Keith Thurman wants to return to living up to his moniker, “One Time,” and he has an unlikely figure to thank for that.
The former welterweight titlist said in a recent interview that watching fights of Gervonta “Tank” Davis has compelled him to get back to landing “critical blows” on his opponents.
Baltimore’s Davis is regarded as one of the sport’s top one-punch knockout artists, having gone the distance in only two of his 29 career fights. Davis is coming off yet another stoppage win last month, when he knocked out Ryan Garcia with a body punch in the seventh round of their high profile 136-pound fight.
Thurman himself had made a name for himself early on as a puncher but his recent fights have seen him rely more on his boxing ability, as evidenced by the fact that the last time he garnered a knockout was in 2015, when he drubbed Luis Collazo in seven rounds.
“The one thing, there was a time I heard people commenting, ‘Is Thurman a gatekeeper?’” Thurman told ESNews. “I never met a gatekeeper that had one loss in the sport of boxing. I stopped knocking people out, I started putting on the whole show but we’re gonna get back on those critical blows.
“Matter of fact, my motivation for dropping people is ‘Tank’ Davis. Tank Davis showed me that why ever give up when you have that one punch power, why ever give up on the exclamation point? Just do it. Throughout my career I was always labelled as a puncher. At a certain time, especially if you get to the 12-round level, if you want to stay at the top, you can’t be exposed [later on in the fight]. OK, 'he’s dangerous for six, seven, eight rounds.’”
It is not clear whom Thurman will face next after Terence Crawford, the WBO titlist, and Errol Spence Jr., the WBC, WBA, and IBF champion, finalized a deal to fight each other on July 29. Crawford and Spence famously failed to reach terms last year. Thurman was then rumored to be next in line to fight Spence next.
The 34-year-old Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) has been largely inactive for the past few years due to a number of injuries. He returned to the ring last year for the first time in nearly three years to defeat Mario Barrios by unanimous decision.
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing
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