Keith Thurman returned from a 22-month layoff to beat Josesito Lopez on Saturday night to retain his welterweight title.
Thurman got off to a near start with a second-round knockdown, withstood a big seventh round from Lopez, and regained control to improve to 29-0. It was the WBA champion's first fight since 4 March 2017, before he was first injured and then injured left hand.
Both looked back to normal inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center and so did Thurman's legs, as he moved well Lopez, who stayed in the middle of the fight and often said he had lost his life in a row. "He came right for me," Thurman said. "I said you did not see the best Keith Thurman tonight, but you still see a world-class performance, and I gave you that tonight."
He'd probably need a better one against the 40-year -old Pacquiao, who has just left with an easy victory over Adrien Broner last week. "I would most likely definitely take the Manny Pacquiao fight this year," Thurman said. "I feel good. That was a beautiful fight. Pacquiao wants it. "
Lopez (36-8) stalked all night and had Thurman hurt in the seventh round, but otherwise Thurman's speed stopped Lopez getting in good enough position to have enough power on his punches. "I was disappointed. I could not finish him and get him out of there," Lopez said.
In the co-main event, Polish power puncher Adam Kownacki has stopped Gerald Washington in the second round of their heavyweight bout "If he thinks he's the best welterweight out there, then. Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs), who was caught in the first round, was caught in a row in Washington DC. Washington struggled to get up, first falling backwards into the bottom rope, before rising. Refresh Harvey Dock let Washington continue to step into it at 1:09 of the round after Kownacki quickly pounced and hurt Washington again.
"I trained hard for this fight," Kownacki said. "I prepared for 10 hard rounds, but I'm glad I got it done and ended it almost as I did."