Undefeated prospect Keith Thurman (18-0, 17 knockouts) has finally gotten what he wanted. No, it’s not the big name match-up he’s been clamoring for since his victory against Orlando Lora (29-3-2, 19 knockouts), but it’s positive nonetheless. Before the year’s end, Thurman voiced his desire to land a fight in November, and it appears the boxing gods listened. Thurman is set to make second HBO appearance on November 24th against the battle-tested veteran, Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23 knockouts).
With the official announcement of their match-up, many couldn’t help but ask a few questions as the two prepare for their Nov. 24th clash. Most of the confusion revolved around the fights contracted weight. Many know that Thurman has been spending his time focusing on the welterweight division, while Quintana recently abandoned the weight class for the junior middleweight division. Eventually, Thurman revealed that the contract was for a catch weight bout at 152 lbs. Many thought Thurman would be better off fighting a fellow welterweight, but as he has mentioned before, no one in the division wants risk losing it all against an up-an-coming fighter.”I’m not going to wait on people that don’t want to fight me.”
Unfortunately, it seems even more questions arose after the agreed upon weight was finally announced. To many, Thurman has looked nothing short of unstoppable at 147 lbs., but some have questioned whether his performance might be affected with this addition weight. Will his cardio be affected at 152? Will his punches still have as much stopping power against a bigger opponent? “I’ve competed at 152 (lbs.) many times. I feel good, and I’m not really worried about it.”
Further research into Thurman’s background in boxing seems to support his claim, as most of his fights as an amateur came in the 152 lb. division. “In the amateur ranks, they got rid of the welterweight class, and since there’s no longer 147 (lbs.), you fight at either 141 (lbs.) or 152 (lbs.). So I fought at 152 (lbs.) and it’s become a very natural weight for me.” His amateur days seemed not only familiarized give him with a heavier weight, but also gave an idea of how to deal with the division’s bigger fighters, as he took on fellow up-and-comer Demetrius Andrade (18-0, 13 knockouts) at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Having this kind of experience will no doubt benefit Thurman in his preparation for his fight with Quintana, as he can now focus on certain aspects of his opponent’s game instead of his height or weight advantage. “Quintana might be a little bigger, I’m not quite sure, but I believe I’m going to hold my own and do my thing.” This kind of confidence will serve Thurman well, and will ultimately be one of his most important tools going into this fight on the 24th.
Thurman will need to bring out every tool from his bag of tricks because a win over Quintana could be just what the young fighter needs to propel him into a match-up with one of the “big dogs”. Luckily, Thurman seems to realize the opportunity in front of him as he jumped on the chance to accept Quintana’s challenge. “Carlos Quintana is a well respected fighter, who has fought against many world champions. He was able to upset Paul Williams, as well as a whole bunch of other fighters. I just think this fight is going to be a great test to show everybody that I’m a true contender here in the world of boxing.”
Recently, Quintana has shown to be fairly inactive, fighting just once in 2011, and now twice in 2012. As long as the length of time between fights may be, Thurman knows he can’t underestimate the veteran, as he has already proven that he could score an upset at any moment. Which Quintana shows up will also be an interesting thing to watch for. Will this be the fighter who was capable of upsetting Paul Williams during a period where Williams was thought of as one of the most dangerous men in the division? Or will this be the Quintana who is fully content on facing sub-par competition as long as it pays the bills?
Regardless of which it may be, Thurman will have to make the most of his opportunity on Nov. 24th. With his mix of strategy and power, Thurman has all the tools to make it a short night for the veteran Quintana. A dominant victory would not only push Thurman into the spotlight, it will finally be what most fans are looking for as far as determining whether they believe Thurman is the sport’s next superstar. “I feel like I’m ready to prove myself, and show these people that I’ll fight anybody. I’m going to put on a good show every time I step into the ring. You better come prepared [because] I’m going to come prepared, and just make good fights in the sport of boxing.”
As fight date nears, only one question truly remains, and that is how does one see the fight play out? To some this has potential of being an absolute war between a hungry young fighter trying to prove his place amongst the sports best, and a veteran who is looking to solidify his. Others however, feel this has the potential of being a tactical fight in which one must outwit the other. “It depends on what he (Quintana) wants to do. I’m going to fight smart like I always do and I’m going to be looking for that knockout like I always do. It’s all about putting pieces of the puzzle together while it’s all going down. If we could put two and two together, we might have an early night.”
Thurman has proven to be one who is as quick with his words as he is with his fist. This all but guarantees that his fight against Quintana will be one to watch as one fighter hopes to rise to excellence, while another battles to stay relevant.
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