Friday, November 24, 2017
Sports

Clearwater boxer Keith Thurman on path to prominence after win in Las Vegas

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Keith Thurman dismantled another opponent Saturday night, then looked right into the camera, smiled and told the rest of the boxing world what it probably already knows:

"Y'all all are going to have to deal with me pretty soon."

Slowed by a knuckle injury that kept him out of action for most of the past year, the 23-year-old Clearwater welterweight is ready to continue his ascent toward boxing's elite.

Following a first-round knockout in February in his first fight back from the injury, Thurman impressed again on Saturday night in Las Vegas, posting a third-round technical knockout of previously unbeaten Brandon Hoskins on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's win over Miguel Cotto.

The tape had been barely cut off his fists before talk turned to possibly getting him back in the ring in six weeks. Thurman, managed by boxing power broker Al Haymon and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, hopes to make a big splash by the end of the year.

"I'm 23, I just want people to see that I'm young, but I'm mature in this game," said Thurman, who has been boxing since he was discovered at age 7 and had an accomplished amateur career, nearly making the Olympic team.

"That last fight was supposed to be an eight-rounder. I think I'd like to move up to 10 for my next one."

The heir apparent to Tampa Bay's boxing mantle once shared by Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy, Thurman said he won't rush into a big fight, but he's eager and thinks he might be ready. He's 17-0 with 16 knockouts, yet shows poise beyond most young knockout artists.

When he wobbled Hoskins with a check hook to start Round 2, he didn't force the knockout.

Eventually, Hoskins had to take a knee to compose himself.

In the third round, Thurman landed a vicious uppercut, then stayed under control while stalking Hoskins with a number of hooks and crosses that forced the fight to be stopped.

Annoyed by an article in which he was accused of trying to get out of the fight and wouldn't be able to handle going the distance since most of his fights had been first- and second-round knockouts, Thurman was content to dish out punishment and in no hurry to end it.

"I did what I planned to do," he said. "I wanted to outclass him and show him he didn't belong in a ring with someone of my caliber. After two rounds of playtime, it was time to get him out of there."

Now, it might be time for everyone else to deal with Keith Thurman.

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