Pinellas County has a long history of producing big-time boxers. Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy are two that have won world titles. Now, there's a third in the ring looking to make his name known.
Clearwater's Keith "One-Time" Thurman is making a lot of noise, and he has what it takes to back it up.
"Power," said trainer Dan Birmingham. "He can punch."
"If he tags you, wobbles you, or gets you out of there," said Birmingham, "catches you with one shot, he knocks you out."
Thurman has the record to prove it. He's undefeated at 20-0 and has 18 knockout – half of them coming in the 1st round.
"I don't just attack you in one way," said Thurman. "Unless that's the way I have to do it to beat you up. I'm fluid. I'm a shape-shifter."
Thurman is re-shaping the welterweight division on his way to a world title.
His next opponent is Diego Chaves, the WBA's top-ranked fighter. It's a battle of undefeated fighters.
His trainer, Dan Birmingham, who took St. Pete's Winky Wright to the top, is leading Thurman to a similar payday.
"If he wins this fight, all the doors open up," said Birmingham. "He's already mentioned as an opponent for (Floyd) Mayweather, Canelo (Alvarez) and all the big fighters. He goes to the upper echelon of boxing."
Thurman has the reputation of not wasting time in the ring. His nickname of "One-Time" is a perfect fit. While he's earned that name fighting, it's actually a name that was passed on to him from his dad.
"He was known for placing a real nice body shot, and they were calling him ‘One-Time,'" said Thurman. "As long as he got that one body shot, everyone was bent over. My father is older; I'm Keith Thurman, Jr. anyways. After accumulating eight first round knockouts in my first year, that's when I decided to take on the name Keith "One-Time" Thurman."
Thurman isn't looking to be a one-hit wonder. He's spent most of his life in this gym. Since the age of 7, he's been preparing himself for an ultimate goal.
"The ultimate goal is real simple," said Thurman, "to make it to the top and just try to become a legend in the sport. It really is a dream come true, to be doing what I've been doing. Boxing is my life. It's the only thing I've done my whole entire life. It's a passion."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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