Thurman not in the cards for Maidana
By Jim Dower: Interim WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman won the battle in defeating European level fighter Leonard Bundu last Saturday night in winning a 12 round unanimous decision, but Thurman’s timid fighting style ultimately may have lost him a chance at getting a bigger fight against former two division world champion Marcos Maidana who was ringside at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada for the fight.
Maidana’s manager Sebastian Contursi thinks Thurman looked bad in the fight, and he was surprised that he had the nerve to call Maidana out after the fight with the boxing fans booing Thurman at ringside.
Contursi sees Thurman on another level as Maidana, as in a lower level. Contursi wants to see Thurman prove himself against the better welterweights in the division before he starts calling out Maidana and guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“We all thought Keith Thurman had such a bad night, especially if you consider that he faced a 40-year-old European that could not punch at all,” Contursi said via Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “That’s what Maidana himself said at ringside…We were all surprised that Keith called out Marcos the way he did in the ring while being heavily booed by the whole arena. I think Keith picked such a bad time for calling out both Mayweather and Maidana after such a disappointing performance.”
Contursi is right. Thurman didn’t seem to realize how badly he looked in the fight. Thurman had the power, size, speed and youth advantage in the fight. But instead of using his advantages to run over the smaller Bundu, Thurman was backing away and running around the ring when Bundu would even look at him wrong. Thurman showed no interest in standing in the pocket, and he was constantly backing away and looking to throw on the ring.
In watching Thurman’s past fights, this is how he’s always fought against fighters that come at him or attempt to fight back. He doesn’t stay in the pocket and he shows no heart for mixing it up. Thurman mainly looks good when he has a fighter that moves away from him or who doesn’t throw many punches. Thurman then is able to do whatever he wants.
Bundu created the blueprint in how to give Thurman problems and make him look bad. Bundu may have lost the fight, but he made Thurman look really bad in the process. It’s going to be up to Thurman to try and improve his game to learn how to stand in the pocket to fight in order to be more crowd-pleasing.
Thurman isn’t likely going to get fights against Mayweather, Maidana and Manny Pacquiao until he becomes a little more brave and is able to stand his ground to win his fights in that manner instead of running away each time he’s met with any kind of resistance. The only way Thurman is going to win boxing fans over is for him to be able to stand in the pocket and fight.
The big names at welterweight aren’t going to bother fighting Thurman until he can become more of a fan-friendly fighter. The way that Thurman was unable to understand why the fans were booing suggests that he’ll probably be resistant to changing the way he fights. If Thurman doesn’t change then he’ll continue to get booed and that will keep him from building any kind of fan base. Without a fan base, Thurman can pretty much forget about ever getting the likes of Maidana, Mayweather or Pacquiao to fight him.