Florida-based welterweight contender Keith “One Time” Thurman promised “heavy missiles coming from both sides” of last Saturday’s 10th-round knockout of Argentina’s hammer-fisted Diego Chaves, and the 24-year-old welterweight delivered before a Showtime-televised audience from the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Thurman (21-0, 19 knockouts) broke down the hard-punching, hard-charging Chavez (22-1, 18 KOs), dropping his 27-year-old rival once each during the last two rounds for his 10th stoppage victory during his past 11 bouts, ending Chaves’ run of five consecutive knockout wins.
Thurman was coming off of a a unanimous-decision rout of Jan Zaveck in March that ended his own streak of stoppage wins at nine. Promoted by Golden Boy and advised by Al Haymon, Thurman shared his thoughts about his experience against Chaves, and, his future in this Q&A below.
Thurman also commented on the miscue he made during his post-fight interview in the ring, when he thanked the city of San Diego, later, correcting himself as being in San Antonio.
Keith Thurman: It was definitely a tough fight, but we knew what we were getting into before we even got into the fight. To me, the fight, pretty much, technically, went my way from the start of the bell. I really enjoyed the fight. I really enjoyed my performance, in general, minus maybe about 10 punches that I took that night.
But, even then, I really didn’t mind those punches, because I wanted him to throw them. I just don’t know if I really wanted him to land them. I think that on a personal level, I took a few extra blows, but, that’s ultimately the sacrifice of a fighter, and those are sacrifices that I’m 100 percent willing to take when I take a fight.
So, I personally wanted him to bang with me and I wanted to mix it up. I felt like I won one out of the first three rounds. They were close, but I realize, also, that he’s the one stepping in with the [WBA interim] title. So, in my eyes, I was counting the rounds, mentally, and I felt that I might have been down by one point after the third round.
RingTV.com: So you felt that the rounds were that close?
KT: Well, let me make this comment. They were all close rounds during the first three, but it was in the third round that I felt that I was getting my rhythm. I felt like I knew what I had to do against this guy. I already felt like he was slightly fading from the end of round three.
As soon as about the middle of round three, it was at that point when he caught me with a shot that busted my nose. I ended up leaking from it for the rest of the night.
But it was at the end of that round that I raised my hand. That was to let all of my fans, and, technically, my family that was watching, I was letting them know that your boy was okay and that I was about to do my thing.
RingTV.com: How does his power compare to others you’ve fought?
KT: Chaves caught me with two good right hands, similar to those by Zaveck. As a matter of fact, I even think that Zaveck caught me with a better right hand than Chaves caught me with. But Chaves caught me right on my nose.
I had yet to fight a fight where I was bleeding throughout pretty much the whole fight, but as you could see, that was no problem. Then, he caught me with one on the temple, and I want to say that it was a right hand, but I’m really not sure if it was a right or a left.
But it buzzed me for about maybe six seconds or so. I felt a little rocking of the bell, and a boom, but my legs were still intact and I was still moving. I was just being very cautious, mentally, and I said, “You can’t take another punch like that.”
I believe that was in the third or the fourth round, but it didn’t take long for the sensation to go away, and as soon as it went away, I just said, “Well, we’re back in this fight.” So I kept pressing, and I never took a blow like that again in the fight.
I figured that after the fourth round, his power really died out. No matter whether he landed or not, it just didn’t have the enthusiasm and it didn’t have the bad intentions that he was really throwing with in the first three rounds.
It was pretty much after the fourth round that I knew that I had pretty much taken everything that this guy had to give. But I had more to give, and I wasn’t sure that he would be able to take it. And he wasn’t able to, as we were able to see.
RingTV.com: What do you think took it out of Chaves? Your movement? The intensity of the fight? Any particular punches you were throwing, or a combination of all of the above?
KT: I think that it was a combination of all of the above, you know? I’m a warrior for life and I go into every battle expecting to be in a battle. I don’t think that he had the same expectations for this fight that I had for this fight.
We were both going hard, and he was doing his best to prove himself, but after studying the tapes, I saw that even in his fights agianst a lot of his opponents in Argentina, a lot of his knockouts happened early, like, in the first or second round. A lot of times they were in the first four rounds. So after watching the tapes, and seeing him go the distance a few times, it was clear to me that he easily faded after four rounds.
So I wanted to make it a tough fight, and then, after that, I wanted to get into my rhythm, which I did, and then I wanted to land that one shot, like we do, and that happened in the ninth and 10th rounds.
RingTV.com: What type of opponent do see for yourself, and would you want to be the main event?
KT: That would beautiful. That would be great, being the main event. Hopefully, the fans would support it and hopefully the networks would support the idea of me being a main event fighter in my next fight.
But you have to have the right kind of opponent for that to occurr. So, hopefully, we get a main event kind of opponent, and then it would be easy to put together. There’s a lot of people out there in the welterweight division to go after next.
I really don’t know what that next step is right now. But for now, the first step is recovery, and we’re just going to see who is out there to fight, and who is willing to fight. We’re still moving along in our career.
I’m really happy with the position that I have right now, and I’m just going to keep doing me, and let my manager and my team do them, and see what they propose and what they bring to us, here, shortly.
RingTV.com: How much feedback have you gotten about the San Diego comment?
KT: You know, for the most part, man, I tell people that the worst time to interview a fighter is directly after the fight, you know? We’ve got adrenalin going, and we’ve got so much going on. I do my best to speak properly, but hey, you know, we just had a blooper on national television.
I’m not the first do it, and I’m certainly not going to be the last. I also made the statement at the post-fight press conference that there are too many “San’s’ out there, man. There’s San Diego, Santa Monica, San Juan, San Francisco, and they have us fight everywhere. When I flew in, I was very focused on the fight.
I got to see a little bit of the city, but I didn’t look at it as a tourist attraction, and I was barely paying attention to where I was. I was focusing on the fight, you know? I really come hard and I come mentally prepared with a really finite focus, you know?
It was just a blooper, man. I haven’t heard too much about it, but I’ve read a little bit about it. Everyone is bashing me on it, but it is what it is. We’re just going to move on to the next one.
Photo by Soobum Im, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org