2012 has marked a significant year in the career of Keith “One Time” Thurman (18-0, 17 KOs). In a short period of time, he has been able to experience the highs, lows, frustrations, and politics that seem to come with the sport of boxing. All of this coming around the time in which a July fight between him and Marcos Maidana (32-3, 29 KOs) was announced to take place on HBO.
Eventually, Thurman was dropped as an opponent, and instead made his big show debut with a TKO of Orlando Lora (29-3-2, 19 KOs). When looking back on the situation, Thurman couldn’t help but feel as if Team Maidana’s decision was an attempt to protect their fighter. When asked about his mindset after initially hearing the news, Thurman responded, “Someone is actually smart in the Maidana camp.”
As the fight date loomed closer, Thurman couldn’t help but question Maidana’s intent to keep their original date, citing the fact that, “He ain’t a real welterweight. He has no business in this weight class.” Thurman continued, “I put people to sleep, and Maidana’s there to get hit. He just lost his first match at 147 (lbs) to Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs), who himself isn’t a true welterweight! So I believe the Maidana camp wanted to give him a boost of confident.”
This boost of confidence Thurman refers to is Jesus Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs), who was matched up with Maidana in September as part of the Saul Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez under-card. Both welterweights went to war in a fight that many are calling a “fight of the year candidate.” Behind the seemingly constant fouls and jawing between the two fighters, Maidana and Soto-Karass put forth a grueling effort in a fight that was fairly technical for the hard-charging Argentinean. Eventually, Soto-Karass succumbed to the onslaught of punches and was stopped in the eighth. On top of the thousands that were in attendance, there was another man paying close attention to the fight.
Regardless of the fact that the two were never able to meet at this point in his young career, Thurman watched as Maidana battled back-and-forth with Soto-Karass. As some would expect, Thurman had no shortage of words when asked about his thoughts on that fight. “It was a good show, and it was definitely good match-making. I think the fight was fan-friendly, so entertainment wise it was a great fight. Competition wise, if he [Maidana] had someone like me in there, it would’ve been a different night.”
Past frustrations aside, Thurman is looking forward to closing out the year with another fight. “We definitely want to get one more in before the year closes, and just go back to the drawing board so I could have a great 2013 following my 2012.” With a few more victories against steadily increasing levels of opposition, it may be a great year for the young fighter as he hopes to be in a position for a big money fight.
When asked about potential big match-ups, Thurman got his most animated as he began rattling of opponents he’d want. “Let’s see, I would take Paulie [Malignaggi] any given Sunday, Timothy Bradley, [Miguel] Cotto, and Floyd [Mayweather] if he gives me a shot at it. I’m here for a reason, not the short season. I want to come in and fight my way to the top. I want one of these big dogs. My old saying is, “I got an O, and I’m not afraid to let it go,” explained Thurman.
Thurman continued, “A lot of fighters want to keep their pretty little records, and I got many people, advisers telling me, You want to hold on to that O”, but this is a gladiator sport and I’m here to fight the best. Either I’m number one, or I’m not. I’m waiting for a big dog to try and put me in my place ’cause either you’re going to put me in my place, expose me now, and say, Keith Thurman is not ready for the elite fighters; or I’m going to put you in your place, and show you that I’m one of the elite fighters coming up in the world of boxing.”
With an old-school fighters mentality that makes one nostalgic of the sports golden age, Thurman has quickly become a must watch prospect in a talent rich welterweight division. The verdict is still out on whether all is will take is “one time” for the fighter to reach the top, but you can be confident in that he’ll make it exciting.