I recently chanced upon a youtube video of a boxer who said that he could knock out Manny Pacquiao. Sounding a bit arrogant and cocky, the welterweight boxer even said that he doesn’t believe in collecting belts in various weight divisions, perhaps alluding to how Pacquiao won championships in eight weight divisions.
The welterweight boxer even said that he wants to unify or clean up a division. He even gave some kind of respect to Floyd Mayweather, by not saying unequivocally that he is confident of knocking out the American.
The name of this boxer is Keith Thurman, who currently totes a record of 22-0 with 20 knockouts. Yup, Thurman is undefeated and only two of his opponents lasted the distance. And at 25 years old, he is the interim World Boxing Association welterweight champion and his future looks promising. Very promising, indeed.
If there is a fight that could produce a higher level of interest compared to Pacquiao squaring off with Timothy Bradley the second time around, or with Ruslan Provodnikov, it would definitely be Pacquiao-Thurman. The reason is simple: a knock out artist always has an aura of invincibility and power, and many fight fans want to see a knock out artist get beaten eventually. And when the late Edwin Valero was knocking out opponents silly, I was salivating for a fight between him and Pacquiao.
Pacquiao-Valero never happened because the Filipino fought at the higher divisions, and Valero was found dead in a jail on April 2010. Some believed Valero was murdered. He ended his career with 27-0 with 27 knockouts.
It’s worth watching how Thurman lives up to his potential. While Thurman boasts of a record of 22-0 with 20 knockouts, only two opponents stand out: fellow knock out artist Diego Gabriel Chaves whom he stopped in the 10th round in August 27 last year (Chaves was 22-0 with 18 stoppages entering the fight); and an over-the-hill Jesus Soto Karass last December 14 via a ninth-round stoppage.
Definitely, Thurman is one of the future faces of boxing in the middle divisions (light welterweight to middleweight), along with Adrien Broner, Mar–cus Maidana, Eris–landa Lara, Saul Alvarez and undefeated Danny Garcia.
Obviously, a changing of the guard will happen in the next few years in those divisions, which means that Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez will have to exit boxing soon or risk getting beaten or tested to the limit by the fighters just mentioned.
But then, a fight between Thurman and Pacquiao would be interesting and if it happens, I see the Filipino handing the undefeated knock out artist his first loss via a wide decision. Thurman also won’t stand a chance against Mayweather, who will simply pick him apart with right hands and left hooks.
Thurman’s camp surely sees the risks of pitting their fighter against either Pacquiao and Mayweather. So at the moment, Thurman’s camp will simply pick on “safe” choices to pad their fighter’s record with more knock out wins to create an aura that Thurman is invincible.
But Thurman may find his match against Garcia, who has faced better opposition, or even Maidana, who has been into more grueling wars.
Garcia has registered wins over Amir Khan via a fourth-round stoppage, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt, and just recently over Lucas Martin Matthysse. Garcia even said last December that he is ready to face Pacquiao.
Before losing to Garcia, Matthysse had a record of 34-2 with 32 knockouts. Garcia has a record of 27-0 with 16 knockouts and is also 25 years old like Thurman.
While he is a junior welterweight (140 pounds), I see Garcia eventually invading the welterweight division (147 pounds) because he is too tall for his current division at 5’8.5”.
For sure, boxing would not be boring once Pacquiao and Mayweather exit the sport for good. In fact, Thurman-Garcia could generate a buzz, and I hope promotional issues won’t delay that fight or flush it down the drain. How about Garcia-Pacquiao?