Florida welterweights Andre Berto and Keith “One Time” Thurman expressed desire and confidence during Thursday’s press conference to promote their separate bouts on a July 27 Showtime triple-header from San Antonio.
A former two-time 147-pound beltholder, Berto (28-2, 22 knockouts) will try to rebound from November’s unanimous-decision loss to Robert Guerrero against hard-charging Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs), who is coming off January’s upset majority decision over Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin.
“I let the big show get away from me twice: Once against Victor Ortiz and once against Robert Guerrero. I’m coming to San Antonio focused,” said Berto, of a card being promoted by Golden Boy.
“It’s going to be a hell of a show. Make sure you buy your tickets or tune in on Showtime, because there’s nothing stopping me. I’m ready.”
Soto Karass, 30, has suffered memorable losses to Mike Jones (twice), as well as ex-beltholder Yuri Foreman and Gabriel Rosado, Alfonso Gomez and Freddy Hernandez, the latter of whom was stopped in the first round by Berto.
“I have a great test ahead of me. I have followed Andre Berto’s career very closely. When he was a world champion, I was hoping I was going to get to fight him someday,” said Soto Karass.
“I wasn’t ready for him then, but now that I got offered the fight, I know I’m ready.This is a very important fight for me and I know I’m ready. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got to prove all of the doubters wrong. I decided that this year is the year I’m going to become a world champion.”
A 24-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) will face Argentina’s hard-hitting Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KOs), 27, who is in pursuit of his sixth consecutive knockout victory.
Thurman, meanwhile, is coming off a unanimous decision rout of Jan Zaveck in March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Although Thurman failed to notch his ninth straight knockout victory against Zaveck, he won, 120-108, on all three judges’ cards. Prior to facing Zaveck, Thurman scored November’s fourth-round knockout over Quintana.
“I don’t know if there is another fighter out there that’s hungrier than me,” said Thurman. “They’ve been feeding me, but I’m still starving. I have a long time left in this game, and I don’t know when I’m going to get enough of it.”
“I’m looking forward to this fight. My opponent is a young hungry fighter with a record of 22 and 0 with 18 knockouts, and I am 20 and 0 with 18 knockouts. You know this is going to be a fight.”
“This fight [card] is called ‘Knockout Kings II’ for a reason,” said Figueroa. “I always go out there looking for the knockout. This is a great fight card for the fans.”
“This is what boxing needs. It especially means a lot for my home state of Texas. This is perfect for me. All of my friends, family and fans can come up and see me fight.”
Photo by Soobum Im, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]