Keith Thurman – Boxing’s Enigma


By: Sean Crose

Keith Thurman has always prided himself on being a fighter who goes his own way. This would seem normal enough if Thurman were part of, say, the UFC, where personality can be vital to success. In boxing, however, colorful characters generally come in a distinctive type – showy, brash, outspoken. Think Adrien Broner, Tyson Fury, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez and the like. Thurman, on the other hand, has always been something of a true original. Whether he’s playing woodwinds, driving a Prius or just providing insight into the fight game with confident precision, Thurman is nothing if not unique.

He’s also quite the fighter. Heavy handed and well skilled, Thurman has proven himself over the past seven years or so to be one of the sport’s top practitioners. Highlight reel punches, high level footwork, and an admirable ability to dig deep are elements that, combined with his outside the box hippie vibe, make Thurman a must see attraction when he’s in the ring. Only he’s not in the ring all that much. Covid pandemic aside, injuries have kept the fighter known as One Time out of the game for extended periods. Thurman has also given the impression over the years that he’s been none too eager to face fellow welterweight – and now divisional giant – Errol Spence. In a sense, Thurman leaves fans wanting.

And yet the man has met – and generally bested – some of the biggest names in his division. His nip and tuck battles with Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia showed Thurman could defeat the two of the brightest stars at welterweight. Even Thurman’s single loss to Manny Pacquiao could hardly be considered a moment of shame. Not only was he up against a rejuvenated all time great, Thurman more than held his own. He may have come up short against the Filipino icon, but most Pacquiao opponents have fared far worse.

At the present time, Thurman has just engaged in an interview with Brian Custer where he claims nagging hand issues still trouble him and impacted his performance against Pacquio. In the interview, Thurman also expresses interest in facing the feared Terence Crawford in what would be one very small step below a superfight. When or where Thurman will again fight remains to be seen, as is the answer to whether or not this curious individual with numerous interests wishes to box on a full time basis.

The truth is that, should he choose, Thurman could walk away from the sport with an impressive record indeed. The man’s bold personality, exciting style and explosive victories would make for fond memories. There would always be the question, of course, of what could have been, but Thurman looks to the be type who could live with that sort of thing. It at least appears, however, that Thurman still wants to box. That’s good for fight fans. No matter what one might say of him, boxing’s enigma is well deserving of the attention he receives.

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