Keith Thurman isn’t fazed by the critics who think his drive isn’t what it used to be.

Over the past few years the former welterweight titleholder from Clearwater, Florida has battled the perception that he is not as devoted to boxing as people have come to expect from a world class fighter. Feeding that criticism has been his relative inactivity over the past few years. Thurman, 33, has only had two fights since defeating Danny Garcia in March 2017, and his last fight, a decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, was in 2019.

Thurman will return to the ring after a two-and-a-half-year absence on Feb. 5 against Mario Barrios at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

“I don’t worry about outside perspective on who Keith Thurman is,” Thurman told FightHubTV. “A lot of people don’t come to [my] boxing gym, a lot of people don’t see the sweat and the drip drip and the weight training and the dieting and everything that I sacrifice for my career.

“I’m not over. It’s not over. I believe that all the performances I’ve had until this date, including the unification against Danny Garcia, I don’t believe I presented the best Keith Thurman that there is. Before my career is over I feel obligated to myself to do that. Like I always said, win, lose or draw I’m going to hold my head up high.”

Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) admitted that his absence in the ring has played a negative factor in his career as of late and that he will be looking to rectify that in 2022.

“We really just have to be active to the end,” Thurman said. “We missed a lot of time and we acknowledged that. Everything that has happened to me, as a professional athlete, was not ideal. It was not blueprinted in my plan book.”  

“I’m truly dedicated and obligated to strive for greatness,” Thurman continued. “I know that there are champions in the welterweight division who are undefeated champions and I believe that everybody can be defeated.”

Thurman stated in the same interview that he wants to face any of the welterweight titleholders – Yordenis Ugas (WBA), Errol Spence Jr. (WBC/IBF), and Terence Crawford (WBO) – by summer 2022.

Despite the hiccups he has encountered in the past few years, Thurman is confident that he is still in his physical prime.

“It really hit home to get Shawn Porter’s announcement,” Thurman said. “At the age of 33, I have to remind myself daily that I’m closer to retirement than I’ve ever been since the beginning of my professional career.

“I haven’t beaten my body up. That’s why I have more. To those who question if I have more, Thurman hasn’t beaten his body up. I have more. I’m 33 years old. I have more to give. My body is in better shape now than it has been in the past when it comes to overall health.”