.San Diego, Calif., January 26, 2019 – Keith “One Time” Thurman took fans on a rollercoaster ride of a fight, ending in a majority decision victory over Josesito Lopez Saturday. Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), retains the WBA welterweight championship title with scores of 117-109 (Tom Schreck), 115-111 (Steve Weisfeld), and 113-113 (Don Ackerman).
After 22 months out of the ring, it wouldn’t be fair to expect Thurman to be at his best. On the plus side, his movement and hand speed were on point, allowing him opportunities to and counterpunches on the slower Lopez. He was the more active and accurate man in the ring, and the trademark “One Time” left hook came out to play. In round 2, Thurman dropped Lopez (26-8, 19 KOs), with a snap to the chin, and it seemed it might be an early night in Brooklyn.
But Lopez is a never say die opponent, and refused to yield to Thurman. He knew he wouldn’t win on the cards, and looked for every opportunity to throw a power shot. Starting in the sixth round, Lopez landed a looping right, shaking Thurman up. He moved in to try and take advantage, but Thurman stayed on his feet. Several times in the following rounds, Lopez scored with his own left hook, and while he threw wildly at times, when he could connect he did damage to Thurman.
But Thurman’s pedigree showed down the stretch as he traded punches in what was a far more action packed, competitive fight than many people expected. At the final bell, both men draped their arms over each other’s shoulders and took a lap of the ring together.
“Now you know what it means to be up against a game opponent,” said Thurman after the decision. “The champ is back!”
Thurman owned up to feeling the pain brought by Lopez. He had me buzzed, he had me shaken up. I was trying to stay on the outside. I was just a little off on my prediction because of his long arms and the way that he was lunging in, willing to really swing and commit for that knockout. I took some punches today; he has a tough head. I wish I could have gone to the body a little more, I saw him breathing heavy, but he kept his arms in tight.
“He was coming for me, but I told everyone, you’re not going to see the best of Keith “One Time” Thurman after 22 months. But I told you, you would see a world class performance and that’s what I gave everybody tonight.”
Thurman willing to fight Pacquiao
Now that Thurman has knocked the rust off, he was asked about a matchup with veteran Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino Senator won a solid decision over Adrien Broner last week. Before the fight with Lopez, Thurman said he took heart watching a 40-year-old Pacquiao perform so well in the ring and was motivated by it.
“I most likely, definitely, would take it,” said Thurman. “I feel good. That was a beautiful fight. I’d love to have that. Bringing him in the ring. Maybe Brooklyn, maybe Las Vegas, wherever Manny wants it. I’ll fight him in the Philippines if I have to,” laughed Thurman.
Thurman landed 247 of 899 total punches (27 percent) to 117 of 513 punches (23 percent) for Lopez. Give Lopez credit for putting Thurman to the test.
Adam Kownacki makes quick work of Gerald Washington
Brooklyn’s Adam Kownacki put on an exciting if brief show for the hometown fans, taking out Gerald Washington at 1:09 of round two for a TKO victory. Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) got busy quickly and caught Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs) with heavy handed shots to the head, wobbling and dropping the taller man. Washington wobbled to his feet to beat the count. Referee Harvey Dock warned Washington to show him something or he’d stop the fight, but let him continue out of respect. Kownacki wasn’t about to let Washington recover, and landed a trio of shots before Dock called it a night.
“I proved I’m worthy of a title. I’ve been knocking these guys out,” said Kownacki at the post-fight news conference. ”Watch out, I’m going to be the first Polish heavyweight world champion.”
“I trained hard for this fight. I prepared for 10 hard rounds, but I’m glad I got it done and ended it as fast as I did.”
Kownacki now has extra motivation. “Babyface” announced from the ring after the fight he’s going to be a father.
Kownacki is an old school, blocky heavyweight in the George Foreman mold. Whether his take can stand up to the power forward physiques of Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. It will be fun to watch him give it a shot.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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