Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater's Thurman faces fellow unbeaten on Showtime

Clearwater's Keith Thurman says Diego Chaves has never faced a fighter quite like him.

Diego Chaves says Keith Thurman has never faced a fighter quite like him.

Guess what? Both are right.

Tonight in San Antonio, Texas, both young, undefeated powerhouses will square off in an intriguing 12-round WBA welterweight fight.

They have put together almost identical records, mostly by beating the kind of fighters trotted out to give a test just tough enough for rising boxers to pass.

And though Thurman's tests have been significantly tougher the past eight months, neither boxer has fought a fighter in his prime with a high knockout percentage.

Thurman has fought and won 20 times, Chaves 22 times. Both have 18 knockouts.

"Diego and myself are stepping into the danger zone," said Thurman, who is ranked No. 4 by the WBA.

Chaves, 27, is ranked No. 1 and is the interim champion, making tonight's winner essentially the backup behind current champ Adrien Broner.

If Broner chooses not to defend his belt or moves up a weight class, the interim champion will inherit the title.

In the meantime, an interim championship gives the WBA another avenue to collect sanctioning fees.

Regardless of what's at stake, Thurman, 24, who fights out of the St. Pete Boxing Club and is tutored by former two-time trainer of the year Dan Birmingham, says he thinks a classic fight could be in the works.

"I'm really looking forward to this fight," Thurman said. "It should be a fan-favorite fight and a fan-friendly fight. Diego is very strong. My eyes will be wide open at every opening bell.

"But my plan is to chin-check him as soon as possible."

At Thursday's final news conference, Chaves made it clear he is expecting fireworks as well.

"We know we have a tough opponent. We have very similar records. Neither of us can lose concentration during the fight because it can end with only one punch," he said.

Thurman and Chaves have faced their share of unknown opponents, but Thurman has beaten former champions in his past two bouts, Carlos Quintana in November and Jan Zaveck in March.

In his most recent win, Thurman dominated the more seasoned Zaveck and went 12 hard rounds in earning a 120-108 shutout on all three judges' cards.

Chaves doesn't have a big name on his knockout ledger and has fought only once outside his native Argentina. His last fight was almost a year ago, when he knocked out Jose Miranda, who was 12-11-3 at the time.

Thurman expects to be the more polished, well-rounded fighter.

"(Chaves) does have a similar style because he's a puncher, but I see myself as being a little more diverse," Thurman said. "I feel I have the advantage. I can move around the ring if need be."

Though the two don't agree on who will win, there is unanimous consent the fight won't last 12 rounds.

" 'Knockout Kings II' — this event has that title for a reason," Thurman said. "I guarantee you'll get your money's worth."

John C. Cotey can be reached at or on Twitter@JohnnyHomeTeam.

.Fast facts

The skinny

Tonight's card is dubbed "Knockout Kings II," and power will be on display. Clearwater's Keith Thurman and Argentina's Diego Chaves have combined for 36 KOs in 42 wins, or 85 percent of their bouts. … Winter Haven's Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) is trying to bounce back after suffering 12-round unanimous-decision lo sses in two of his past three fights. His opponent, Jesus Soto Karass, is 27-8 but 3-5 in his past eight decisions.

Clearwater's Thurman faces fellow unbeaten on Showtime 07/26/13 [Last modified: Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005


    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  2. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  3. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is congratulated in the dugout after scoring on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Lucas Duda in the sixth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field on Friday.
  4. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz celebrates his Trop-record 482-foot home run in the ninth inning.
  5. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.