Keith Thurman’s elbow and hand looked fine, and his chin held up against a determined attack by Josesito Lopez.
It was a good enough return that Thurman might be ready for Manny Pacquiao next.
Thurman came back from a 22-month layoff to beat Lopez via majority decision Saturday night to retain his welterweight title.
Thurman got off to a fast start with a second-round knockdown, withstood a big seventh round from Lopez, and regained control to improve to 29-0. It was the WBA champion’s first fight since March 4, 2017, before he was sidelined first by right elbow surgery and then an injured left hand.
Both looked back to normal inside Barclays Center and so did Thurman’s legs, as he moved well to mostly stay out of trouble against Lopez, who kept coming forward throughout the fight but often got caught with uppercuts and combinations for his efforts.
Judge Tom Schreck had it 117-109 for Thurman and Steve Weisfeld had it 115-111, while Don Ackerman had it even at 113-113.
Lopez was not pleased that Thurman was able to survive the onslaught of the seventh round. Lopez poured it on throughout the seventh, but Thurman was able to do enough to survive the round. Lopez continued to come forward in the ensuing rounds, but Thurman was careful to continue his circular movement, while also landing big power shots to the head.
“I definitely thought I held my own in that fight,” said Lopez. “I had him hurt in the seventh round and I was landing a lot of clean shots on him.
“I was disappointed I couldn’t finish him and get him out of there,” said Lopez. “If he thinks he’s the best welterweight out there, then I want two through five lined up for me.”