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Q&A: Thurman eyes ‘big mix of the division’

Fighters Network
Apr caught up to unbeaten welterweight contender Keith “One Time” Thurman in advance of a planned July appearance on a Showtime-televised doubleheader featuring fellow Floridian, Andre Berto.

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer wants to match Thurman (20-0, 18 knockouts) against Argentina’s Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KOs) on a card that will include two-time 147-pound beltholder Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) against hard-charging Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs).

A 24-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., Thurman is coming off last month’s unanimous-decision rout of Jan Zaveck at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, while Chaves, who will turn 27 on April 7, will be in pursuit of his sixth consecutive knockout victory.

Having scored November’s fourth-round stoppage of former tittleholder Carlos Quintana, Thurman didn’t score his ninth-straight knockout against Zaveck, but he did win their fight, 120-108, on the cards of all three judges.

Thurman-Zaveck took place on the March 9 undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ HBO-televised victory over former IBF 175-pound titleholder Tavoris Cloud.

During the post-Zaveck press conference, Thurman called out WBA 147-pound titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, engaging in a shouting match with the 32-year-old Brooklyn resident.

Click here for the video of Thurman and Malignaggi.

Thurman also has designs on facing Floyd Mayweather Jr., Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander, holders of the WBC, WBO and IBF belts, respectively. But Mayweather has a May 4 date with Robert Guerrero, Alexander, a May 18 defense against Kell Brook, and Bradley is in the mix for bouts against Juan Manuel Marquez or Manny Pacquiao.

Thurman said he watched on March 16 as Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the title he won by disputed split-decision over Pacquiao in June.

Thurman shared his thoughts in this Q&A with

alt What are your thoughts about Chaves?

Keith Thurman: I don’t even know who the dude is. Who is the dude? Well, I believe that he holds the WBA’s interim belt?

KT: Well, given that information, I think that the fight is a good fight. Like I said, I don’t know anything about the dude.

But if he’s made it that far in the ring, then I have to say that it sounds like a respectable fight for me to be in. But there’s not much out there for me to fight right now.

Everybody is fighting everybody else right now, but I really want to get into the big mix of the division. However, if that’s what they have lined up for me next, then we’ll go ahead and take care of that business and keep it moving, you know? What were your thoughts on the Bradley-Provodnikov fight?

KT: First things first, you know, Timothy Bradley was lucky that he wasn’t fighting me that night. You know what I’m saying? That was the first thing that came into my mind.

That would have been one of the easiest nights to grab the belt. I feel really bad for Provodnikov, the underdog, because he was right there and he was really close to being a world champion.

But Bradley’s the champ, and, you know, champions are champions for a reason, and Timothy Bradley did prove why he is a champion.

So I think that it was a great fight, and I definitely thought that it was an entertaining fight. But, you know, I think that everybody sees holes in Timothy’s style and in his game.

Even though Timothy is a really good fighter, I don’t see him holding on to that belt for five more years or even three more years or anything like that. As soon as I get my hands on him, it’s over.

alt Given the champions who are in the division, if you could select your next three opponents, who would they be, in order?

KT: If I had a magic wand, you know, they would be lined up in the order that I stated a long time ago, which was back on my first HBO appearance.

That order was Paulie, Timothy and Floyd “Money” Mayweather. You know, that’s the old list that I gave you guys a long time ago.

Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Pat Lovell, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]