BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York undefeated WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) made his in-ring return after a 22-month layoff due to various injuries. Thurman defended his “Super” version of the WBA title against Riverside, California’s Josesito Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs) in a twelve-round contest in front of a crowd of 9,632 fans.

After spending almost two years outside of the squared circle, Thurman looked poised and back to his usual business throughout the first half of the bout. In the second round, Thurman was able to score a knockdown when he landed a well-timed step-back left hook. The Clearwater, Florida native was able to use his lateral movement to keep Lopez out of range from unleashing attacks. However, at times Lopez was able to close the distance to land right hands and body shots.

The momentum in the bout shifted in the seventh round when Lopez hurt Thurman with a right hand that put him in survival mode. All three judges scored the round 10-8 in favor of Lopez giving him a chance to win the match. The remaining five rounds were tightly contested with Thurman regaining control at times with his counter-punching ability. At times, Lopez was able to corner Thurman and land punches on him. However, these moments were too far and between for Lopez who was unable to keep the WBA champion from retreating.

After twelve rounds of action, the judges awarded Thurman with a majority decision victory with scores of 117-109, 115-111 and 113-113. Thurman was able to land 247 out of 899 total punches landing 68 more power punches. Lopez landed 117 out of 513 total punches.

For his part, Lopez proved to still be a worthy contender in the welterweight division. He could be given more opportunities in the future to fight for a title. Now that Thurman has gotten his comeback fight out of the way, fans will be wondering when he will step in the ring with the elite at welterweight.

Thurman in post-fight interviews expressed interest in facing the 40-year old Manny Pacquiao. The fighting Senator currently holds the “Regular” version of the WBA welterweight championship. Fights with Errol Spence and rematches with Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia will be contingent on how they perform in their upcoming bouts.

Whether you or a fan or detractor of Thurman he is one of the best fighters at welterweight and hopefully we can look forward to seeing more of him in the oncoming years.

He came right for me. I said you wouldn’t for the first time in 22 months. I said you wouldn’t see the best Keith Thurman tonight, but you’d still see a world-class performance, and I gave you that tonight.

— Keith Thurman

I was disappointed I couldn’t finish him and get him out of there. If he thinks he’s the best welterweight out there, then I want two through five lined up for me.

— Josesito Lopez

(Featured Photo: Marilyn Paulino/MVPBoxPics)