Injury-prone Keith Thurman 29-1 (22) will be out of the ring for the rest of the year after undergoing surgery to fix a long-term issue with pain in his left hand.
The former WBA welterweight champion, who lost his title to Manny Pacquiao in July, has fought just four times in the past four years.
“The surgery was a bone fusion, so they fused some of my metacarpals,” Thurman told Yahoo Sports. “There is not an issue with my fingers or the knuckles that I make a fist with. It feels so much better now.
“Right after surgery, it was quite painful with a lot of initial swelling. Right now, it feels good and it’s not swollen as it was. I’m not on any pain meds or anything.
“It bothered me in camp and disrupted my preparations more than anything, which is another reason I decided to get the surgery now instead of waiting and doing it later.
“I can’t promise I would be the same Keith Thurman and I couldn’t promise a great comeback if I were to keep fighting in the condition I was in.”
Despite carrying an injured hand into the Pacquiao fight, Thurman delivered a quality performance that saw him overcome an early knockdown to finish the fight strongly only to lose by close split decision.
“Losing to Pacquiao is evidence you can’t be a one-handed champion,” Thurman continued.
“If you really want to be the best in the world, you have to be the best you can be to fight any type of world-class fighter. Even with one hand, I fought a hell of a fight.”
Thurman, 30, won the WBA welterweight title against Robert Guerrero in March 2015 and successfully defended the belt four times, including against future of former world champions Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.
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