Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Keith Thurman Epitomizes the Up-And-Comer

Keith "One Time" Thurman wants to fight again very soon. Just how soon? How's early summer - or even the late spring - sound? Oh, he's made it clear that he's willing to be patient, but only for guys who can give him a challenge. And what kind of guys are those?

Guys named Brook. Or Bradley. Or Maidana. Or Berto. But especially Brook. Make no mistake about it, Keith Thurman epitomizes the up-and-comer, a young man willing to get it on with the best to prove he's the best. In a sense, Thurman's the opposite of Leo Santa Cruz, a man who, nice as he is (and, trust me, Santa Cruz is pretty nice) just doesn't appear to be interested in challenging himself now that he's achieved a certain level of success.

What's more, Thurman is a character. He's as apt to go out and play what looks like a woodwind instrument as he is to bust someone in the ring. He's also extremely loyal to the memory of his late mentor, Ben Getty - so much so that it's reminiscent of Tyson and Cus D'Amato. In other words, the dangerous welterweight has a personality to match his talent.

The question of where Thurman will stand after the dust settles in the Wild West show that is now the welterweight division remains to be seen. Yet it's a question Thurman himself is as eager to find the answer to as anyone else. And that's what makes the dude exciting.

Truth be told, I don't know how Thurman would end up against the likes of Tim Bradley or Kell Brook. That's no knock on Thurman, by the way. It's high praise for how good the division is right now. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if One Time bested either or both men. He's just a promising contender, no two ways about it.

The good, or bad, news for Thurman is that he appears to be fighting in the dawn of a golden age for boxing. Let's face it, things are looking good for the fight game right now. To say the sport may well be starting a great new era for itself isn't hyperbole.

What all that means, however, is that Thurman will either end up being Ray Leonard or Ernie Shavers. Leonard, after all, rose to the top (albeit controversially) of a Hall of Fame heap. Shavers, on the other hand, had the misfortune of being an A-list heavyweight in an A-plus era. Shavers is still remembered fondly, however.

And, the way things are going, people are going to remember Thurman, as well.

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