Champion of the world here. Champion of the world there.
Unbeaten fighter here. Unbeaten fighter there.
Hungry athlete here. Hungry athlete there.
And so it is that history awaits Clearwater boxer Keith Thurman, whose next test is March 4 against Danny Garcia in New York. For Thurman, it mght be his toughest challenge yet. Garcia is 33-0 and the WBO champion. Thurman is 27-0 and WBA champion.
For a lot of boxers, being the champion is the goal. For Thurman, he wants more than one belt, so there is no argument.
“Ever since I was a kid I remember this book I got on boxing history,” Thurman said Wednesday. “I was somewhere around 10 years old. I just remember thinking “One day, I would love to be in a book like this.” Becoming a champion is one way of getting a legacy for yourself.
“But there have always been champions in the sport of boxing. There have been fewer unified champions. There have been even less undisputed champions. Just knowing the history and the significance of what it means to unify. That’s my ultimate dream.”
Said trainer Dan Birmingham: “It’s huge for Keith. He’s going to go down in the history books.”
The Thurman-Garcia match will be only the third between unbeaten welterweights in history, the first since Oscar De La Hoya fought Felix Trinidad in 1999.
“Pressure?” asked Thurman. “There is no pressure. I remember coming from the streets. There were times I was happy to have one pair of shoes. Now I can go to the Mall and buy any shoes I want. My job has been the same since I was seven years old.”
Thurman said he thinks he is the smarter fighter. Stronger, too, said Birmingham.
He’s also fairly ambitious. He said he sees this fight as the door to bigger and better things.
“My goal is just moving on up,” Thurman said. “Separating myself from the others in the welterweight. The winner on March 4 will get spotlight priority over all the others, and he’ll deserve it. I have a level of confidence.”