Finally, he’s back.
After 22 months away from boxing due to various injuries, Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) finally makes his long awaited return this Saturday when he takes on battle tested veteran Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs). The fight will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for Thurman’s WBA Welterweight title.
Many fans will look at this fight as an easy victory for the champion. That would normally be true. However, Thurman has been out of the ring for so long that it is hard to know what to expect.
Thurman is obviously more skilled and the much better fighter, but Lopez still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. The champion wants to not only win, but look dominant in doing so.
Let’s take a look at the three keys that will lead Keith Thurman to a victory on Saturday night.
SHOW OFF THAT POWER
Keith Thurman’s nickname is “One Time.” He gained that nickname infamously for knocking people out with one punch. WBC Welterweight champion Shawn Porter has gone on record as saying that Thurman has the most power that he has ever felt in the ring.
With that being said however, Thurman has not actually gotten a knockout win since his 2015 seventh-round stoppage win over Luis Collazo.
He has had plenty of his opponents hurt, including the aforementioned Porter and in his recent bout he seemed to stun former champion Danny Garcia several times throughout their contest.
Thurman needs to do more than just hurt Lopez, he needs to close the show. If Thurman is able to score a stoppage victory in his first fight back then he will show that both the elbow and hand injuries he suffered are completely behind him.
BE PREPARED TO TAKE A SHOT
No disrespect to Josesito Lopez, but Keith Thurman is supposed to win this fight. He is also expected to eventually be matched up down the line with IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. in the near future. What is Spence Jr. mostly known for? His phenomenal body punching.
The one thing that Thurman has shown a weakness to is a sustained body attack. Thurman’s fight against Lopez this Saturday can get him prepared for that. Throughout Lopez’s career he has been known for attacking the body. Tons of boxers are head hunters, but Lopez is the exact opposite. Throughout his fights he has always been known as a fighter that attacks the body.
Lopez is not the biggest puncher in the world, however with Thurman’s penchant for getting hurt to the body he will need to be prepared for a constant attack downstairs. Sure, Thurman should go on to win this contest but he must expect to take plenty of shots to the body in order to get that victory.
BOX AND MOVE
One part of Keith Thurman’s game that is a bit underrated is his boxing ability. In his fight against Danny Garcia he boxed circles around him. Garcia isn’t known for having the quickest feet, but he is known for being an excellent boxer.
Thurman’s ability to make him miss and make him pay was impressive. Thurman’s fight is not just about getting in there and getting a quick knockout.
Of course a knockout is the goal, but Thurman must also show that he has not lost a step. He must show that his foot speed, quickness and elusiveness are all still there. A knockout is great, but it may be more beneficial for him to display that he not only still has the power, but the boxing ability as well.