The Big Question: Keith Thurman - Hope or hype?

Boxing Monthly
14/07/2015 9:50am

In light of his laboured win over Luis Collazo – is Keith Thurman worthy of the next shot at Floyd Mayweather or has he been exposed as another American hype job?

In the internet age, we are quicker to write off fighters than ever before. Underwhelming performances don't erode all the positives that have preceded them. Much is made of how deep a division welterweight is but in reality there are few viable options for Floyd Mayweather to choose from. Tim Bradley is the best opponent available but due to boxing politics it won't happen. Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman remain as the most realistic candidates. Although my personal preference would be to see Khan get the call, Thurman is the most deserving of those three having gathered a number of wins against solid contenders. Thurman may never live up to the early hype but few prospects do. Once you strip away the hyperbole, what you are left with is a good fighter who may not beat Floyd but has at least earned the right to attempt to. – John MacDonald.

Maybe I got to the Thurman party a little bit late, but I've never seen what the big deal was with him. Most of his performances over the last few years have been lacklustre. We keep hearing about this incredible power and skill to compete with the top guys, but we continue to see mediocre performance after mediocre performance. When it comes to competing with the division's elite, I'm saying he's another American hype job. – Shawn W. Smith.

It’s not fair for some to say he’s hype just because he got caught with a good body shot. Thurman didn’t go down and bangers are likely to get caught from time to time. This doesn’t make him a poor fighter. His level of opposition has steadily been improving, but he’s not been in with a top-10 welterweight yet, so it seems unfair to decide on his value while he’s still learning. If his ‘team’ think short-term, put him in with Mayweather Jr and he loses badly, will his confidence ever recover? Promoters sell the sizzle, so they won’t say it, but perhaps Thurman needs more time to develop - and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, good things take time. – Martin Chesnutt, TKO Radio.

I’m struggling to understand the amount of criticism Keith Thurman has started to receive. Of course, everybody loves a puncher and it’s understandable that the ‘One Time’ hype train is picking up fewer passengers now that the Floridian has begun to box more than bang. I’m of the opinion that Thurman has actually added an extra dimension to his game, making him more dangerous than before. If Thurman fought, say, Andre Berto or Shawn Porter next, could you honestly make a firm prediction as to how he would choose to fight them? Probably not and neither could they. Leonard Bundu, Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo aren’t knockover jobs and Thurman has beaten them all with relative ease. He may have been hurt by Collazo on Saturday night but have we now reached the point where a fighter has been exposed simply by taking a punch? If Timothy Bradley’s promotional allegiance rules him out of the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes then Keith Thurman would be as solid a choice as anybody. – John Evans.

Thurman is as worthy as any other fighter between 140lbs and 154lbs to fight Mayweather. There is no stand out candidate at this point as Floyd is so much better than the rest. What disappointed me about Thurman's performance was his reluctance to engage with the 34-year-old Collazo. While I admired his evasiveness, he spent too much time on his bike against a fighter who was walked down and hurt repeatedly by the seemingly lighter punching Amir Khan last May. With Mayweather's win over Pacquiao he has put himself in a league of his own, the onus is now on the next generation of welters, Thurman included. to create their own legacy by beating those around them, instead of begging for the opportunity to take Mayweather's legacy away from him.  - Callum Rudge.

I think Thurman is a legitimate ‘hope’. The problem right now is that everything is relative and, at anywhere close to 147lbs, this means relative to Mayweather.  If not for the Money Man still holding the titles to ransom, Thurman would be the legit WBA champion instead of only holding that piece of tin they currently give to him (mind you, at least he's not ‘interim’ anymore, which is worthless tin, in my book) and that is the problem. I have no problem (WBA second-tier title aside) with his career-path so far and his last six wins haven't been bad at all: victories over Chaves, Bundu and Guerrero have all been nice scalps and, seeing as how Khan was praised for his distance-win over Collazo only 12 months ago, I'm surprised Thurman is getting a rough deal for one punch, which was taken, in a win which finished five rounds earlier. He's as good as anyone else to run the talent-rich 147lbs division for the next few years, but needs Mayweather to go, Pacquiao and Marquez to decide what they're doing and to step up and face someone like Bradley or Brook in a big time fight. – Colin Harris.

He's certainly more hope than hype. It's the same old problem with a hyped prospect who turns into a serious contender. One or two average performances and all of a sudden he's not worthy. He made hard work against the likes of Collazo and Bundu, and of late he's been making the headlines for what he's been saying out of the ring rather than what he's doing in it. Is he worthy, is he ready for Mayweather? His unbeaten 26 fight record, to date, says he's not 100% ready but if a 2015 Andre Berto is deemed acceptable to Floyd then Thurman must be, too. The list of possible opponents for the supposed TBE isn't as lengthy as it used to be. Khan, Brook, Porter, Bradley... Berto (ugh) - why shouldn't Thurman be in that mix? On any given day he more than holds his own against all of them, some he beats, some he doesn't. I don't think he's been exposed, but I do think a win against one of the aforementioned (other than Berto) is needed. – Shaun Brown.

The recent criticism of Thurman seems especially venomous. I have always been one to bide my time before backing anyone as ‘the next big thing’, but the fact that so many seem keen to see him fail makes me wonder whether fans are actually searching for a legitimate opponent for Mayweather at all - or whether it engages and amuses them far more to simply envision others falling at his feet. Thurman has, quite rightly, attempted to add an extra dimension to his craft by boxing intelligently — even if he arguably hasn’t mastered it yet. I consider him as worthy and watchable as any other realistic Mayweather opponent, but I feel the quality of the fight (and of Thurman as a fighter) could be seriously jeopardised if it is rushed. – Jessi Jackalope.