Keith Thurman's three most thrilling victories
By Hector Franco
March 4, 2017
BROOKLYN, NY – Tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) will defend his WBA welterweight championship against WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs). The fight contains arguably the two most well-known names within the Premier Boxing Champions stable. Thurman-Garcia will be just the third unification championship bout in boxing history between two undefeated fighters.
Thurman who trains in St. Petersburg, Florida has been making waves in the division since 2012. A win over Danny Garcia will propel him as the number one fighter in the division. The road to the fight with Garcia has been mostly exciting with few bumps along the way. We’ll look at three of Thurman’s best performances before heading into the biggest bout of his career.
Diego Chaves (25-2-1, 21 KOs) – July 27, 2013
Going into 2013, Thurman was still making his up the way rankings in the welterweight division. Chaves was a relatively unknown puncher from Argentina who many thought would fight in the style of his countrymen Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse. This wasn’t the case with Chaves as he had more technical ability than either man with the ability to counterpunch. The uppercut was Chaves’ best punch.
The fight itself was the biggest test of Thurman’s career. Chaves was not there to be an opponent for Thurman to look good against. After many close rounds where Chaves was able to counterpunch and at times outbox Thurman, Thurman came back to assert himself as the bigger puncher. In the ninth round, Thurman dropped Chaves with a body shot that he likely didn’t recover fully from. The fight was stopped in the tenth round after Thurman ended the fight with a right hand.
This fight showed that Thurman could make adjustments and deal with some adversity. After Chaves, Thurman became the upcoming welterweight who you needed to keep an eye on.
Robert Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) – March 07, 2015
Guerrero was seen as a measuring stick for Thurman. For Thurman, this was an opportunity to showcase his skills against a common opponent of Floyd Mayweather. There was also the pressure of being the first main event for the PBC platform as it made its debut in a prime time spot on NBC.
The fight became a showcase for Thurman as he dominated a vast majority of the fight landing the cleaner and harder punches. Thurman scored a knockdown in the ninth round that hurt Guerrero. The Mexican fighter came back in the later rounds and began to push Thurman back and land punches of his own. By that time it was too late as Thurman had already done more than enough to earn a clear decision victory. Thurman won by scores of 120-107, 118-109, and 119-108 on the judge's scorecards. With the victory over Guerrero, Thurman became the fully recognized WBA welterweight champion. Beforehand, Thurman held the interim version of the WBA championship.
Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) – June 25, 2016
Looking at both Thurman and Garcia’s resumes if taken into account when they faced their opposition, Shawn Porter could arguably be the best fighter that either man has faced. Going into the fight with Porter there was high tension as the match had been postponed due to Thurman being in a car accident. This caused many to doubt if Thurman wanted the fight with Porter.
Both men went into the fight with almost a whole year of inactivity. The fight took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to a large and lively crowd. The two men produced a fight that lived up to the hype as it was a back and forth affair with both men landing clean, effective punches. Porter was the constant aggressor throughout the fight while Thurman was able to land the cleaner more eye-catching punches in exchanges.
Thurman ended up winning a close unanimous decision victory with scores of 115-113 from all three judges. Many in the building that night felt Porter may have deserved the decision, but most observers agreed that it was a close fight that Thurman had a slight edge in. Porter has yet to fight since the Thurman fight but will likely face Andre Berto this upcoming April. A rematch between the two men would still be highly anticipated by boxing fans.
For now, this is the best victory of Thurman’s career thus far. If he wins tonight against Garcia in spectacular fashion, it will take the place of the Porter fight.
(Feature Photo: Naoki Fukuda)