"I'm going after that belt. I see myself taking all the belts. I see myself at 147 cleaning up shop and making Floyd Mayweather drop back down. If he ain't grabbing a belt, I'ma grab all of them. To me, there ain't nobody in the welterweight division because there's no true welterweights. There's a lot of pumped up 140-pounders. These other welterweights aren't welterweights...There's not a lot of true welterweights out there and I'm trying to grab a belt and represent the welterweight division the way that it should be...I got Floyd on my radar. I find it funny that after every fight, Max [Kellerman] be asking fighters, "What's next?" I already made my statement on my debut on HBO. I told them my list. I wanted Paulie [Malignaggi], Timothy [Bradley], and Floyd, you know what I'm saying? I want the elite, you know what I'm saying? I'm here, I'm putting in work, and I'm busting dudes up. I'm really looking forward to who's going to put me in my place, because if nobody puts me in my place, I'm going to be on top, best believe," stated undefeated welterweight contender Keith Thurman, who talked about his March 9 return to the ring and much more. Check it out!
BT: Keith, what's good with you? You in the gym getting ready for that March 9th return?
KT: That's right!
BT: I know they haven't made an official announcement yet, but is everything locked in with Jan Zaveck?
KT: I'm pretty sure it's locked in, man. Like you said, there hasn't been a big release about it, but I'm pretty sure the fight's locked in.
BT: No doubt. Is that the type of name you were hoping to get for your next fight?
KT: You know, I called out the world of boxing, man, so I'ma take what I can get. It's a good one, you know. I mean, I really got no complaints. He's high up in the ranking system and for where I'm at in my career right now, it's another challenge, it's another test, and I'm looking forward to it.
BT: Most fans will probably remember Zaveck from his fight with Andre Berto. Although that fight got stopped due to a bad cut that he sustained, Zaveck appeared to be coming on strong and started to get to Berto. Besides that fight, have you been able to watch any other footage of Zaveck yet?
KT: I seen a little bit of footage on him. You know, that Berto fight, yeah man, the cut is what ended the fight. Zaveck definitely had plenty of fight left in him and a lot of people believe that if the fight was to continue, Zaveck was going to be coming more and more active in the fight, or whatnot, so I know not to underestimate this guy. Technically, besides that one fight, he's never really been truly stopped. It's not like it was his choice to quit the fight or something, so I'm just really looking forward to the challenge. Like I said, it's just another stepping stone in climbing up in the ranks.
BT: I know you're always looking to make a statement in your fights, but is that the goal you're setting for yourself; to be the first person to officially stop Zaveck?
KT: Yes, definitely, man. The motto is KO's for life, so, you know, watch out! Don't blink! I'm looking for that knockout all day, every day, and just to hear that someone's never really been truly stopped, that just sounds like a challenge to me, you know what I'm saying? A lot of people have never been stopped until they step in the ring with me, so we'll see what happens.
BT: I know you usually have a pretty good idea of when you're fighting, but sometimes, you may not get the opponent finalized until 4 or 5 weeks before the fight. Does that make it difficult for you to prepare for a specific opponent?
KT: Well, luckily with me and my amateur background, it's not really an issue. Having over 100 amateur fights, entering several national tournaments, competing in international competition, I got a lot of diversity of fighters. Tall, short, strong, fast, you know, I've been in the ring with anybody and everybody as far as fighter types. I'm getting ready for the world of boxing. That's what One Time is doing. I'm getting ready for the world of boxing and to make my statement. Just like this is a test for me, anybody that gets in the ring with me is going through the Keith Thurman test. Can you pass it? To me, boxing is always a double-edged sword. No one has it easy.
BT: Like you said, you've called out the world of boxing and your hungry for the big names. Is it frustrating for you when you see certain fights fall apart due to money or maybe just an unwillingness of one fighter to face the other?
KT: To a certain extent it is, but, you know, that is the world of boxing. The fighters in the world of boxing, they are stepping in and doing things that many people don't want to do, but they want to watch, you know, so every fighter is putting their body at risk and it's a business, and people like to make wise business decisions. At the end of the day, if you're holding onto a belt, all champions will be tested and like I said, it's the world of boxing, it's somewhat of a game, and you just gotta play your cards, man. You gotta do what you gotta do to get respect in the sport and climb up that ladder one step at a time and make smart decisions. Like you said, with fights falling out, you never know when you're going to get that shot because there's nobody else left, so that's why it's really important to keep doing your best and keep climbing that ladder because, you know, as long as you put yourself in that top 10, you never know when you're going to get that phone call. You might be next.
