By Dan Ambrose: On Wednesday, the World Boxing Association elevated interim WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) from interim champion to the full WBA 147 pound champion. However, that doesn’t mean that the 26-year-old Thurman is the main champ for the WBA, because they’ve got Floyd Mayweather Jr, who the WBA calls their “Super World welterweight” champion.
The WBA has kind of made it confusing for boxing fans with their interim, regular and Super World titles that they hand out to champions in the same weight class. The good news is the WBA now has just two champions at 147. The bad news is they’ll likely soon appoint a WBA interim champion.
“Hilarious. I asked Keith Thurman for thoughts on being elevated from interim titlist to full. He didn’t know about it until I asked him,” Dan Rafael of ESPN said on his twitter.
Thurman will be fighting former two division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) on March 7th on NBC at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is an important fight for both guys, because they need wins in order to keep themselves in position for bigger fights. Thurman needs to look impressive in winning, because he can’t afford another stinker like in his last fight against Leonard Bundu last December.
Thurman fought timidly for much of the fight after taking some shots from the 40-year-old Bundu, who isn’t known for being a big puncher. Thurman was booed out of the MGM after the fight by fans when he attempted to speak. Thurman didn’t help himself when he had the nerve to say this:
“This is the sport of boxing, I pick how I want to fight. Only some of them are booing, the rest of them are cheering.”
At this point the booing got even louder and Thurman was drowned out completely.
Thurman is going to need to build up the nerve to stand his ground and stay in the pocket against the better fighters, because his natural inclination appears to be for him to go in reverse mode or circle the ring when his opponents show interest in wanting to land punches.
Thurman likes to throw left hooks while he’s reversing, which is a good thing, but it’s also not interesting to see when that’s his main way of attacking his opponents. Thurman looks really timid when he fights now, and I’m not sure he’s going to win fans if he runs from Guerrero for 12 rounds,.
“I want to fight the world, baby. Come one, come all,” Thurman said.
Thurman is probably going to have to be content with just defending his WBA title against whoever his adviser Al Haymon can find for him. Marcos Maidana is a possibility in the future, but that’s also a fight that could further hurt Thurman’s popularity if he runs from Maidana like he did against Bundu.
“Keith hasn’t fought nobody like me,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero will definitely be putting pressure on Thurman for the entire fight. I’m not sure that he has the kind of power to beat Thurman, but he definitely has enough power to give Thurman a lot of problems if Thurman stops running and stands and fights.
Thurman’s chin is definitely his Achilles heel, because he was staggered by both Diego Chaves and Jesus Soto Karass. He ran from both guys after getting hurt, and he showed in those fights that he couldn’t stay in the pocket.