BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Long after having pummeled Jan Zaveck over the course of 12 shutout rounds last Saturday night at Barclays Center, it seemed that unbeaten welterweight prospect Keith “One Time” Thurman still was in a fighting mood.
Although the 24-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., failed to register his ninth-straight knockout victory against Zaveck (32-3, 18 knockouts), Thurman won, 120-108, on all three judges’ cards.
“I believe that I can be very crafty at what I do. When I need to box more to get the results that I want, then you will see that happen in my perfomance,” said Thurman, who improved to 20-0 with 18 knockouts.
“But if there is an animal in the wild, and they see something wounded, they don’t walk around it five times before they go and tear it up. They get right to it and they end you.”
But Thurman still wasn’t satiated.
So during the post-fight press conference, Thurman called out WBA 147-pound titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, engaging in a shouting match with the 32-year-old Brooklyn resident.
But Thurman has not only targeted Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs). He has, in the past, called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KOs), Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) and Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs), holders of the WBC, WBO and IBF belts, respectively.
“This is what I’ve got to say: I’m an exciting fighter in the world of boxing. I have an ’0,’ and I’m not afraid to let it go. Yes, we’ve got good fights and we’re moving well in my career. But I, as a fighter, personally, I am willing to take the risk, and I am willing to fight the fights that most other fighters won’t fight,” said Thurman.
“I’m not really worried about really ducking and dodging and collecting that bank roll. I want to be a true champion. I’m old school. I want to be an old-school champion. I want to be that Sugar Ray Leonard type of champion. That Tommy Hearns type of champion. The Roberto Duran champion. Aaron Pryor. Marvin Hagler. That’s what Keith Thurman’s about. Evander Holyfield and guys like that paved the way for me to do what I do.”
Malignaggi, meanwhile, is set to defend his belt against undefeated WBC lightweight beltholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner on June 22 at Barclay Center.
Bradley will make a defense of his belt against Russian Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Mayweather meets Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Alexander will defend his belt against England’s Kell Brook on May 18, possbily at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Thurman-Zaveck took place on the undercard of an HBO-televised unanimous decision victory by 48-year-old former RING light heavyweight and middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins that dethroned IBF 175-pound titleholder Tavoris Cloud.
“In the gym and throughout your career, a lot of people will call you, ‘Champ,’ like, ‘Hey Champ, how you doing?’ Or, ‘Great to see you again, Champ.’ I get that now, and I still have not held a world title. But at an early age, I’ve competed and sparred with many world champions,” said Thurman.
“Like Chad Dawson and Winky Wright, and Jeff Lacy. I’ve been in with Olympians and great fighters that’s given me the confidence. I was in with Andre Berto before Berto turned pro and became champ. We were going to-to-toe. So to know that the people that you’ve sparred with are in the headlines and getting those big money fights, it gives you confidence that you, too, will be there one day. I know that I’m on the right path. I feel grateful.”
Video by Bill Emes
Photo by Elsa-Golden Boy / Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org