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Thurman Ready for Welter Wars

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By Bill Tibbs


World Boxing Association (WBA) interim welterweight titleholder Keith “One Time” Thurman predicted prior to last Saturday’s bout with Jesus Soto Karass that he had “two Christmas presents for him, a right hand and a left hand.” However, early in the opening round, a hard, looping, overhand right from Karass had Thurman wobbling. Shortly after the chin-check landed, Thurman had his hands down and was dodging out of harm’s way with all the swagger and skill of a fighter who says he plans to “bring it all the time to all the welterweights out there.” A good chin and strong recuperative powers were just a couple of variables that allowed the Clearwater, Florida native to go on to a ninth round stoppage over his gutsy Mexican foe. And, by fight’s end, Thurman showed the 147-pound ranks that he indeed planting his flag in what might just be boxing’s deepest division as he looks to test himself against the game’s best at his weight. Thurman used strong counter shots, good ring movement and a controlled confidence throughout the fight to wear Karass down, eventually stopping him.


And make no mistake; despite entering the ring with eight losses on his résumé, the arguably world-class Karass will more than likely beat you if you are not at the elite level. Thurman shined on the big stage on this evening, in this case, the main support to Marcos Maidana’s upset win over previously undefeated Adrien Broner on HBO, live from San Antonio, Texas. Now, it is on to 2014 and bigger and better things for Thurman, who says he will be “destroying the welterweight division.”
 
Thurman turned pro in the fall of 2007 and by the summer of 2012, had built up an 18-0 record (with one no-contest) and was on the cusp of breaking out. In November of 2012, he turned a few heads in the game stopping veteran Carlos Quintana in four rounds on the undercard of Robert Guerrero vs. Andre Berto in Ontario, California. With the win, Thurman also captured the World Boxing Organization North American Boxing Organization (WBO NABO) light middleweight title. Almost four months later, he successfully defended the title against Jan Zaveck on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ win over Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This led to his first of two trips to Texas to clock into work.
 
Last July, Thurman traveled to the AT&T Center in San Antonio to defeat previously unbeaten Diego Gabriel Chaves to capture the WBA interim welterweight title. He returned for his last fight of this year to the Alamodome in San Antonio last Saturday night to defend his title. The big win, stopping tough-as-nails gatekeeper Karass now identifies him as a major player at 147. Now sitting at 22-0 (20), the former 2007 Olympic Trials silver medalist seems poised to make some serious noise in the welterweight ranks. He certainly has the right team behind him with heavy-hitter Al Haymon as his manager and Golden Boy Promotions handling him. While Karass was without question a step up and a test, the division where “One Time” plies his trade is rife with some of the game’s very best including Timothy Bradley, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao and pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
 
Still undefeated and just as confident, Thurman appears to be ready to jump into the talent-laden, elite welterweight title mix. While the gauntlet at 147 is a deep, daunting run, Thurman is unfazed. As “One Time” said in his recent post-fight interview, “Keith Thurman is going to bring it all the time.”
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 

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