By Chris Glover
This past Saturday night, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn played host to the returning WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman as he looked to come back with a bang against ‘Riverside Rocky’ Josesito Lopez.
The opening four rounds saw Thurman produce a classy display. It was if he had never lost a step. The champions variety in punches, speed, footwork, and defence was all on point in the opening stages and the Florida man also sent his Californian counterpart to the canvas in round 2. Thurman had been flawless; it looked as if Lopez was in for a hard night.
Maybe the ring rust kicked in in round 5, but a spirited Lopez took the fight to Thurman for the next 8 rounds, with many of the rounds being very close. It was Lopez’ intense work rate vs Thurman’s clean work with accumulated in round 7, with a barrage from Lopez that left Thurman on the verge of getting stopped. On another day, some referees would have stopped that but Thurman recovered in round 8 and spent the majority of the latter stages picking his shots from the outside.
Thurman was awarded the majority decision victory, with a big difference in the 3 scorecards. Many saw the fight as a closer contest; however, Thurman now looks to move on to bigger tests in 2019.
Thurman stated post-fight, “I want to be active and I want to be in big fights. I want to reclaim the belt that I had to give up, and I would be happy to give the winner of Porter vs Ugas an opportunity to fight me.
“I would like to fight Manny Pacquiao, but I trust my team to make the decision on when and where I fight next.”
Josesito Lopez, who gave a great account of himself and was applauded on his entrance to the media room, gave his take on the evening’s action and what he wants next.
“We had a great training camp and hopefully I will get another opportunity in the future.”