This Saturday night Keith "One Time" Thurman makes his return to the ring against undefeated Diego Chaves. Thurman, who is undefeated in his own right, has racked up 20 wins, 18 coming inside the distance and is also getting his first shot at a title, as he will have a chance to win WBA interim belt.
During the 195th edition of "On The Ropes" I had a chance to speak with Keith and get in detail his thoughts on what will be the most important bout so far in his early career. Thurman also gave his views on the welterweight division and some potential bouts he would like to have in the future, the biggest being, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Additionally Thurman touched on the continuing feud between Goldenboy and Toprank, and gave his official prediction for his bout this Saturday night. Here is what Keith Thurman had to say.
Jenna J: Keith, you have a big upcoming fight. You’ll be fighting for the interim WBA title. How do you feel about the opportunity you have in front of you?
Keith Thurman: I’m just really happy and excited with my career, where it is and where it’s headed, and just looking forward to performing on the 27th and hopefully another knockout.
Jenna: This fight here is actually part of a triple header called “Knockout Kings.” How do you feel about the spotlight you’re getting?
Thurman: It feels good. This is what the world of boxing is all about and this is what I’ve been training for since I was young. I just feel truly blessed and I’m just happy to be on the scene again and I’m looking forward to working with everybody in Showtime and giving the fans and the network a great performance.
Jenna: Ok, now what do think of your opponent?
Thurman: He’s a game fighter. He’s got 22 wins, 0 losses, 18 knockouts just like myself, so I’m expecting some form of a war. There should be power shots coming from both people throughout each and every round. I’m really looking forward to stepping into that ring and getting into the heat of battle and seeing how he wants to take care of his problems, because I know how I’m gonna take care of mine.
Jenna: When you popped on the scene, you didn’t do it quietly. You made an impression when you were on HBO, at the time, and you didn’t make any secret about what your future plans or what you wanted. You said you wanted Floyd Mayweather Jr. one day in the ring. When you look back at that do you still believe that fight can happen for you?
Thurman: Definitely, and now having the opportunity to perform on Showtime, I believe we are one step closer. I do understand that I have still not acquired a world title yet. Floyd, normally most of his fights are against world champions and all I was saying to the sport of boxing at the time was, “Look out for Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.” I’m coming up. I’m on the rise and I have all the intentions of making it all the way to the top and hopefully knocking the king off his throne.
Jenna: One thing in boxing, especially since you’re with Al Haymon, he doesn’t usually put his fighters against each other. Do you think he would make an exception to that for a big fight with you and Floyd?
Thurman: Al has actually already had a fight where two of his fighters had to face each other. So, even though it doesn’t happen very often, considering how many people he has in the welterweight division, I believe it’s bound to happen sooner or later.
Jenna: Alright lets talk a little about your future plans here, you’re 20-0, 18 KO’s. Your last fight you went the full 12 rounds. How important was that fight with Jan Zaveck?
Thurman: It was important. Part of my heart and soul was a little disappointed because I felt I could have taken him out. I was hurting him to the body and even to the head a little bit, but he was truly an ex-world champion, had a great defense, a real tight defense throughout the whole night, and it just felt really good to go that 12 rounds to know that I have it and to give the fans that type of performance. I really plan on doing my best to take out the competition from here on out. But you know it’s boxing, some fighters are smarter than others and sometimes you have to go the distance and that’s what we did.
Jenna: If you beat Diego Chaves, there’s talk you may fight Andre Berto next because he’s on the same card and he’s fighting Karass. What do you think about that possibility?
Thurman: If it happens it happens, to be honest, I don’t have my eyes set on Andre Berto for several reasons. One reason is the simple fact that me and him go way back. I’ve known Berto throughout the years and he’s actually one of the fighters that helped me hone my skills and my talent in the ring in the past when we worked with each other as amateurs. Part of me does have the desire to have that fight but I don’t know if it’s going to be necessary for it to be my next fight. There’s tons of great fights out there and right now Berto currently does not have a world title and I am very eager to get my hands on a world title.
