Keith Thurman has been ensconced within the welterweight division his entire professional career, but an opportunity to face 154-pound unified champion Jermell Charlo may be just the kind of challenge to get him to budge from his familiar perch.
Charlo, who owns the WBA, WBC, and IBF belts, narrowly missed a chance to become the undisputed junior middleweight champion after he drew with IBF titleholder Brian Castano in July at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. It is not clear if a rematch is immediately possible.
“It’s hard to say no to making history and becoming a champion in a new weight class,” Thurman told FightHype.com. “I’m here for the love of the sport. I love the credentials I have. I want to further my credentials. That fight entices me as far as lining up to further my credentials. Worst case scenario, I fall short, [I] can hope right back into the welterweight division.”
The last time Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) was in the ring was when he dropped a close decision to Manny Pacquiao – who is set to take on Errol Spence Jr. on Aug. 28 in Las Vegas – back in 2019. Since then, Thurman has been trying to stage a comeback to recapture the reputation he once had as the top fighter in the welterweight division, with wins over top contenders Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) and Danny Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs). He has hinted that he is returning to the ring later this year.
Although he has plenty of unfinished business at 147, including a much-desired clash with Spence (27-0, 21 KOs), Thurman said he would have to seriously contemplate moving up if the Charlo fight was offered to him. Both Thurman and Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) share the same manager in Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions.
“I’ve always had small admirations to move up, but I always felt that it would always be more in that 34, 35 age bracket, maybe at the last chapter [of my career], 36 and beyond,” Thurman, 31, said. “So, it’s never been on the forefront of my mind yet. It’s always been a ‘maybe later’ kind of issue. You know, too many belts, too much for the history books, I might have to sign up.”