When Keith “One Time” Thurman returns to San Antonio, Texas, in December, where he scored July’s 10th-round knockout of Argentina’s hammer-fisted Diego Chaves, the Florida-based 24-year-old welterweight will be looking to clean up a few mistakes.
One of those “bloopers” occurred during his post-fight interview in the ring at AT&T Center, where his erred by thanking the city of San Diego, later, correcting himself.
“Yeah, that was a blooper, baby,” said Thurman, who will face Jesus Soto Karass on the Dec. 14 undercard of a 147-pound defense by WBA titleholder Adrien Broner against Marcos Maidana at San Antonio’s Alamodome. “But I’m going to come back and get it right this time. I’ll be correct, and there will be no mistakes. San Antonio is where it’s at.”
Thurman (21-0, 19 knockouts) will fight Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs) as part of a stacked card that includes WBC junior featherweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz opposite Cesar Ceda, WBA light heavyweight beltholder Beibut Shumenov against unbeaten Tamas Kovacs, and former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz in a matchup with rugged Alfonzo Gomez.
The card was originally slated for the same date at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas before being reconfigured and moved to San Antonio by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer and Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza.
“It’s all good for me, man. I should have some fans out who will remember ‘One Time,’ and how I represent,” said Thurman, whose triumph over Chaves represented his 10th stoppage victory during his past 11 bouts, ending Chaves’ run of five consecutive knockout wins.
“So I plan on being in San Antonio again and just giving them another great performance. I was looking forward to Vegas, because Vegas is just Vegas, baby, but San Antonio, they’ve got great arenas for fights, and they’ve got great fight fans, and all that I look forward to, most of the time, 24-7 is just stepping back into the ring, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
In addition to getting the name of the city right, Thurman said he also wants to be more impressive, defensively, as well as more dominant than he was against Chaves, whom he dropped once each in the ninth and 10th rounds.
“To give you a little insight into my mental focus and what I really want to do this fight, is that I do want to make less mistakes this fight. The warrior mentality in me, banging with that Argentine, I allowed myself to get caught a little bit, and I allowed myself to take his blows. I wanted to let him know that he was in there with a real tough dude, just like I found out that I was in with a tough dude.
“But I was able to break down the dude in front of me (and) he was not able to break me down. I pretty much want to put on the same show without taking as many punches. You know, I want to just be the one handing out the damage and technically looking prettier in the process. I plan on doing what we’re supposed to do, which is hitting and not getting hit, but I also plan on creating that knockout.”
In the main event following Thurman-Chavez, Soto Karass rose from an 11th-round knockdown to drop and stop former two-time welterweight beltholder Andre Berto in the 12th.
The victory was the second straight for Soto Karass, who was coming off of a majority decision over Selcuk Aydin in January that helped him to rebound from an eighth-round stoppage loss to Maidana in September of 2012.
Thurman watched Soto Karass-Berto from ringside.
“I was just really watching the fight and enjoying the fight. I did have my eyes on Soto Karass, just in case his name ever popped up,” said Thurman.
“I remember watching him back when he fought Maidana. Soto Karass has been around and he’s definitely one of those guys who has been around for a long time. But, to me, he’s just another guy who I have to showcase my talents against.”
Prior to facing Chavez, Thurman was coming off of a a unanimous-decision rout of Jan Zaveck in March that ended his own streak of stoppage wins at nine.
“They keep saying that ‘We’re going to challenge Keith, and we’re going to test Keith,'” said Thurman. “They keep saying, ‘We’re going to put him in with someone tough,’ and I’m just coming to show that tough is not tough enough, man.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]