After just falling short in his WBA welterweight title defense against Manny Pacquiao, American boxer Keith Thurman acknowledged that his long period of inactivity had been a factor in his performance.
Thurman established himself as one of the top names in the 147-pound class with big wins over Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia, but injuries among other issues forced him to be out of action for nearly two years.
After beating Garcia via split decision in March 2017, he did not fight again until January 2019, when he outpointed Josesito Lopez.
"We've seen champions' inactivity not favor them from time to time," Thurman said in the post-fight press conference, after he was on the losing end of a split decision against Pacquiao.
"But I just thought that I would be able to do some countering, utilize my jab from the outside, and really pressure him in the way that I did," he added. "Some of the things that I wanted to do, I was able to do."
Indeed, Thurman came oh-so-close to beating Pacquiao. He recovered well from a knockdown in the first round and controlled most of the middle rounds. He repeatedly landed his right straight, but a huge body blow by Pacquiao in the 10th round again had him reeling.
Ultimately, one of the three judges scored the bout in his favor, but the other two gave the fight to Pacquiao. It was Thurman's first loss in his professional boxing career.
"I knew I had the skills to be victorious in the ring," said Thurman. "But yeah, obviously, 22 months out of the ring… Josesito Lopez, and then Manny Pacquiao."
"I tried to stay active, but you know, maybe another fight in between would have helped," he admitted.
Now that he is back – and after fighting on pay-per-view for the very first time – Thurman is determined to stay active. He believes he proved a point against Pacquiao, even in a loss.
"I promised you guys that it will be one of the most exciting fights of the summer," he said. "Of course, I wanted to win the fight, I fell short, but it was a blessing, and a lesson because we gotta do a little bit more."
"I do know that I'm a true champion," he added. "Keith 'One Time' Thurman has always been a true champion. I will be back."
"You get knocked down, you gotta pick yourself back up. That's what champions do. Like I said, we'll be back."
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