Keith Thruman Trainer Birmingham- “I Expect Him To Be Great Fight Night”
Coming up next weekend in Las Vegas, the return of former WBA World Welterweight Champ Keith “One Time” Thurman takes place on Fox Sports pay per view. And, while it’s been a long layoff for the fighter that suffered his first pro loss to future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao, his trainer Dan Birmingham is making it clear that he expects Thurman to be more than ready come fight time.
Birmingham, the former trainer to Hall of Famer “Winky” Wright and former Super Middleweight champ Jeff Lacy appeared with me on our latest “Big Fight Weekend Podcast” to discuss the buildup to Thurman’s non-title return against former WBA “regular” Jr. Welterweight title holder Mario Barrios.
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When I asked Birmingham about the psychological challenges of the layoff and that he suffered a loss for the first time in his career his last time out, he said to us:
“Fighters, let’s face it. They have have giant egos. They’re fighters. A loss really does something to their head. But, I think Keith has gotten over it. I mean, he’s still gonna express it from time to time. Nobody enjoys a loss, but Keith is very strong minded, very intelligent. So, I expect him to be great on fight night.”
Thurman had been on a roll in the mid-late 2010’s winning the WBA World Title and defending it with spectacular decision wins in high profile title bouts over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. The 33 year old Clearwater, FL native had put up a 29-0 start to his career and was clearly one of the top stars below Middleweight in the sport.
However, as referenced above, the veteran Pacquiao came in to their bout in July of 2019 highly motivated, and surprised Thurman with his power by scoring a flash knockdown in the first round. Pacquiao was repeatedly quicker to the punch on Thurman scoring effectively throughout the fight.
And, in the end “Pac-man” scored the 12 round split decision that took Thurman’s “0” and he hasn’t fought since.
Now, he’ll step in the ring with a tough opponent, who’s hungry to score a named fighter upset, himself.
And, we await what Thurman will do, or not be able to do, some two and a half years after the Pacquiao defeat?