By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman respects the redemptive journey Jesus Soto Karass took to reach their welterweight title fight Saturday night in San Antonio.
The unbeaten Thurman also expects one of boxing’s best comeback stories of 2013 to end in disappointment at Alamodome.
“Soto Karass is a well-respected opponent,” Thurman, 25, said. “He’s coming back. He’s gotten good win after good win, coming off of a few losses. He’s a very tough, durable fighter. This is the kind of guy that really will test how badly you want to be at the top.
“A lot of people call fighters like him gatekeepers, things like that. I’ve got a lot of respect for Soto Karass. I expect him to fight his fight. I just expect to be the younger, faster, stronger, smarter fighter come [Saturday night].”
Mexico’s Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs, 1 NC) is about a 6-1 underdog against the heavy-handed Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs, 1 NC), but he stopped favored former WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (28-3, 22 KOs) in the 12th round of his last fight, July 27 in San Antonio. Earlier that night, Thurman, of Clearwater, Fla., produced the most impressive performance of his six-year pro career by knocking out previously unbeaten Argentine slugger Diego Chaves (22-1, 18 KOs) in the 10th round.
The 31-year-old Soto Karass’ comeback from an eighth-round technical loss 15 months ago against Argentina’s Marco Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) began Jan. 26, the night he out-boxed Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin (26-2, 19 KOs) to win a 10-round majority decision in Las Vegas.
“A lot of people don’t believe in me and they don’t think I have what it takes to beat Keith Thurman,” Soto Karass said. “But I’ve proven them wrong before and the people will respect me after the fight.”
The scheduled 12-rounder between Thurman and Soto Karass will be contested for Thurman’s interim WBA welterweight championship. It’ll be broadcast by Showtime as part of a four-fight telecast (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) that’ll feature unbeaten WBA welterweight champion Adrien Broner (27-0, 22 KOs) against Maidana in the 12-round main event.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing. Tags: Jesus Soto Karass , Keith Thurman , Thurman-Soto Karass , Thurman vs. Soto Karass