Mike Coppinger

New Faces: Keith Thurman


KEITH THURMAN: Vital Statistics

Age: 23
Hometown: Clearwater, Fla.
Weight class: Welterweight
Height / reach: 5-9 (175.26 cm) / 72 inches (183cm)
Amateur record: 101-16 (reported)
Turned pro: November 9, 2007
Pro record: 17-0, 16 knockouts
Trainer: Dan Birmingham
Manager: Al Haymon
Promoter: Golden Boy Promotions

Best night of pro career: It’s hard to pick one night when discussing a fighter who is undefeated and has knocked out all but one opponent. But for Thurman, he considers his July 2010 win over previously-undefeated Cuban Stalinn Lopez one of his best performances. Thurman dropped the former amateur standout in the opening frame and made quick work of him with a second round knockout. The match was a swing bout on Telefutura but didn’t make it on the telecast. “I made a statement with that fight, like ‘oh damn, he really does have that power.’”

Worst night of pro career: Only one fighter has made it the distance with Thurman: Edvan Dos Santos Barros. Thurman won by unanimous decision (80-71, 79-72, 79-72) — the only time he’s been eight rounds. He dropped Barros in the seventh.

Next fight: Thurman makes his HBO debut Saturday in Cincinnati, Ohio, against Orlando Lora (29-2-2, 19 knockouts) in the co-feature to Adrien Broner’s title defense against Vicente Escobedo. The 31-year-old Mexican was thoroughly dominated by Paulie Malignaggi last year, but he still poses the toughest challenge of Thurman’s short career. Thurman was originally slated to face power-punching Argentine Marcos Maidana, but Maidana pulled out. Even though Lora is a late replacement, Thurman isn’t overlooking Lora. “This guy is probably just as tough as Maidana,” he says. “He has more professional experience than me.”

altWhy he’s a prospect: Thurman is a decorated amateur and is a devastating puncher, stopping all but one foe. He illustrated his punching prowess from the get go, registering first round knockouts in his first eight contests. He’s fast and has good variety in his punches. He has an excellent trainer in Dan Birmingham, who led “Winky” Wright to a standout career. “Keith is a hard worker: very creative, diligent, very hungry for a world title and I don’t think anybody’s gonna stop him in his quest to be the world champion,” Birmingham says. He wants Thurman to throw his jab more frequently. In comparison to Wright, Birmingham thinks they’re similar in talent level. “They’re the only two fighters I’ve ever trained that have this built-in radar system where they can read fighters and react,” he says. “They know what a fighter is going to do before they do it.” “One Time” is also a great body puncher, already knocking out several opponents with shots to the midsection. Being managed by Al Haymon doesn’t hurt, of course. Thurman says no fighter is unbeatable, but that he’s going to be very difficult to beat.

Why he’s a suspect: He hasn’t fought anyone yet who remotely represents a challenge. He also hasn’t logged many professional rounds – 37 total – due to so many early knockout victories.

Story lines: Thurman began boxing at nine and is known for his trademark hair, which flows down his back. Coming up through the amateur ranks, where he routinely stopped fighters with head gear and 10 ounce gloves, fellow fighters referred to him as “Samson”, a reference to the Biblical character whose power was derived from his long locks. He says he “put people to sleep” in the amateur ranks and that his first KO came at 13 years old. Thurman has competed at junior middleweight but feels most comfortable at welterweight. Though he is a high school dropout, Thurman continued his education on his own and considers himself a philosopher. He is an avid reader and loves books on Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism and Greek philosophy, particularly Aristotle. He also plays the guitar. Thurman didn’t compete in 2011, derailed by a knuckle injury and a pair of fight cancelations.

Fight-by-fight record:

May 5Brandon HoskinsTKO 3
Feb. 25Christopher FernandezTKO 1
Nov. 27Favio MedinaTKO 4
Sept. 18Quandray RobertsonKO 3
July 23Stalinn LopezKO 2
Nov. 28Leonardo RojasTKO 2
Nov. 6Edvan Dos Santos BarrosUD 8
Aug. 14Travis HartmanTKO 2
June 26Marteze LoganTKO 3
April 4Francisco GarciaNC 1
Nov. 11Marcus LuckTKO 1
Aug. 15Omar BellKO 1
June 27Jason JordanKO 1
May 9Jessie DavisKO 1
April 5Carlos PenaTKO 1
March 14Brandon BuchanonKO 1
Jan. 18Tramiane BooneKO 1
Nov. 9Kensky RodneyTKO 1
























Photos / Craig Bennett-FightWireImages.com


Around the web