Give Keith Thurman An ‘A’ For His Promotion Ahead of Pacquiao Fight

Keith Thurman has been more than holding his end of the promotional bargain up, with his lively chatter as we look toward his July 20 clash against Manny Pacquiao.

On a Tuesday conference call, Thurman (29-0 with 22 KOs), the cerebral Floridian, again brought his A game, and entertained media on the call with his vocalizing. If his fighting is at the same level, well, he may well be able to stay undefeated.

One media member asked a solid question…does Thurman think his less than A grade showing versus Josesito Lopez in his last outing actually helped secure him this super fight, against Pacman?

“That’s been the talk of the town ever since they talked about the fight. At the end of the day, who cares? This still is the most exciting fight of the year. Errol Spence versus Mikey Garcia and that didn’t hold up to the hype. When Keith Thurman fights, it’s a great fight. I think Keith Thurman makes all the great welterweight fights from here on out. It doesn’t matter who it is, when Keith Thurman fought Shawn Porter it was nominated for the Fight of the Year. When Keith Thurman fought Danny Garcia, the fans had a tremendous show. When Keith Thurman fights Manny Pacquiao, if Keith Thurman fights Errol Spence Jr., if Keith Thurman fights Terrence Crawford, I think Keith Thurman is the new Manny Pacquiao.”

Hmm, let’s parse that out a bit. “IF” Thurman fights Spence…You saw that?

We think maybe that is an indicator of some forthcoming inter-promotional pairings? Or nah, is he just stirring the pot? And, uh, what? The new Pacquiao??

“I think I am the most exciting fighter in the welterweight division today,” Thurman continued. “I might show some weakness that might give them a little bit of confidence, but outside of that, like Ellerbe mentioned, Keith Thurman has the best resume at 147. Two years out of the game and I still hold the best resume at 147.”

What say you? Is he lying? Let’s talk resumes of 147s…Yes, for being an infrequent fighter, Thurmans’  is solid. But the best? Discuss amongst yourselves…

The 30 year old hitter continued: “You can’t really take much away from me. You can throw some criticism and some shots if you want but, I believe that like I said, I bring entertainment to the welterweight division, always have, always will. If I win, I’m your entertainment, if I lose, I’m your entertainment. Keith Thurman is one of the greatest fighters in the welterweight division today hands down.

Thurman had gas left in the tank, too…

“Do you feel that too much has been made about the difficulty you had in the seventh round against Josesito Lopez or do you understand why people are pointing to that from your last fight?”

The fighter answered thusly: “I remember talking to Max Kellerman backstage after my first fight on HBO and I said, Max what did you think about the performance? He said, well, yes, you did good Keith. But what happens the day you get hit? I always thought to myself, Max do you want to hit me and find out? You know what I’m saying? Because you don’t know Keith Thurman. You don’t know what I did at the age of 15. You don’t know the road that I’ve been on. But I said okay, respect. There was a dude named Victor Ortiz at the time and he got beat up and he almost cried on national TV, but Keith Thurman isn’t a punk and I’ll show you one day. So, now, you’re asking the same question, what do you think about Keith Thurman, he isn’t going to say well Keith Thurman can’t take a punch because they’ve seen me take a punch.”

Solid stuff there. You get some candid talk about how he really felt when getting grilled by Kellerman, and he admitted something that most guys are afraid to admit, that he was temped to smack Max. Then, he threw in that Victor Ortiz diss. “A grade” outing, verbally, for Thurman…

He was asked about Lopez buzzing him good…

“I got caught. I was in danger. I remember after I got caught and then I got caught again. And then after I got caught again, I then got caught again. I got hit with three big shots that round. I said you better put your hands up. You better move your feet because only you know you’re okay right now. The whole world thinks you’re going to be knocked out. The whole world thinks you’re about to be knocked out. But just get out of this round and let’s show them what kind of champion you really are.
So, it isn’t about too much talk, it is what it is. It probably was one of my most vulnerable rounds of my career to date. A lot of fighters would not be able to get out of the round in the way that I did. And to me it’s just evidence of how great I truly am. They have a little saying in boxing, it’s not about when you get knocked down, it’s about what you do when you get back up. I don’t even let them put me down. It’s just boxing. It’s just another black eye. It’s just a sport. I have an ‘0’ and I’m not afraid to let it go. If you can beat me, beat me. Josesito Lopez had it right there in front of his eyes. He couldn’t close the deal. He couldn’t close it.”

Makes sense to me…

Thurman, it’s interesting, he’s been saving some good anecdotes for later in his career, for this sort of super fights. Like this anecdote.

“I was scared sparring Jeff Lacy when I was 16-years-old. Eventually he had to tell me, “We can’t spar anymore because you hit too hard and I’m a grown man. I want to knock you out and you’re 16 years old. I don’t want to have that on my conscious. So, you can no longer be my sparring partner because you do too much and I want to knock you out and you’re a kid. I don’t want to knock a kid out. So, we had to stop sparring. I knew he could knock me out. I wouldn’t let him, but if he actually connected, you don’t let people knock you out. So, at the end of the day I really respected Jeff Lacy for sitting me down and having that conversation and explaining to me why we will never share the ring ever again.”

And how about this for bizarro? Thurman said this of his training regimen for the Lopez bout: “I really trained myself at night at L.A Fitness…

..on a spin bike. That was my conditioning for the Josesito Lopez fight. No disrespect to Josesito Lopez, but I can’t recall the last time a flat-footed fighter, Latino fighter beat Keith Thurman. The last two amateurs that beat me were Charles Hatley and Demetrius Andrade. They were not flat-footed, Latino fighters. Styles makes fights and I knew I could rely on my boxing IQ to be victorious in the fight. In the seventh round, I realized it was a little bit of a gamble. We got out of it and if I want to look better than that, I should train harder. That’s what we’re doing.”

He trained himself? Man, I have to reach out and learn more about why that happened…

Overall, give Thurman an A for his promotional efforts. Now, who among you thinks he will earn an A on fight night? Talk to me!


Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site