Keith Thurman—Promises Kept

By Gordon Marino on December 15, 2013
Keith Thurman—Promises Kept
When the fight was halted Thurman was up 80-71, 79-72 and 78-83. (Naoki Fukuda)

Keith “One Time” Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs) promised his opponent last night, Jesus Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs) two Christmas presents—his right and his left. And Santa Claus kept his promise.

Thurman was rocked in the first round by a looping right from Soto Karass but that was about the only moment in the 29-plus minutes of non-stop action in which Thurman was in any danger. It was all Thurman and yet because Soto Karass was constantly on the attack, constantly winging shots, it was an engaging contest.

Thurman is, of course, known for his concussive power. After all, over 90% of his bouts have ended before the final bell. However, prior to the fight the reflective welterweight predicted that movement, not power, was going to be the key. And Thurman was right. He created super punching angles all night long. More than that, because he was often sliding to his right, Thurman defused Soto Karass’s offense by forcing him to fire his vaunted right across his front leg—a la Hopkins vs. Pavlik.

Almost all of Thurman’s punches were working. His jabs and double jabs were on target and potent. He was often able to drop a counter hook over Soto Karass’s jabs.And he planted at least a dozen left hooks to the body. Soto Karass did not offer a lot of head movement and his footwork was not exactly Hector Camacho-like. He was an easy target, but easy or not, Thurman landed explosive straight rights and right uppercuts.

Dauntless, Soto Karass, who by night’s end had swelling over both eyes, kept coming forward. When he pinned Thurman on the ropes, Thurman would square up and Soto Karass would have some success in working to the body, but when they were center ring it was all “One Time.”

At a certain point, it looked as though Soto Karass could handle everything he was getting hit with and commentator, Paulie Malignaggi wisely observed that when most big punchers can’t bring down their man they have a tendency to panic. Not Thurman. He stayed calm and just kept jabbing away looking and finding his opening and breaking his foe down, piece by piece.

The end came when Thurman landed a left hook, pivoted out to the right and then exploded a right hand and left. Again, Thurman’s ability to change angles and punch on those angles was jaw dropping. He can punch but he can also box, and judging from the shot he took in the first frame he also has some whiskers.

When the fight was halted Thurman was up 80-71, 79-72 and 78-83. According to Showstats, he connected with 260 of 586 punches, compared to 148 of 688 for Soto Karass. Thurman landed 135 power shots, and by this I don’t just mean “non-jabs.” Thurman takes pride in sitting down on his punches and in transferring the power in his legs to his fists and that he did last night.

Before stepping into the ring, Thurman expressed the wish to meet the winner of Broner vs. Maidana. We fans should fervently hope that Thurman’s wish is granted—the sooner the much better.

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  1. shotgun517 09:55am, 12/22/2013

    I like the way in which Thurman’s managers are taking it slow as far as not rushing the quality of opposition. He’s still fighting very good guys but just not the very best, I think if they make that mistake and he gets massacred it could ruin his young career. Watch out for this guy he could be Winky Wright with power!

  2. Clarence George 10:09am, 12/15/2013

    Always liked the non-glitzy Soto Karass.  He looks like he just stepped out of an old Charles Atlas ad, the guy who got sand kicked in his face, but he’s tough and has more guts than…well, whatever it is that has a lot of guts.

  3. Pete The Sneak 08:31am, 12/15/2013

    Solid re-cap Gordon… Really good fight…Soto-Karass is a tough SOB, but Thurman indeed demonstrated some very god boxing skills, chin and resolve. One Time is the real deal and the way the fight ended was truly vicious…Yeah, I’m already envisioning a Thurman/Maidana slugfest in 2014…Peace..

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