Keith Thurman is preparing to headline the first PBC event on NBC and ‘One Time’ is prepared to become the next huge boxing star.
We talked with Thurman about his fight with Guerrero, his advisor Al Haymon and a possible Mayweather fight:
BSO: What does PBC mean for your personal brand & your career?
Thurman: You know, PBC is going to be great. It’s going to be spectacular for myself, the world of boxing in general and all of the fighters on the card. I’m truly looking forward to building my fan base and letting other people who haven’t been following boxing lately to see the best talent in the world.
BSO: What does it mean to headline the first major PBC fight?
Thurman: To me it means that Al Haymon has a lot of faith in me and that he believes in my boxing ability and power. It also means that he believes that this fight is a great fight, that it deserves to be the headliner.
It’s really just a blessing. I couldn’t ask for anything more or greater. I’m 26 years old, I don’t recall what it was like before. My father and older people around me let me know that it being back on NBC and prime time network will make it like it was. Everyone will talk boxing.
It was my dream as a kid was to make history. All I ever wanted was to be like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard. Back in the day American people knew who they were and I want them to now know Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
BSO: Do you feel like this Guerrero fight is a stepping-stone to getting bigger fights with elite fighters?
Thurman: I think they will have more incentive to take it. Not only am I holding the WBA title right now and NBC is big. You really can’t hold back once you hit that level. There are certain fighters that if they want to remain relevant they will have to get through me. Guerrero is a stepping-stone because it’s my first fighter ranked in the Ring Magazine Top 10. I said it before; we can start at 10 and go down the list. 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and I meant the words that I say.
This is a great opportunity, Guerrero has been in the ring with Floyd Mayweather, he’s a 4 time world champion and has been in the ring with many other world champions. It’s a great learning experience.
BSO: Do you think Guerrero is going to test your power? Do you think he will stand in there and trade shots with you?
Thurman: It doesn’t matter what he’s going to do, he’s going to get hit regardless. I tell people all the time, nobody wants to be hit. You have to trick a man, to hit a man. So, we are going to trick him, stick him and he’s going to go down.
BSO: Do you think this PBC exposure will set you up for a Mayweather fight in September?
Thurman: I think it does. At the end of the day after this Guerrero fight we will have a common opponent. With a knockout that’s a big statement, without a knockout it’ll be more discussion. If I get a shut out it still makes a statement but I believe the knockout will create more buzz and make that fight more likely to happen.
Outside of that they will say I’ve only beat one guy, Floyd has beat a ton of champions. Money Team always has something to say.
With that in mind I’m willing to go after Marcos Maidana, I will follow Floyd’s footsteps. Whoever he fight’s I’ll fight next. I only want to fight real champions; I want to fight real opponents, so that I can climb the latter.
BSO: How much input does someone like Al Haymon have when it comes to booking these fights? How much does having him in your corner help getting you major fights?
Thurman: Haymon has a ton of top welterweights. When the time is right I think everything is going to go down. Right now we are getting Guerrero, who else can we get his year? Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Kell Brook, Marcos Maidana… There’s a lot of great fights to make. It’s all about signing on that dotted line.
BSO: You’ve said before that you are a true welterweight. All of these other guys have had to move up into the division or move around. What sets you apart from them?
Thurman: That quote of mine you just used is one of my favorite lines because only real boxing fans understand what that means. When I say I’m a true welterweight I’m talking about every fighter that has ever moved into the welterweight division. People always ask why there’s a lot of divisions, because we need them. Even 7 lbs is a big difference.
Just the past 6 to 10 years there’s been a lot of fighters that moved into the welterweight division. Look at Mayweather vs Hatton, they fought at welterweight but they competed side by side at 140 and moved up together to 147. In my mind I call that a catch weight. When a 140 pounder that moves up fights a 140 pounder moved up and they move up it’s a catch weight. We just saw a catch weight with Amir Khan vs Devon Alexander, Khan hasn’t fought a real welterweight yet. If he wanted to make a statement he should’ve fought Shawn Porter or Kell Brook.
So a lot of these 140 pounders are moving into the division and trying to fight other 140 ponders that have moved up. That’s why I call myself a real welterweight; anyone that steps into the ring with me is facing a real welterweight. I’ve weighed 147 lbs since high school and I’ve never stepped on a scale at 154. A lot of these guys like Broner, Amir Khan and in the future Danny Garcia you will see these light-welterweights try to come up and fight.
Floyd Mayweather & Pacquiao have came up to the division but they can play the game with bigger guys and get away with it. That’s why they say skills pay the bills. So I respect Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao but outside of that there’s no light-welterweights in the division that I respect.
You can watch Thurman vs Guerrero in primetime on NBC on March 7th or watch it live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.