ring, I’m good at craftiness, I’m good at my movement, but I need that high intensity interval training where I pretty much need to be doing sprints, things to where once I land a nice shot I’m able to rush, rush, get back on that Mike Tyson.

“But we know, some people say, Mike Tyson was only a four-round, six-round fighter because he put so much energy in those early rounds trying to get those knockouts. So it’s a double-edged sword but I know the sport science and how to be crafty enough in boxing and it takes a different high interval training. There’s one modality from my sports nutritionist of a form of training that I’ve never used up to this day and I’m gonna stop neglecting that because I think that’s the one thing that I’m missing when it comes to finishing off these opponents and I do believe that once when I have that missing piece I can once again be at the top of this welterweight division.”

On Barrios hurting him with a body shot in the eighth round

“It was weird, man. I ain’t gonna lie. Backstage I was sitting down and I felt my body hurting with the cup. It was weird. I was like ‘Ohh you ain’t gonna wanna get touched there today, boy’. I know everybody talks about me and body shots, yadda yadda yadda, but maybe it has something to do with the weight (cut), maybe my liver is a little sensitive. I always try not to look at it like that, I like to say if somebody lands a good shot, they land a good shot, and body shots are just different.

“But it is interesting. If I breathe deeply I can still just kind of feel awkward in that body region. Like I said, I felt tenderness before I was even touched tonight, so that one shot definitely awakened a little sensation of discomfort and pain but it wasn’t the hardest I’ve ever been hit. If he was able to step in a little bit more, dig a little bit deeper, he may have been able to put me down. A lot of people who landed good body shots almost put me down but look, they still haven’t put me down bro. At the end of the day they can’t make it happen.

“So Pacquiao didn’t do it, Mario didn’t do it, and Luis Collazo didn’t do it. Shawn Porter didn’t do it — Shawn’s wasn’t that good, I backed up because it landed and then he rushed me and it looked bad on TV, I know it looked bad on TV, and the commentators jumped on I was hurt. I wasn’t really hurt. But the other three body shots that I’ve taken that you guys seen on highlights, Keith Thurman was hurt, but that’s what it means to be a world-class fighter. It’s like Phil Ivey, we got a poker face up in that ring. And sometimes you can read a fighter, you can tell that he’s hurt, but that’s when the true warrior spirit comes out and we endure and when I make it through the round I sharpen up...otherwise we just get back to winning the fight.”

On Terence Crawford expressing interest in facing him

“The fact that he’s a free agent should make things a little bit better. Working with Bob (Arum) is not fun for a lot of fighters...I do want to fight champions, I’m gonna be looking forward to getting in the ring with a champion, I want an opportunity to get a world title again, so if that’s the best opportunity, I’ll take it.

“I always love great fights, I love making exciting fights in the welterweight division but like I said, you see what I’m representing right now (the WBC), so this might be the ladder that I’m climbing. We know that Errol Spence-Yordenis Ugas, none of these fights would’ve manifested if Keith Thurman didn’t lose to Manny Pacquiao so there was a shift in matchups once I fell out of championship status. So I had the WBA, I had the WBC — I relinquished the WBC, nobody beat me for the WBC world title. So those belts I want back in my possession. I do like the fight with Terence Crawford but we’ll just have to see what opens up, what really negotiates, how stubborn we get when it comes to what kind of split there is — it’s just business from here on out. I do like the fight, though.”

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