Keith Thurman spoke to media during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
The long-sidelined Thurman seems well aware that a $75 pay-per-view main event between two former champions coming off of defeats will be a tough sell Saturday night. That’s why he took moderator Ray Flores’ cue and went into full promotional mode on a stage inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.
The former WBA/WBC 147-pound champion promised to bring back excitement to a division desperately in need of it.
“You know, this is my presidential campaign, baby,” Thurman said. “I am back! Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is back! The welterweight division is back, cuz without me, yo, it’s been wack! At the end of the day, man, I bring the most exciting fights at 147, the most exciting fights. Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Yordenis Ugas. With a belt, without the belt, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is the champion of today – period. And that’s the statement I’m making Saturday night.”
Six weeks after he lost to Pacquiao, Thurman underwent overdue surgery to fuse the metacarpal bones above his left wrist.
San Antonio’s Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) has boxed three times since the night Thurman lost to Pacquiao (62-9-2, 37 KOs).
He suffered his first defeat in his last bout, an 11th-round, technical-knockout loss to Gervonta Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) in which Barrios hit the canvas three times June 26 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Despite Thurman’s unusually long layoff, the Clearwater, Florida, native is listed as almost a 2-1 favorite over the taller, younger Barrios. Their 12-round fight will headline a four-fight FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event (9 p.m. ET; $74.95).