Keith Thurman, at 35, Aims for the Big Names – Including Terence Crawford

Keith Thurman has at least one last thing to check off before his career is over.

Thurman will face Tim Tszyu at a catchweight bout of 155 pounds as the headliner of a March 30 pay-per-view. The event will be broadcast on Amazon Prime.

Thurman will be ending yet more inactivity. Since 2017, he has fought only four times. Heading into 2018, Thurman had proved himself to be one of the top fighters in the world, having notched consecutive wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.

Yet an underwhelming performance against Josesito Lopez after a 22-month layoff simmered expectations, and Thurman’s lone career loss – to Manny Pacquiao – came six months later.

Thurman recently appeared on a Premier Boxing Champions livestream on Instagram to talk about his upcoming fight.

“It is hard to leave [home],” Thurman said. “I feel very comfortable. If anything, when they talk about competing with [Terence Crawford], right? People know Bud trains at high altitude, and I would never give a fighter that kind of advantage.”

Since the pandemic, Thurman, from Florida, has fought only once: a February 2022 pay-per-view bout against Mario Barrios. He is now returning at a catchweight against Tszyu, who has had an opposite approach to the sport. Tszyu has stayed extremely active, fighting three times in 2023 (despite only one fight in 2022).

Thurman is fighting above the welterweight limit for the first time since stopping Carlos Quintana in the fourth round of an HBO undercard. That bill was headlined by Andre BertoRobert Guerrero, but the Tszyu fight is a massive opportunity for the reclusive Thurman to get his name back in the mix.

There is another milestone Thurman, who seems fixated on the idea of training at elevation, wants to reach. He trained in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as an amateur, and even recalled a fighter giving him troubles who had trained at altitude.

“I heard Josesito Lopez trained in Big Bear, [California], when he was training for me, but I was overly confident in the fight,” Thurman said. “So I did what I did in that fight.”

After dropping Lopez in the second round of their fight, Thurman was hurt to the body. Considered a tune-up-type bout at the time, it turned into a highly competitive affair, which Thurman ultimately won via majority decision. Thurman seems to be eyeing a potential fight with Crawford – widely considered the best fighter in the world after he dismantled Errol Spence Jr. in a perceived 50-50 fight.

“If I have to step in the ring with Crawford, I want that to be on an even playing field, baby,” Thurman said. “I would want that to be at a high altitude. I would want to put my body through that.”

Thurman, now 35, realistically has no more than a few fights left. Many of his peers, including Porter, are now retired. Tszyu, 29, has yet to beaten (24-0, 17 KOs).

Thurman is training at the St. Pete’s Boxing Club with Dan Birmingham as the lead voice. Birmingham is best known for his work with Ronald “Winky” Wright, but he has also worked with Chad Dawson and Jeff Lacy.

Thurman is at the stage of checking off his boxing bucket list, and a training camp away from home at a high-altitude seems to be something he wants to get out of his system.

“It is something I never added to my regimen,” Thurman said. “I always said if I fought Floyd [Mayweather], if I fight Spence, I should’ve done it for Pacquiao. Shoulda, woulda, coulda – didn’t. So it is something in the back of my head, and I do need to stop playing with these boys and give this sport my best.”