Defeat Can Propel, Not Define Thurman


By: Ste Rowen

At the weekend 40-year-old, all-time great Manny Pacquiao added yet another name to his ridiculous resume. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman was dropped en route to a split decision loss – Glenn Feldman, try watching the fight – but defeat to the Filipino veteran shouldn’t mean the end for the former unified champion.

This time two years ago Keith had overcome the two biggest hurdles, at the time, of the 147lb division. The Floridian native had consecutively decisioned Shawn Porter and then undefeated Danny Garcia. ‘One Time’ seemed ready for pound-for-pound greatness even as 2017 came to a close, but it wasn’t to be as Keith, with a mix of injury and personal life, wasn’t seen back in the ring for almost two years when he stepped back inside with Josesito Lopez in a rough showing that saw Thurman take a majority decision, as well as some testing body shots.

And then on to this following weekend against future hall of famer, Manny Pacquiao. Keith gave Pac-Man the stare down but as Tony Montana said, ‘It’s in the eyes…’ and Manny, a fighter of now seventy-one bouts with some of the greats was hardly going to be fazed by the vacant stare of a man handed favours by the WBA.

But as the headline suggests, this isn’t a column to bash the former welterweight champion. At 30-years-old and 29-1 (22KOs), Keith, if he wants to, has a lot more to look forward to. The bruised-up American was gracious in defeat when he proclaimed, ‘‘It was a blessing and a lesson…I fell short but we’ve gotta do a little bit more. You get knocked down, you lift yourself up.‘‘ And the defeated man needs to look no further than his opponent to see how to bounce back from defeat. Manny, 61-7-2, even before this weekend’s win, was headed for Canastota – and with a Thurman victory, leaves no doubt – but with that win it leaves the 30-year-old to reflect and wonder about what he, himself can achieve after losing his 0.

The first thing Keith needs to do is get rid of the ‘One Time’ alias, Come on man, it’s been four years since your last stoppage. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s time to acknowledge WBO champion, Terence Crawford. In every interview so far Thurman has done his upmost to dismiss the P4P player, but after looking defeat in the eyes for the first time as a pro, Keith no longer has or needs an excuse to avoid Top Rank’s bogeyman. The former unified champ lost at the weekend to a true great, it doesn’t mean he can’t stand with the rest of the current 147lb crop of fighters, including the non-PBC boxer.

The quality is clearly there, even after last weekend’s decisive defeat. The real question is; is the desire there for Keith? A man once in the running for Floyd Mayweather Jr’s final fight, seemed to lose interest once he’d unified the WBA & WBC titles. No small feat, but considering his pedigree, it’s a disappointing climax if ‘One Time’ decides to call it a day early.

Thurman has hit the wall of defeat, but with the number of welterweights, both contenders and champions in play, Keith has an immediate opportunity to rise back to serious challenger status within just a few bouts. He stepped in and lost to all timer. If Thurman can learn from Pacquiao’s philosophy, one defeat can be brushed off and Keith can come again and be back with the best.

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