Unbeaten Kieth ‘One Time’ Thurman finally gets his shot at world title glory on March 7th when he takes on Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero for the WBA world welterweight title at the iconic MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thurman has been knocking on the door loudly for opportunities against top elite level fighters and now has a chance to claim the scalp of a respected former world champion in Guerrero. Although Guerrero may be a touch past his prime is widely considered to be his first world class opponent. Whether or not fighters have been avoiding Thurman is up for question but it’s not hard to see why a big name fighter wouldn’t want to step through the ropes to face Thurman at this point in time. Being such a dangerous puncher, he represents a very high risk fight for a relatively low reward both financially and with regards to enhancing reputation. However if he can win the WBA welterweight world title he would almost certainly become a more attractive proposition for the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao or even IBF title holder Kell Brook. With Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting each other in May three of the four belts will be taken by one of them and other big name fighters such as Marcos Maidana will probably be looking at Brook and Thurman as the easier champions.
The undefeated interim champion from Clearwater, Florida, is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport. He has won 21 of his 24 professional contests by way of knockout and on his way to the top has showed dynamite power with both hands. Despite having demonstrated his power punching in many fights, he came in for a bit of stick after his last bout which was somewhat unfair as an impatient crowd started booing the fight. He rightly gave Bundu the respect he deserved. As much as the American broadcasters and general boxing media may have thought so, Bundu is no pushover and does pack decent power. Thurman showed that he could use different aspects of his boxing ability and boxed well on the back foot. It was an all-round mature performance from the young 25-year old who made a relatively easy night’s work out of what could have been a ‘banana skin’ fight. It may prove to be an invaluable learning fight; after all he isn’t going to be able to simply blitz through the very best fighters in the division with pure power alone.
Robert Guerrero is a former two weight world champion who has earned his best honours down at featherweight and super-featherweight by becoming IBF champion in both divisions. He has moved up the divisions as he has got older and grown bigger. The 31-year old has only fought once since losing to pound for pound star Floyd Mayweather Junior in a 12 round unanimous decision win over Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Kamegai in June of 2014 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. He can take a good shot and although he was ultimately out-skilled and outclassed by Mayweather he absorbed some spiteful power shots and fought on to see the final bell without being knocked to the canvas. Guerrero should really be the man to let us measure the abilities of Thurman.
The cards are in favour of Thurman though who may prove to be the hungrier fighter. He still has it all to prove whereas Guerrero despite being too dangerous to be considered over the hill, may have a greater satisfaction with what he has already achieved in the sport. He has the advantage in power whilst he isn’t facing an opponent in Guerrero who has the same sort of knockout potential. If he boxes to the right game plan Thurman has a great chance at becoming a regular world champion at last.