December 15, 2012

KO Digest Spotlight On Boxing's Up and Comers - Keith Thurman

"One Time" Keith Thurman is 19-0 with 18 KOs
By Terry Strawson - Undefeated prospect Keith Thurman was born on November 23rd 1988 in Clearwater, Florida. His early career, which included six National Championships and a Silver Medal at the US Olympic Trials in 2008, was guided by the late Benjamin Getty. More recently, with the same success, he has operated under the watchful eye of Dan Birmingham.

Known as "One Time" - he is a Knockout Artist. 

Thurman's attacks, although ferocious and thrown with bad intentions, are controlled and calculated. His aggression is effective. Operating behind a jab that is deployed as more of a range-finder than a weapon, Thurman stalks his opponents like a predator does prey. His straight right is thrown sharp and at times he whips overhand rights and lefts viciously in an attempt to leave opponents motionless. Crippling hooks, which have resulted in many victims wincing and writhing in pain, are further cause for concern. 

His win over Carlos Quintana, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA which preceded, and was slightly overshadowed, by the Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto fight, was his most impressive performance to date. It was viewed, due to the pedigree of Quintana, as a big test for Thurman.
A real fight.
Thurman, as is customary for him, started strong. Quintana (29-4 w/ 23KOs) began with caution, almost fearful it seemed. "He looked a little concerned. With me being an undefeated fighter, with all those knockouts, he probably started second guessing signing the fight agreement."

Quintana, who holds a victory over a then unbeaten Paul "The Punisher" Williams, was coming into the ring on the back of an impressive sixth round stoppage of Deandre Latimore last May. He posed a legitimate threat to Thurman.
Or should have.

Quintana crumbles - Thurman wins on HBO
The fight, which saw the 24 year old Thurman drop his 36 year old counterpart with a thoughtful and well-placed body shot in the opening stanza, did not last too long. After a barrage of well timed and unanswered blows, referee Jack Reiss was forced to call a halt to the bout at 2:19 of the 4th round. The victory, his second on HBO this year following his TKO win over Orlando Lora, capped what has been a fine year for Thurman.
"2012 was a real fantastic year," Thurman explained. "We were able to pull off four fights, four KO victories and, you know, the two appearances on HBO. I just think it's been perfect."
It's just the beginning.
The assignments that await in 2013 are only going to grow tougher and the pressure and expectations will continue to rise as Thurman progresses through the ranks of a welterweight division littered with talented fighters. Thurman seems ready though. And when quizzed on who he would like to get his hands on specifically, he leaves no doubt telling KO Digest, "I wanna slap Paulie up!"
"I definitely want that fight right there," Thurman continued, calling out the current WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. Thurman also spoke about a desire to face Marcos Maidana in a bout that was scheduled once, and later cancelled, earlier this year. He touched on aspirations of working his way towards WBO welterweight kingpin Timothy Bradley in the not too distant future. And, although Thurman is comfortable at welterweight, we should not rule out the possibilities at junior middleweight. "Where I am at in my career I am ready to make moves, ready to get my foot in the door, whether that be at 147 or 154 lbs."

Thurman under the watchful eye of Dan Birmingham (L)
Keith Thurman is a dangerous man. Those in the upper regions of the welterweight division should be very wary of his presence. Is he the finished article? No. Can his power change a fight at any moment? Yes. And that, although he's a very capable boxer otherwise, is where the worry from the likes of Malignaggi and company stems from.

After his victory over Quintana, when called upon by Max Kellerman to rate his performance, Thurman awarded himself a B+. During our conversation last week I asked Thurman what had been missing, or what he felt he could of done better.

"Well, for the most part. I pretty much felt like I did everything that I needed to do to win that fight"

And this quote, regarding that particular fight, resonates with his career as a whole so far. Thurman will certainly face bigger challenges in 2013 but there is reason to believe the best is yet to come from Keith 'One Time' Thurman.

Overall Rating: B+

Written by Terry Strawson - exclusively for KO Digest