Jenna: One of the problems in boxing right now is Top Rank and Golden boy won’t work with each other. Do you see fights out there you want, you know you’d love to have that match but because he’s with a different promoter I can’t have it although I want it?
Thurman: Timothy Bradley is the prime example of the answer to your question. I would love the opportunity to step in there with Timothy Bradley. He’s an undefeated fighter and looking at his last performance a lot of people see him as a beatable fighter, and a lot of people made the comment that if he would have stepped into the ring with me that night he would have lost his title. So it is disappointing knowing that they have this family feud, or whatever is going on between corporations, but hey that’s the world of boxing and that’s what’s happening. They’re not doing business together and it’s kind of like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, you don’t see them on each other’s commercials and they don’t praise each other or do anything with one another and that’s just how things are for right now and we’ll just see what happens in the future.
Jenna: You mention Timothy Bradley. He has a fight against Juan Manuel Marquez and a lot of people are just counting him out based on his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. Do you think he has a shot against Juan Manuel Marquez?
Thurman: He definitely has a shot. The main reason he has a shot is the pure athleticism that he performed in the fight with Provodnikov. Marquez is skilled and very talented, he knows the sport very well, he has power. He is going to bring that into the ring but, is he going to be able to catch him. If Bradley boxes the same way, if he doesn’t sit down and trade with Marquez, if he decides to move around the ring, circle the ring and throw his 3,4,5 punch combinations and keep moving, I believe Marquez is going to have a rough night. I believe the only way Marquez is going to win this fight is due to a K.O. or T.K.O.
Jenna: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez, how do you feel about that match up and who are you favoring?
Thurman: It’s like the match up of the century. Both fighters have over 40 victories with 0 losses. You don’t see that very often and you rarely ever see that in this day and age, so it’s a tremendous fight. Someone informed me something about the winner is going to get a 24 carat belt. They’re going all out with this fight but I believe they’re doing it because this in one of the biggest fights in a very long time and the winner of the fight is truly going to be seen as king of the ring. Floyd is already perceived as the king of the ring, I call him the king of the ring, but Canelo’s making a big name for himself. He’s got a tremendous fan base and if he does take out Mayweather, he deserves the title king of the ring.
Jenna: Back to your fight with Diego Chaves. What do you think is the most important thing for you to come away with the victory?
Thurman: The most important thing is to keep my eyes wide open in the early stages of the fight. You just never know how a fighter is going to come out at the start. The guy’s got power, he’s from Argentina. I expect him to bring a lot of pride into the ring. I’m pretty sure he’s going to want to impress everyone back at home and I’m going to be looking out for his big shots and I’m going to be boxing smart and finding out how I can place my counters. You know, the nickname is “One Time” for a reason and that’s what we’re going to be doing that night. We’re going to be looking for one shot each and every round and hopefully it presents itself early so we can go home.
Jenna: If that one shot does come, there’s is a little bit of incentive, a little bit of money on the line, do you think you will go out of your game plan to try to get that K.O.?
Thurman: No, because that one punch knockout is always in my game plan, but we box smart while we do it. I was looking for it all night against Zaveck, it was just hard to execute. I got a few nice shots in including a certain uppercut, but he had a good sturdy chin and he was able to take it. I do not believe that Chaves has as good of a chin as Zaveck does, so if we place it I do expect him to go down. They put a K.O. bonus and they put one time on the card so you best believe I really am going to be looking for a knockout and the simple fact that I had to go 12 rounds last time just really has me itching for a knockout. We’re well prepared this camp. I am a 12 round fighter, I’ve already proven that. I’m gonna keep proving it for as long as I have to, but I’m not going to be in the ring with anybody who can’t take my power. So we’ll find out what Chaves has to offer come July 27, right around the corner.
Jenna: Alright Keith it’s been a pleasure having you on the show, I have one final question, you have a lot of fans out there, a lot of people looking forward for your fight. Anything you want to say to the fans?
Thurman: Thank you for all of your love and support. God bless you and your family. Please tune in to Showtime and support me. I promise you action. That’s what I do, I come to fight. I’m a warrior at heart. Much love and thank you.
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