Keith Thurman Is Back! Wins UD Over Mario Barrios!

Keith Thurman Mounts a Successful Return to the Welterweight Division

Keith Thurman at the final event prior to his return match with Mario Barrios
Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman Cruises Past Mario Barrios with UD Win!

After roughly a two-and-a-half year layoff, welterweight contender Keith “One Time” Thurman (30-1, 22 KO’s) finally returned to the ring. In this assignment, Thurman successfully defeated a game and feisty Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (26-2, 17 KO’s) by way of unanimous decision. The win was made more meaningful due to being a WBC welterweight title eliminator.

It was the outcome that most generally thought would transpire and really the only one that Thurman could afford. Not only was he able to knock off some rust, he got his first win since suffering his only loss to boxing phenomenon Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao on July 20, 2019.  Although, the win that he really needed was an impressive knockout.

Had he lost again, especially to a Barrios who was moving up from super lightweight, it’s very likely that the rough knuckled Floridian would have been written off. This period of his career is a long way away from when Thurman was the WBA welterweight champion and pretty much the man to beat in the division. Nevertheless, having dominated and prevailed in this struggle, Thurman has officially re-established himself as a major player in the division. Let’s see what’s next for him.

Now the future is as uncertain as ever for Barrios who has now suffered back-to-back losses. Back on June 26, 2021 Gervonta “Tank” Davis stopped him as the smaller man moving up in weight. Now, Thurman functioned as the inflexible guardian of the new division that he was attempting to breach. On the bright side though, while Barrios was thoroughly beaten, he was not completely run over and perhaps he can make a bit of noise in the division. We’ll just have to see what he does next.


The opening period did not have any acutely remarkable action to report. Although, Thurman did edge the period. One Time established himself as the ring general by pressing forward and throwing and landing more shots. Within his punch selection, Thurman quickly became fond of the body work and leaping left hook. This same tempo and flow of action persisted in the second.

The flavor of the contest shifted a bit with the coming of the third when Barrios began the period as the aggressor. He successfully went to the body and barely missed a thumping left uppercut. While nothing hurt Thurman, the sequence seemed to deepen the stakes. By the end of the round however, One Time was firmly in control. The Floridian was power boxing and throwing his leisurely offense at his own pace.

To start the fourth, Thurman took his foot off the gas, allowing Barrios to come forward. By doing so, El Azteca opened up more which allowed the former champion to nail him with a sharp right hook. Barrios ate it well but it bothered him. In the final minute of the same period, Barrios was buzzed by another right hook. The fifth ended with One Time surgically dissecting Barrios.


Very little altered about the match until the eighth round when Barrios was first saddled with a cut on the left eye. Later in the period, Thurman wobbled El Azteca with a hard right hook. Before the close of the period however, One Time began back peddling after seemingly absorbing a body shot he didn’t care for. In fact, he actually took his own mouth piece out to suck in extra air.

During the final few rounds, the dynamics of the fight were slightly different. Thurman was still the big dog of the night but it was evident that Barrios was still very dangerous. In fact, there was the very prevalent feeling that One Time might get clipped if he was not careful. Thankfully for Team Thurman, that shot never came. The two closed the show with vigorous but not very devastating action. When the bout went to the cards, Thurman was declared the winner by way of unanimous decision with the scores of 117-111 and 118-110 twice.

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By: Bakari Simpson

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