BT: Assuming you have another impressive showing against Zaveck, do you think you'll finally start to get some recognition as one of the top welterweights out there?
KT: Me man, I'm just here to prove myself, you know. Either I'm going to be a champion or I'm not, and we're going to find out each time I step into the ring. I called out the world of boxing because I believe I am ready for the world of boxing. Bring out the best! At the end of the day, if I lose, so be it, but I'ma come in there and I'ma represent Keith "One Time" Thurman with all my heart and all my soul and I'm going after that belt. I see myself taking all the belts. I see myself at 147 cleaning up shop and making Floyd Mayweather drop back down. If he ain't grabbing a belt, I'ma grab all of them. To me, there ain't nobody in the welterweight division because there's no true welterweights. There's a lot of pumped up 140-pounders. These other welterweights aren't welterweights. Timothy Bradley, 140; moved up to 147. Devon Alexander did the same thing probably because he wants the rematch. You got Paulie Malignaggi, 140; moved up to 147, fought somebody who was hodling onto a belt that not a lot of people heard of, and got himself a belt and made himself a champion all over again. I mean, none of these dudes. PacMan, not 147. Marquez, not 147. Please tell me who the welterweight is. I think Zaveck might be one of the only true welterweights out there; Zaveck, Berto and me. There's not a lot of true welterweights out there and I'm trying to grab a belt and represent the welterweight division the way that it should be.
BT: Obviously you have the Jan Zaveck fight coming up, but how do you see the rest of 2013 playing out for you?
KT: I see it playing out with a big fight at the end of the year. You never know, like I said, with all of these fights falling out, I might get my big shot sooner. We might go in for that title shot next. I'm so hungry, man, I'm telling you, all I want to do is climb that ladder and pretty soon, we'll run out of steps.
BT: Lately, it seems like there's been quite a few guys calling out other fighters, but they never seem too quick to call out your name...
KT: (Cutting in) I think they don't want to talk about me, you know what I'm saying? Who wanted to talk about Winky Wright back in the day? Winky wouldn't have got his fame if Shane didn't have the balls to fight him, because Shane was advised not to fight Winky Wright, but he said, "I'm the Champ! Why you telling me not to fight anybody? I'm the Champ." He wanted to fight the man that they told him not to fight, and because of that, Winky got the recognition that he deserved, you know. Like I said, man, it's a game and you gotta play your cards, man. You gotta do what you gotta do to get the respect in the industry and in the game. Do it one step at a time. We got Prospect of the Year and that was phenomenal, so there's plenty more recognition going around. I appreciate everybody who put in that vote. It was a big shock to hear that. I'm glad everybody enjoyed my HBO performances back in 2012 and I'm hoping to give y'all 3 this year. We'll see what happens.
BT: Well, hopefully, you start getting some of those bigger names that you're looking for.
KT: Yeah man, it's a slow road, but we're just traveling on. This fight's great. Like I said, Zaveck has a great ranking, great position, and I'm surprised he's taking the fight. I'm really happy though. I mean, this is what I meant when I was calling out the world of boxing. People who are up in the ranks and who are ready to make a statement, let's go! If you think you're the man, you think you belong on top, I'm a man trying to make it to the top, so put me in my place. Show me that I'm too young. All the things that the critics be writing about, prove that. Prove those critics right, because my job is to prove those critics wrong. It's not going to be long. Like I told you, man, we're running out of steps. They're going to have to fight me real soon. I mean, I got Floyd on my radar. I find it funny that after every fight, Max [Kellerman] be asking fighters, "What's next?" I already made my statement on my debut on HBO. I told them my list. I wanted Paulie [Malignaggi], Timothy [Bradley], and Floyd, you know what I'm saying? I want the elite, you know what I'm saying? I'm here, I'm putting in work, and I'm busting dudes up. I'm really looking forward to who's going to put me in my place, because if nobody puts me in my place, I'm going to be on top, best believe!
BT: No doubt, man. Well before I let you go, is there anything else you want to put out there?
KT: Just stay tuned and look forward to March 9th; One Time back in action 2013.