Keith Thurman successfully defended his WBA welterweight title Saturday night, but it was almost a disaster.
Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) hadn’t fought in nearly two years due to injuries and recovery, but the Floridian was still a massive betting favorite against Josesito Lopez. And early in their battle, which highlighted a PBC on Fox event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., “One Time” showed no ill effects of ring rust. Thurman dropped Lopez with a sharp shot to the head in the second round and it seemed as though the champ would have an easy night.
Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs) rose to his feet, withstood the ensuing barrage and kept cool. From there, “The Riverside Rocky” stayed in the pocket throughout and slowly began winning rounds. Lopez nearly shocked the boxing world in the seventh when he blasted Thurman with a loopy right to upstairs. Thurman’s legs immediately rubberized and Lopez nearly knocked him out, but the defending 147-pound king was able to survive the onslaught; it was a 10-8 round across the board.
Thurman eventually regained his equilibrium, but the Californian made him work for every second until the final bell. In a fight that wound up being much tougher than expected, Thurman walked out of the ring with his title, the benefactor of a majority decision win. One judge saw it 113-113, but that tally was overruled by scores of 117-109 and 115-111.
In other televised action, heavyweight Adam Kownacki improved to 19-0 with his 15th knockout by vanquishing Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs) in the second. A right hand dropped Washington and then Kownacki finished him off with a barrage, ending it at the 1:09 mark.
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