By Carlos Arias
Keith Thurman, 25, is a talented young prospect trying to build a name for himself in the boxing worl.
His opponents on Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson is Diaz, 34, a former two-time world champion who is a 15-year veteran with 50 fights on his record.
Could all of Diaz's experience play a role against Thurman?
"There's only a few people that I actually really, really consider a veteran," said Thurman at Westside Boxing Club. "To me, that term really means that you are old in the sport of boxing. And even though I'm only 25 years old I got 18 years in the game. I consider myself a veteran and I plan on showing that my skills and my experience --- even though I'm at the age of 25 --- (is more) than all the experience he has acquired in his professional career."
There has been a lot of speculation about a future showdown between Thurman and IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter, but Thurman maintained he is focused on Diaz.
"Every fighter takes it one fight at a time," Thurman said. "I gotta do my job Saturday night against Julio Diaz."
Diaz fought Porter to a draw in 2012 and dropped a close decision to Porter in the rematch in 2013. Diaz also gave Amir Khan all he could handle in a 12-round decision loss.
"He's been very competitive lately fighting these welterweights who are rated in the top 10, and now he's going after 'One Time,'" Thurman said of Diaz. "It's my job to make a statement on Saturday night that I'm different from all the fighters in the welterweight division, and that people should look out for Keith 'One Time' Thurman."
So how does Thurman expect the fight to play out?
"I don't expect anything, man," Thurman said. "I expect him to fight his fight and to fight his heart out. He claims, well, he made the statement that the fight's not going to go the distance. He plans on trying to knock me out. I don't know if that's what we call 'fight hype,' or if that's actually part of his strategy. We'll find out Saturday night."
You can reach Carlos Arias on Twitter @PunchyMcGee.