Ya'll Must've Forgot? Keith Thurman Relishing Unfamiliar Underdog Role

Former unified welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman has fought just five times since 2015.

The long stretches on the sidelines have been due to Thurman not having much success locking down desired opponents for the right paydays, as well as his sustaining several injuries.

Thurman believes the general inactivity is one of the reasons why, per DraftKings, he is a +550 betting underdog for his March 30 fight against Tim Tszyu (a -900 favorite), which will headline a PBC show on Amazon Prime Video pay-per-view at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) told BoxingScene.com that he is taking motivation and a page from the lyrics of fellow Floridian Roy Jones Jr.’s 2002 hip-hop anthem “Ya’ll Must’ve Forgot” to remind his detractors that he still has what it takes to beat Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs), the WBO super welterweight champion, in a non-title fight.

“A lot of people question [why I am fighting Tzsyu] because of inactivity,” Thurman said. “They wonder, ‘What’s Keith got? He’s 35 and is a married man with kids who doesn’t have the fire no more.’ This fight lights the fire, baby. It inspires me and wakes me up. There is no way that this is a walk in the park. I have to work hard.

“I have to show you whether I have it or I still don’t. It’s one of those fights for me. Do I belong at 154 pounds? Can I establish myself? If I’m going to, I might as well do it at the top. I’ve competed at the highest level my entire career, dating back to the amateur days. I’m so used to fighting who’s supposed to be the best.”

Throughout his 17-year career, Thurman has wins against Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Robert Guerrero, but those victories came during a four-fight stretch from 2015 to 2017, when he was boxing at the peak of his powers.

Over his last three fights, dating back to 2019, Thurman has looked vulnerable in a majority decision win over Josesito Lopez, got knocked down and lost a split decision to Manny Pacquiao, and scored a ho-hum unanimous decision against Mario Barrios in 2022.

In the Pacquiao fight, Thurman opened as a slight betting favorite but closed as an underdog.

Thurman will be fighting for the first time in 25 months when he takes on Australia’s Tszyu.

The surging Tszyu, meanwhile, had a busy and stellar 2023, scoring a unanimous decision against Brian Mendoza and stopping the likes of Carlos Ocampo and Tony Harrison.

Tszyu, 29, will be fighting for the fourth time in 12 months – and for just the second time in his career on American soil in what should be his toughest fight to date.

Questions will finally be answered once the fighters square off in the ring.

“One Time” signed off with a rhyme signaling as much.

“This fight is all about who’s being tested,” Thurman said. “Is it him? Is it me? On March 30, the whole world will see.”