Unbeaten welterweight contender Keith “One Time” Thurman is just 24 years old, but don’t tell him he’s not ready for the big time.
For to hear Thurman tell it, the resident of Clearwater, Fla., is ready for anything.
“Man, I’ve already said what I have to say before, but I’ll say it again. I have an ’0,’ and I’m not afraid to let it go, you know what I’m saying?” said Thurman, who won’t turn 25 until November.
“I’m undefeated but I’m looking for that dude that’s going to defeat me. I’m trying to find him. Can we call him up? Does he have a phone number and an address? Let’s make it happen.”
To that end, Thurman (20-0, 18 knockouts) has vowed to send a message to the rest of the 147-pound division on July 27, when he pursues a defining victory against Argentina’s Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KOs) at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Having scored a fourth-round stoppage of former tittleholder Carlos Quintana last November, Thurman was disappointed that he was not able to secure what would have been his ninth-straight knockout against Zaveck, even as he out-classed his rival by unanimous shutout scores of 120-108.
“The only thing that I dislike about my last performance is that Zaveck didn’t get to see the mat, because, all in all, I know that I had a good night of boxing. All in all, I made the fight look easy. But there were few things that I could have done, defensively, that would have made it a little better. But for this next fight, I’m pretty much just going to war and I’m just looking to go for some real action and some dynamite,” said Thurman of his clash with Chaves, 27, who will be in pursuit of his sixth consecutive knockout victory.
“This dude has a lot of knockouts and I don’t expect him to be fearful of me, so I definitely want to keep bringing the KOs. I did feel that I could have gone in with more of a desire to hurt Zaveck a little bit more, and I think that I’m going to bring that back in this next fight. I’m pretty much looking forward to just going to war because this is what I do. This is my thrill. Then, we’ll just see what happens later on this year. I’m hoping that the doors open up and that we get another good fight. But we’re taking it one fight at a time.”
During the post-Zaveck press conference, Thurman called out WBA 147-pound titleholder Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, engaging in a shouting match with the 32-year-old Brooklyn resident who will face rising WBC lightweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) at Barclays Center on June 22.
“I’m ready for the world of boxing. There’s no elite fighter out there that intimidates me. I’m not intimidated by no fighter, by no man, and I am pretty much, when I fight, I’m going just going to do me,” said Thurman.
“I’m going to walk you down and I’m going to break you down and if I have to use my movement and step side-to-side or do whatever I’ve got to do, or if I have to put on a classier show, then I’ll do that too.”
Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16 in defense of the title he won by disputed split-decision over Pacquiao in June.
On May 4, Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) unanimously decisioned Robert Guerrero, and on May 18, Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs), whose lone loss was to by decision to Bradley in January of 2011, came up with a seventh-round TKO over Lee Purdy.
“In this industry, they build you up to knock you down. But like I’ve said, man, I’m ready to fight anybody. You can try to protect yourself if you want, but I’m just as real as it gets, man,” said Thurman, who, like Mayweather and Broner, is counseled by Al Haymon.
“You say that I can be beat? Well then, let’s do it. Beat me. Who is it? Where is it going to happen? At what time? In what state? On what television station? On what network? And for how much? Let’s do it. That’s what I’ve got to say.”
Thurman also offered his take on the size of the current welterweight titleholders, all of whom, at one time, campaigned as junior welterweights.
“Like I’ve said before, man, these are 140-pounders you’re asking me questions about. None of these dudes have any business at 147. That’s how I’ve always felt since I’ve made it into the top 10. None of these dudes have any business being at 147,” said Thurman.
“There’s only one brother that’s really held his own and that’s Floyd Mayweather. Manny Pacquiao did okay, but, even then, fought Ricky Hatton at 147, and that’s not a true 147-pounder, you know. There hasn’t been a true welterweight to represent the welterweight division, and, to me, that’s what Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is all about. And I’m going to prove that.”
Thurman offered his assessment of potential fights between himself and others in the diviszion, below.
Floyd Mayweather: “It was a great fight between him and Guerrero. Floyd was catching Guerrero and Guerrero was taking his hits. Everybody knows that Floyd isn’t necessarily into forcing the knockouts. So if I was to fight Floyd, I’m not really worried about getting knocked out. I would just worry about making sure that my hands get on him.
“Like, Guerrero, he was reaching out there to try to make it happen. But Floyd was evading his lefts and rights all day. So, I would have to do something a little tricky in my movement. Maybe feint before I go in and generally do whatever I have to do to try to get my hands on him more often. I’m ready for that.”
On Broner versus Malignaggi: “I’ve seen little of both, to be honest. In fact, I’ve seen more of Broner than I have of Paulie. Broner has said it himself, that Paulie has quite a few losses.
“So with Paulie’s losses, anybody who has a loss in the world of boxing, and, of course, anybody can beaten, but by having the losses, it’s a proven fact that you have been beaten and you’re what we call ‘a beatable fighter.’ So you’re beatable.
“People haven’t seen what it takes to beat Broner. I see Broner pressing the fight and I see Paulie moving and boxing and trying to stay on the outside. I think that he’ll literally stick and move. Whether he’s going to be running around in circles all night, or if Paulie’s going to be tapping and giving shorter angles, I don’t know what he’s going to be doing.
“But Paulie’s not that big of a puncher, and, even though, as I was stating, Broner’s coming up from two weight classes down, it’s technically a catchweight fight for both fighters because Paulie’s not that big of a person. So even though the fight is being held at a bigger weight class, I still don’t see Paulie being that much bigger than Broner.
“So, I do believe that Broner’s power is going to have an effect in the fight. Even though I didn’t see Paulie fight [Pablo Cesar Cano] I do know that he was dropped in the Cano fight.”
Versus Broner: “If me and Broner ever had a fight, stepped into the ring against each other, I would probably do the tactic that I think that Paulie would use, which I think that Paulie will use, which would I would describe as short angles.
“It’s like, ‘Pop, pop, pop.’ Short angles, but with me, luckily, I have power on the end of my punches, so it doesn’t matter if I sit there and trade with him or I box at all times. I can make him respect me.”
Versus Bradley: “I would go in and I would try to chin-check him really quick. You know, Timothy Bradley, on that night against Provodnikov, he came out trying to make a statement. He wanted to prove that he is a true world champion or whatever.
“But I don’t think that he felt comfortable going backward from the beginning of the fight, you know? Like I said, he wanted to make a statement. I think that it was a very personal thing that he decided to do in that fight and I would try to lure him into the same state of mind right from the jump start of the fight.
“I would try to get him to fight, to make a statement, to do something. Hurt me. I don’t think that he has the ability to hurt me and if you don’t have the ability to hurt someone who has the ability to hurt you, then, to me, you’re in trouble.
Versus Alexander: “He backed up against Timothy Bradley. He’s got nice pop, don’t get me wrong, but he let Timothy Bradley push him back and push him around.”
Versus Malignaggi: “If I was to step into the ring with Paulie, I’m just going to be moving forward and trying to get a nice, clean blow in. I would try to make to make him feel some pain because I’m not going to be worried about his power too much.
“I’m not going to go in and just use my face to block his punches or anything, but I’m going to be aware. Still, I’m definitely going to be putting a whole lot of pressure on Paulie and walking him down.”
Versus Guerrero: “As for Guerrero, he was down to fight. He’s going to move forward and he’s going to come at you. I see that as an easy fight, too. I’ll take that fight any day of the week. Like I’ve said, I’m ready for anybody.”
Photo by Elsa-Golden Boy, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org