- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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If you have been wondering where Keith Thurman has been you are not alone. I too was curious what has been going on with the talented and crowd-pleasing interim welterweight titleholder.
After all, he is a 25-year-old on the rise and has looked sensational in his recent fights, but he has only fought once so far this year, a one-sided third-round blowout of faded former lightweight titlist Julio Diaz.
As it turns out, Thurman has been nursing a left shoulder injury. In fact, the plan had been for him to fight on the Showtime PPV undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana rematch on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. However, because of the shoulder problem, he's not expected back in the ring until October, trainer Dan Birmingham told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
"Keith should be back to full training in about two weeks," Birmingham said. "He has a strained labrum. He's feeling good now and doing some light work and running. We didn't want to rush anything before he goes back into camp so he has been in the gym doing leg stuff, but not working on his upper body because of the shoulder."
Birmingham said that Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs), of Clearwater, Florida, had an MRI on his shoulder about three weeks ago and that there was no tear, so the recommendation from his doctor was to rest for another month or so.
At that point, rather than rush back into a fight without being 100 percent, the decision was made not to fight on the Mayweather-Maidana II card, Birmingham said.
"But in the last few days [Thurman adviser] Al [Haymon] told us we would have a [Showtime] date in October," Birmingham said. "We don't have the date nailed down yet or an opponent, but Keith will be back in October. I don't want to speculate on an opponent, but Roberto Garcia, who just signed with Al, might make a good opponent. He has got a great record and he's a good fighter."
Birmingham said that eventually he believes that Thurman will meet Shawn Porter, another talented undefeated welterweight in the Haymon stable. There has been a lot of talk about that potential fight, but Porter, of course, must defeat Kell Brook in a mandatory title defense on Aug. 16. Even if it does happen, it's probably a couple of fights away.
"I think that fight is inevitable," Birmingham said of Porter-Thurman. "We know those guys, Shawn and his dad [Kenny Porter]. We have Shawn in our camp before and we're friends with them, but this is also business. We all know they might have to fight. When they do, it'll be a great fight."