Keith Thurman vs. Jan Zaveck this Saturday on 3/9, in Brooklyn, New York
By Dan Ambrose: This Saturday night unbeaten knockout artist Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KO’s) faces former IBF welterweight champion Jan Zaveck (32-2, 18 KO’s) in a WBO 147 lb. title eliminator bout on HBO at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York, USA. The winner of this match-up becomes the mandatory challenger for WBO welterweight title, which is currently held by Tim Bradley.
The Thurman-Zaveck winner will likely have to wait ages before they eventually do get a shot at the WBO belt holder, and it’s highly unlikely that Bradley will still be the title holder by then because his promoter has him in line for a number of tough fights this year, and next year.
The Thurman-Zaveck fight will determine whether the 5’11” Thurman is hype or if he’s got legitimate talent to be a major player at 147. At this point Thurman looks like a powerful, but very raw fighter in terms of boxing skills. He’s not very fast of hand or feet, and he’s easy to hit.
Some boxing fans compare Thurman to heavyweight David Haye with his fighting style. Thurman’s fighting style is similar to Hayes’, but he doesn’t have Haye’s hand speed and one-punch KO power. Thurman, #4 WBA, hits hard, but he’s someone that needs to land a lot of shots before he produces a knockout.
Zaveck, #1 WBO, lost his IBF welterweight title two years ago to Andre Berto in a 5th round stoppage after his right eye swelled up. Zaveck was struggling with Berto’s speed and power in that fight, and the fight likely wouldn’t have gone too much longer had the referee not halted it when he did.
Thurman can punch better than Berto, and it’s going to a real challenge for the smaller and weaker 5’7” Zaveck to try and stand up to his big shots. Zaveck is probably going to have to move a lot if he doesn’t want to get obliterated by Thurman because he doesn’t have the size to stand and trade with a guy as big as Thurman.
A win for Thurman will make a small name for himself because Zaveck is a good fighter, and beating him impressively will open up eyes in the division. Thurman might be better off angling himself to go after the IBF belt held by Devon Alexander because he could have a long, long wait before he’s given a shot against WBO champion Tim Bradley.
Bob Arum, Bradley’s promoter, isn’t going to be in a hurry to put the tiny 5’6” Bradley in with a slugger like Thurman due the danger involved for Bradley. Arum doesn’t want his stable fighters to get picked off by contenders that don’t bring in a lot of money.