The welterweight division is now only three weeks away from one of its biggest fights ever, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman will be one of the many spectators in attendance for the fight, but as the WBA “regular” welterweight champion, Thurman has his eyes set on more than just watching the biggest names in the sport.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Keith Thurman, I discuss with him the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao event, and who he is ultimately picking to win it. Thurman also talks about possibly being the future of the division and if he’s ready for that role. Additionally, Keith shares his thoughts on not scoring a knockout in his last two. Here is what Keith Thurman had to say.
Jenna J: If you have to pick one guy to win, seeing that you will be in Vegas, who would you honestly put your money on, Mayweather or Pacquiao?
Keith Thurman: The motto is “Don’t bet against Floyd” is what a lot of people say. Don’t ever bet against Floyd, and I wouldn’t really bet against him here either. I do believe that Manny has a shot at winning. I think if Manny prepares properly, he has a good chance of winning, but Mayweather is just always smart, he’s so smart and we’ve never seen him really be dominated before. A lot of people don’t believe in Santa Clause because they don’t see Santa Clause, well we see the work that Floyd puts in and it’s real, so I got to stick with Mayweather.
Jenna J: If one person were to score a knockout in that fight, either or, who would you say is more likely to have scored it, Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather?
Keith Thurman: I’ll give that too Manny Pacquiao. But like I said, you got to see it to believe it. We’ve seen Manny drop many people, including his last opponent — he dropped him like four to six times in that fight — we haven’t seen Floyd get a knockdown or knockout since Victor Ortiz. Floyd talks a lot about his hand problems. I think he’s going to catch Manny with a lot of nice counters, and nice power punches but I don’t know if the weight is going to be behind it to put Manny down.
I’ve told people before talking about this fight, don’t be surprised if Manny Pacquiao scores a knockdown. You got to understand that scoring a knockdown doesn’t always mean that the guy was really-really-really hurt. It just meant that you caught him at the right time, his feet were a certain way, and the dude fell over when you hit him. That’s a knock down.
I think Manny is going to need a knock down — not just a knockdown, possibly more than one knockdown to win the fight. I made that statement as well, that Manny Pacquiao needs at least two knockdowns to win the fight.
Jenna J: Most people feel that you’re the guy that could carry the welterweight division when Pacquiao and Mayweather retire, do you believe that you could be that star and stay in this division and be a champion?
Keith Thurman: Most definitely, I guarantee to you — even right now, with Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fighting — that my fights are going to be some of the most exciting fights in the welterweight division. I look forward to my career and I look forward to what’s happening to the sport of boxing and I can’t wait to mix it up again and keep giving you guys great performances here in 2015.
Jenna J: Your last two fights have gone the distance, is that disappointing to you at all? You like the KO’s, was it disappointing to you that you didn’t get a stoppage in the last two fights?
Keith Thurman: Yeah, it’s disappointing, just a little bit, but I try to take what’s positive out of it. Each time that I do not get a knockout, I’m getting twelve round experience and I am a twelve round fighter fighting at the world class level and it’s good to have that experience.
I know I can hurt people and I can knock them out, I might not need all the rounds but this is a sport, boxing is a sport. Having fights like this that go to the distance, they really at the end of the day when I get to reflect back on them, I end up having a better understanding of the sport as a whole, what I can and cannot do and what’s expected of me every single round to win the fight.
It’s alright, I just I tell myself “It’s alright bro, it’s alright, you didn’t get the knockout,” but deep down that’s what I want to do. I know I can hurt people but you got to set it up, you got to be smart about it. I was trying to be smart all night, I wasn’t just swinging wildly or anything but at this stage and this level, we’re not fighting tomato cans anymore and you just gotta either be a little smarter or a little bit more aggressive to get those knockouts.
I’m going to hurt people every single time I step in the ring. I’m going to give you guys some of the most exciting fights in the welterweight division, guaranteed, and look forward to knockouts in the future. Some of these boys can take my power, but there are a lot of people who can’t, so we’re just going to keep moving forward.
Jenna J: There’s talk about Kell Brook coming back around June or July, and there is a lot of interest in seeing you and him have a unification fight. If you were to meet Kell Brook in the ring, how do you think that would go?
Keith Thurman: That would be the best fight of the year. It would be a great fight. I think Kell’s a smart boxer. He’s got a real nice right hand, he’s got a good jab, and I think it would be a great fight.
I don’t know much about him, Kell Brook has just been getting attraction from the American eyesight. I’ve been looking at him since he fought Shawn Porter, so it’s only been two fights since I’ve watched the guy, but I do think he’s a real solid contender and a solid champion.
Jenna J: In closing Keith, is there any messages you want to pass a long to all your fans?
Keith Thurman: Thank you everybody for all your love and support. Stay tuned, I’ll be fighting some time this summer.