By Jake Donovan
Another significant piece from Keith Thurman’s past will forever remain honored by the boxing community.
Longtime boxing cutman Mike Birmingham is among the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductees who has gained enshrinement during its annual ceremony this weekend in Tampa, Florida.
Birmingham’s honor comes posthumously, having passed away nearly 10 years ago. Similar circumstances surrounded the induction of Ben Getty, Thurman’s first head trainer who was enshrined as part of the Class of 2019.
“It’s amazing that he’s being recognized,” Thurman (29-0, 22KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “I remember last year they put in Ben Getty. Mike worked with tons of fighters in the gyms locally, guys like (retired former world champions) Winky Wright, Jeff Lacy and also myself earlier in my career before he passed away.
“It’s just so nice to hear that he’s being honored this way.”
Getty and the Birmingham family were among Thurman’s biggest influences throughout his boxing lifetime. The former amateur standout turned pro in 2007, but less than two years into his career was without the services of either. Getty passed away on May 31, 2009, while Birmingham moved on to the afterlife later that August.
The remaining link from that original team, Mike’s brother and longtime A-list trainer Dan Birmingham has since guided Thurman’s career. The unbreakable bond between the two has led to—among many other accolades—his lengthy run as a top welterweight.
Thurman claimed an interim belt in 2013, upgrading to primary titlist in 2015 and who will put that very belt on the line in a July 20 Pay-Per-View headlining showdown versus eight-division title claimant Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mandated promotional commitments for the Fox Sports PPV event put Thurman on the West Coast in Los Angeles, preventing him from being back home in the Tampa region for this weekend’s ceremonies. What he plans to continue doing is honor the words carried out by Getty and the Birminghams regarding the path they all sought for the still unbeaten boxer.
“When you become a world champion, you hit greatness,” Thurman notes. “Defeating Manny Pacquiao on July 20 will just put me on another level of greatness.
“Ben, Mike, Dan—they always knew I had the potential to be a great fighter, which I’ve proven time and time again. Just as Ben and Mike have always proven to be great, and it’s beautiful for their achievements to be honored (by the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox