Jason Gonzalez was ringside, he filed this report
Floridian Keith “One-Time” Thurman returned to the squared circle for the first time in nearly two years, with a win over a very determined Josesito Lopez in the Premier Boxing Champions main event at Barclays Center. Thurman, the current WBA “Super” welterweight champion earned a majority decision by scores of 117-109, 115-111, 113-113. Thurman, 29-0, (22) had been out of commission for that extended duration due to sustaining an injury to his left hand, as well as having his right elbow surgically repaired.
Upon the completion of the fan friendly bout, Thurman expressed a great deal of interest in facing the fighting senator of the Philippines, Mr. Manny Pacquiao next. Pacquiao retained his version of the WBA [Regular] 147-pound title two weeks ago in a one-sided victory over Adrien Broner. Obviously, Pacquiao has his heart set on a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, however, under the condition that Mayweather-Pacquiao II fails to materialize, then a fight with Thurman would be a respectable second option for Pacquiao.
“Manny Pacquiao is not going to be here for the years to come,” said Thurman. “Just fighting a legend, I just feel like the clock is ticking. Later this year, if that fight presents itself, I would definitely be open for negotiations, and I would love an opportunity to fight a legend. He’s not the young Manny Pacquiao that he once was, but he still is a great, world class fighter. If we get that fight, we’d be happy to do it for ourselves and the fans.”
Thurman also threw out Shawn Porter’s name as a potential opponent. A rematch with the current WBC champ is both a realistic and viable option for Thurman. But common sense suggests that a fight with the 40-year-old Pacquiao has more appeal, both from a financial standpoint as well as from a fan perspective. Who knows? Maybe Thurman will get rewarded for his courageous efforts against Lopez. After all, Pacquiao is now Thurman’s mandatory opponent.
Thurman dropped Lopez with a left hook to the jaw in the second round of their exciting encounter. But to Lopez’s credit he rose from the canvas and continued to exchange with Thurman throughout the fight. At times Lopez had his moments, which included a huge seventh round that almost saw Thurman stopped.
“I felt like if the same would have happened to me when I hurt him, they would have stopped it in a heartbeat,” said Lopez, now 36-8, (19). “It sucks that I don’t feel like I got a fair shake. But I’m okay with my performance. The referee [Steve Willis] could have easily stopped it, but maybe he was one punch away.”
All three of the judges scored the seventh round 10-8 in favor of Lopez, despite Thurman remaining on his feet. Thurman, who is always gracious in victory and complimentary of his opponent, gave Lopez his props.
“The straight right hand was snapping my head back...He [Lopez] was committed to lunging and taking risks.”
Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki of Brooklyn knocked out Gerald Washington in the second round at the 1:51 mark of their bout.
“I trained hard for this fight,” said Kownacki, now 19-0, (15). “I prepared for 10 hard rounds, but I’m glad I got it done and ended it as fast as I did.”
Kownacki is targeting a date with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Featherweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar defeated Claudio Marrero via a unanimous decision by scores of 116-111, 115-112, and 114-113 in a very exciting scrap.
“We had a really good camp, so this is just me putting the pressure and pace that we worked on in camp and using it in the ring,” said the 26-year-old Nyambayar, who improved to 11-0, (9).
With the victory, Nyambayar becomes the mandatory challenger for WBC champion Gary Russell, Jr.
In other news, WBA [Interim] light heavyweight champion, Marcus Browne of Staten Island, was in attendance. Considering that the Wu-Tang Clan was in town to celebrate their 25th anniversary with a concert performance, you would think that Browne would have been there to support his fellow Staten Island comrades. He also could have used the opportunity to celebrate his victory over Badou Jack [the biggest of his career]. With popular Wu-Tang Member Raekwon shouting Browne through social media, obviously the Wu-Tang Clan supports Browne. Browne should have used that opportunity to go to the show. He could have used the opportunity to promote his name and brand. No one knows who he is.