WBA welterweight champ Thurman warns foes not to take him lightly
By STEVE CARP
Keith Thurman has a warning for his detractors who thought he had slipped a little in his last fight — don’t believe everything you see.
The 26-year-old welterweight from Clearwater, Fla., didn’t knock out Leonard Bundu when they met Dec. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden. But Thurman scored a first-round knockdown of the 40-year-old Italian and retained his interim World Boxing Association title with a 12-round unanimous decision by pitching a 120-107 shutout on all three judges’ scorecards.
Thurman (24-0, 21 knockouts) no longer is the interim champ. The WBA elevated him to full champion status last week while designating Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has held the WBA title, as the reigning “super world champion” at 147 pounds. Should Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao, that belt probably would be at stake.
Confusing? Of course. Thurman didn’t know of his “promotion” until a reporter informed him during Wednesday’s conference call to promote his March 7 title fight with former world champion Robert Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand.
Thurman does know he faces a far different challenge than against Bundu when he defends the upgraded belt in the main event of the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. He’s looking forward to what is expected to be a much more competitive fight.
“I haven’t had to prepare for a fight like this in a while,” Thurman said. “He’s an active fighter. He’ll fight you on the inside, and he has power on the outside. He’s well-conditioned, and I believe he’ll be prepared. But he’s not going to surprise me on the inside. We’ll be prepared for The Ghost (Guerrero’s nickname) and what he brings.”
Thurman said he was disappointed he didn’t knock out Bundo. But he has moved on.
“Last fight, we got a knockdown. I just wasn’t able to put the icing on the cake,” Thurman said.
Thurman said he has been pursuing a fight with Guerrero for some time. Now that he has it, he wants to put on a show, especially with a potentially large audience watching on NBC.
“I want to fight the boxers. I want to fight the punchers,” Thurman said. “I want it all.”
■ MGM GATE — The Nevada Athletic Commission released figures from the World Boxing Council heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder on Jan. 17 at the MGM Grand. The card had an announced attendance of 8,453 and a paid attendance of 4,074, producing a gate of $765,200.
■ SOUZA FLUNKS — Brazilian welterweight Jailton Souza tested positive for a banned diuretic after his loss to Rodrigo Garcia on June 10 at Texas Station.
Souza was knocked out at 1:17 of the first round. His prefight drug test revealed traces of Furosemide. He is expected to be placed on temporary suspension by the commission pending a disciplinary hearing, probably in March.
■ REMEMBERING CED — Boxing promoter Cedric Kushner, who oversaw Shane Mosley’s early professional career and promoted local heavyweights Hasim Rahman and David Tua, died after a heart attack Thursday. He was 66.
Kushner, who was from South Africa, also promoted music concerts involving the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Fleetwood Mac, among others. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and all but vanished from boxing
His highlight as a fight promoter came in 2001 when Rahman defeated Lennox Lewis to win the heavyweight title.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.
Keith "One Time" Thurman.
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