By: Hans Themistode
The moment Tim Bradley got word, he immediately began holding his sides as tears rolled down his cheeks from laughing. With Keith Thurman set to end his near three-year layoff on February 5th, against Mario Barrios, the former unified welterweight titlist has stated on numerous occasions that he intends to regain championship glory.
Yet, even with Thurman as confident as ever in his ability to challenge for the division’s crown, former two-time welterweight champion Tim Bradley simply isn’t buying it.
“Keith, what you doing Keith?” Asked Bradley during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “Mercenary, mercenary. Keith is all about that bread, that’s it. Keith is one foot in, one foot out.”
At one point, Thurman was considered by most as the welterweight division’s leading man. In 2015, the now 33-year-old defended his 147-pound title in back-to-back appearances against former champions Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo. Immediately following those victories, Thurman would pick up consecutive wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, the latter resulting in a unified title reign.
Although Thurman appeared to be at his peak, his body slowly began breaking down. Shortly after his victory over Garcia, Thurman was ushered into the operating room to take care of an injured elbow and hand. The Florida native was then forced to sit on the sidelines for almost two years.
Upon his return, Thurman eked out a majority decision win over fringe contender Josesito Lopez before losing a split decision against Manny Pacquiao in 2019. Much like the ongoing pattern in his career, Thurman would once again undergo surgery following his bout with Pacquiao, resulting in a layoff of well over two and a half years.
In Barrios, Thurman faces a former 140-pound titlist who will attempt to make a splash in his stop at 147 pounds. In his final contest as a super lightweight, Barrios suffered the first defeat of his career against Gervonta Davis.
Although Thurman believes a victory over Barrios will serve as a springboard to getting the former belt holder bigger fights in the division, Bradley suspects that Thurman is simply continuing his career for the sizable paychecks. Nothing more and nothing less.
“He’s similar to Mikey Garcia, he looking for the best fight. A fight he knows he can possibly win and get the most money from so Barrios is that guy.”