BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Although unbeaten welterweight prospect Keith “One Time” Thurman failed to earn his ninth straight stoppage victory against rugged ex-beltholder Jan Zaveck on Saturday night, the 24-year-old puncher from Clearwater, Fla., he did completely dominate his opponent.
Thurman managed to land an assortment of wicked shots that puffed up, lumped up and reddened the Slovenian’s face during what his trainer, Dan Birmingham, called “a showcase performance” before a packed house at Barclays Center.
From start to finish, the hammer-fisted Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) nailed the on-coming Zaveck (32-3, 18 KOs), who, nevertheless, continued his pursuit with his fists held high around his ears and his elbows tucked closely to his sides.
Thurman, meanwhile, consistently pounded to the head and body around the guard of Zaveck, appearing to nearly have him ready to go after having nailed him with several, head-swiveling blows that backed him up near the end of the 10th.
Thurman out-landed Zaveck, 217-to-110 in total punches, including 150-77 in power punches and 67-33 in jabs, en route to winning unanimous scores of 120-108 on the cards of judges Waleska Roldan, Don Trella and Nelson Vazquez.
“I’m glad that I got the 12 rounds in, and I’m happy with my performance. He hit me with a good shot, but I’ve been caught before, so that didn’t faze me,” said Thurman.
“I was looking for the one shot, but I didn’t get it, so I just kept pressing him and boxing him. For being 36 years old, I was impressed. He reminded me of sparring with Winky Wright. I didn’t get the one punch knockout, so I went with plan B, and that was to out-box, out-move and to out-smart him.”
Thurman was coming off a fourth-round stoppage of former WBO 147-pound beltlholder Carlos Quintana that took place on Nov. 24 — the day after Thurman’s 24th birthday.
The rugged Zaveck, who turns 37 in March, was last in the the ring in March of last year when he unanimously decisioned Bethuel Ushona.
Prior to Ushona, Zaveck was dethroned as IBF beltholder by Andre Berto, who stopped him in five rounds in September of 2011.
“I’m more experienced, but it didn’t show tonight. I am much better, but I didn’t show it. I went the distance, but I couldn’t do it. I gave it my all,” said Zaveck. “I was too slow. I expected his speed, but I thought I would be faster. I give him my congratulations. He has a great future.”
Thurman, who earned $150,000 to $25,000 for Zaveck, weighed 145.5 pounds compared to 146.6 for his opponent. Thurman’s weight was second only to his career-low 144 1/4 during an eight-round unanimous decision over Edvan Dos Santos Barros in November of 2009.
Thurman weighed 151 1/4 for his last fight against Quintana.
Photo / Elsa-Golden Boy / Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org