At the time, only multi-titlewinner Paul Williams had stopped Quintana quicker, doing so in the first round of their return bout in June of 2008 after having lost by unanimous decision four months earlier.
A 25-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., Thurman (22-0, 20 knockouts) referenced the win over Quintana during Thursday’s final press conference in advance of Saturday’s bout with Jesus Soto-Karass at The Alamodome.
“Last year, [against Quintana] I ended the year with a tremendous fourth-round stoppage,” said Thurman. “Just like last year, for me, this is going to be the icing on the cake.”
“Keith came out there and got a little careless, and dropped his hands and got caught. But he quickly recovered and went to work. He showed a lot of resilience, especially after he had gotten hurt,” said Thurman’s trainer, Dan Birmingham.
“He settled down and boxed and set his punches up and he went to work. I think that, more and more, he’s showing more confidence. Knowing that he’s going to get his guy, but being patient, and setting things up and then going to work at the right time.”
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was equally, if not, more effusive in his comments about Thurman.
“Keith Thurman is as tough as they come, and, clearly, right there, he’s right there at the top of the 147-pound weight class. He’s a helluva fighter, and he showed heart. In the first round, he was a little bit hurt. But he showed has a chin as well as an iron will. Not only is he imposing his will on others, but he was able to just grind down a very game Soto Karass,” said Schaefer.
“Great performance, and I’m very proud of both guys. He can take a punch, he can be slick, he can box, and he has a punch. You step him up, and every time, he delivers. Tonight was a helluva fight, and I think the question is, who can beat Keith Thurman? I don’t there there’s anybody. I just don’t think there is anybody who is going to beat Keith Thurman.”
In The Alamodome, Thurman and Soto Karass returned to the town where they last fought in July. Thurman had scored a 10th-round knockout of Argentina’s previously unbeaten Diego Chaves, whom he dropped once each in the ninth and final round. On the same card, Soto Karass rose from an 11th-round knockdown to drop and stop former two-time welterweight beltholder Andre Berto in the 12th.
In Saturday’s main event, hard-hitting welterweight Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KO) scored knockdowns in the second and eighth rounds of a unanimous decision victory that dethroned WBA beltholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner (27-1, 22 KOs).
In his last bout in June, Broner jumped two weight divisions for his 147-pound debut with a split-decision victory that dethroned Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi for the division’s WBA’s belt. Maidana was in pursuit of his fourth straight stoppage victory, a run includes knockouts of Jesus Soto Karass and Josesito Lopez.
Watching Maidana-Broner from ringside was newly-crowned welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs), who was coming off a Dec. 7 unanimous decision that dethroned southpaw Devon Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs) as IBF beltholder.
Alexander had represented the last defeat for Maidana, who had scored three consecutive knockouts prior to facing Broner, and had fallen to Alexander by unanimous decision in his 147-pound debut in February of 2012.
Given their victories, Schaefer was asked what’s next for Thurman, Porter and Maidana, all of whom are promoted by Golden boy and advised by Al Haymon.
“I’m not going to speculate on what’s next,” said Schaefer. “There are so many possibilities. We’ll have to see. We have so many great fights.”
Below are some topics broached with Thurman with RingTV.com.
Keith Thurman on his overall performance against Soto Karass:
“Soto made me bring it out from the first round. He was ready in the first round, and I was dilly dallying in the first round, but he turned the lights on and woke me up. It was a fight after that…Each time that we step out, we show the fans a little bit more. They get to see a little bit more in Keith Thurman.
“They get to see, once again, that people want to test my power, and with each knockdown, we prove that the power is legit, and it’s legitimate power in the welterweight division, and, also, that my boxing ability is there.
“I have that ability to go in there and to figure out my opponent. So even though I’m just 25 years old, I think that the fans are seeing more and more that I’m a young and very mature fighter.”
On being hurt in the first round:
“You know, true champions take shots and the give shots. Even if he was to knock me down, I was prepared to have to get up and to win the fight.”
On the referee’s stoppage:
“The referee made a good stoppage, because Soto Karass was really hurt as he was standing up. That last punch was a devastating punch.
“It was a great fight, and I’m thankful for Soto in this fight. It was a great growing and learning experience, and I’m looking forward to 2013.”
“That’s El Chino, you know. You can say that ‘The Problem’ was his own problem. If you look at the fight, he was flat-footed just like he was with Paulie, and he took a lot of shots.
“He was inactive, and you really can’t win fights that way unless you’re landing the power shots and even though he was looking for the counters, you know, those Argentine fighters, they duck their heads, and, sometimes, they’re a little bit harder to hit from that respect, and so, you’ve got to work a little harder.
“I don’t think that Broner was ready for the toughest fight of his life, and El Chino was ready and he proved that he’s really a champion.”
On why he, and not Porter, should be next to face Maidana:
“Well, I’m the No. 1 mandatory, and I know that Shawn Porter is a champion and did beat the man who beat Maidana. But, I’m holding on to the No. 1 position, and what am I doing there if I’m not supposed to be getting a shot at the champion as his mandatory.
“So that’s all that I have to say about that…Everyone’s in the future. The whole welterweight division is in my future. THE RING magazine has me ranked No. 8. Let’s go after No. 7, let’s go after No. 6, let’s go after No. 5, No. 4, No. 3, No. 2, No. 1. I’m ready for the world, baby.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]