At 19-0, with 18 knockouts, Keith Thurman was already considered one of the sports brightest prospects. Still, many of his detractors pointed out the fact that although he was undefeated, he still lacked a win against a big name opponent. After his most recent performance, even those few detractors can no longer doubt Thurman’s level of talent after the dominant showing he put on in the co-main event to HBO’s World Championship Boxing broadcast.
Thurman found himself matched-up with savvy veteran, Carlos Quintana (29-4, 23 knockouts). Add in the fact that the bout was contested at a catch-weight (152 lbs.), and its easy to see why so many doubted that Thurman would look good against the aging veteran. Although many writers and professionals in the sport believed that Thurman would pull away with the victory, no one expected him to earn it in such a dominant fashion, or make it look so easy, quite frankly.
At the opening bell, both fighters came out with Thurman being the aggressor early. Instead of the usual first round where both fighters get a sense of timing for their opponent, Thurman ripped a vicious body-shot to the left side of Quintana. Forced to take a knee, Quintana was never able to fully recover and it showed in his performance. With his original game plan now abandoned, Quintana seemed focused on surviving every round rather than winning them. After stalking him for three rounds, Thurman blasted Quintana against the ropes, forcing the referee to step in and wave the fight off. Everyone but Thurman seemed about as stunned as Quintana after the victory.
“I definitley had all the intentions in my mind to go out and do what I did, but i was also prepared for him (Quintana) to throw in a few things from left and right field to try and mess up my equation. At the end of the night though, I was able to stick to my game plan and do what I did.”
One couldn’t help but notice that Thurman seemed like a different fighter. Going into what many believe was the toughest fight of his career, Thurman was supremely confident, and it definitely showed. Thurman also showed that he is much more than just a power puncher. With his mixing up of shots to the head and body, Thurman showed to be a much more well-rounded fighter.
“It was definitely my training. I had good sparring partners, and one of my sparring partners happened to box very similar to Quintana. (Like Quintana) He liked to stay very long, and stayed away since he didn’t like getting touched much. So whenever I backed him up into the ropes, I always made sure that I put in one good body shot, and in the fight, it ended up being that one good body shot that put Quintana down on the floor.”
With Thurman scoring the biggest win of his young career, there is no doubt that his stock as a prospect and potential contender has shot up.
“With everything Quintana has accomplished in his career, and the people they’ve put me in the ring with so far, it’s definitley my biggest accomplishment thus far. No doubt about it.”
Unfortunately, new questions arise just as old ones were finally answered. With a win at 152 lbs., where does Thurman fall in the rankings as he vies for a title shot? Does this put him any closer to a shot at the top dogs of the welterweight division, or is he now seen as an emerging threat in the middleweight division? Even HBO commentator Max Kellerman seemed confused as he asked Thurman where he plans on taking his career from here. With the bout being at a catch-weight rather than an already established weight class, Thurman seemed unsure of where he may stand, but confident that the only place his career can go from this point is up.
“See, it’s funny. I don’t really like questions like that because for me to make a statement for how I’m gonna do this, or how I’m gonna do that, all I can really guarantee you is that I’m always gonna be looking to put on exciting performances in the world of boxing, regardless of weight classes. As long as I believe it offers good competition, good money, and good exposure, I’m gonna sign my name on that fight contract. I will always agree to fight. 147 [lbs.] is where my heart is, but like I said, there’s not really anybody who wants to fight me right now, so we’re just gonna see what happens.”
Sure, Thurman may be in a relative grey area as far as where he may sit in the sports rankings, but he may find himself open to bigger and better opportunities now that he has proven that he can be a contender at both welterweight and middleweight. At this point, the Thurman’s chance at a “big money fight” seems to be a question of “when?” rather than “how?”. Regardless of when and where it may occur, Thurman seems content to continue proving his worth as both a boxer and a showman.
“I think it’s obvious that I’m on the right path right now, but we’ll see what happens because I don’t think a long of people are gonna want to be too eager to want to step into the ring. We’re gonna see what happens, but I think it’s all around the corner. The big money fights are just sitting there waiting, and I’ll be showing up to them very soon.”
With a KO ratio of 90%, Thurman has already proved to be one of the most exciting fighters to watch in recent memory, but with his dominant win against Quintana and more dominant performances still promised to come, Thurman has set himself up to become the next great force in boxing today.
– For news, updates, interviews, and general boxing talk, be sure to follow Tha’ Boxing Voice ( @thaboxingvoice) on Twitter as well as myself (@dfgonzalez305). Also, be sure to follow Keith Thurman (@KeithThurmanJr) as he continues tearing through opposition on his journey to become the next American super star in boxing.