KEITH THURMAN, unbeaten WBA ‘world’ welterweight titlist and potential superstar in the making, does not believe that Floyd Mayweather’s September 12 showdown with Andre Berto – set for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – will be “Money’s” last contest.
Thurman, 26, has seen his stock rise dramatically over the last 18 months and, alongside the likes of Amir Khan and Gennady Golovkin, would – in the eyes of the fans at least – be a considerably more appealing opponent than Berto.
“There is no evidence that it [Berto] will be his final opponent,” the exciting Thurman told Boxing News. “It’s the final fight of his Showtime contract that he signed three years ago. That is what it is officially, it does not mean it is the final fight of Floyd Mayweather’s career – that is up to him. As far as him fighting Berto, he just got done fighting Manny Pacquiao. I’m learning, just from my little bit of time of being in the spotlight – and trying to entertain everybody in the world of boxing – that at the end of the day, no matter who you fight, you don’t please everybody.”
The choice of Berto for Mayweather’s 49th and supposedly final outing has largely been largely criticised but Thurman does not share that view. A friend and admirer of Berto, Thurman believes it was always only a matter of time before this fight occurred.
“Berto is a great friend of mine,” Thurman explained. “He was one of the first champions I ever worked with so we have a long history and I respect him; when I first made my way into the sport of boxing I thought the only way I would ever become world champion is if I got through Andre Berto.
“He had some great fights, he had a streak of some losses, and now he’s trying to bounce back. Prior to losing, I remember when he was scheduled to face ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley and I believe, at that time, he was being groomed to be a Mayweather opponent; if he’d have fought Mosely and got past him, Mayweather would have fought him next. But he wasn’t able to do that fight because of the Haiti incident [earthquake] when he went back to help his people. When Berto got back into action he lost to Victor Ortiz. Who did Ortiz fight right after Berto? Floyd Mayweather. And it was the same with Robert Guerrero, who beat Berto, and then fought Mayweather. I believe Berto was, many times, just one step away from getting the Floyd fight and now he’s finally gotten it. I think Floyd knows what kind of fighter Berto is. Berto always comes to fight, it’s going to be a challenge [for Mayweather] and it’s not going to be the easiest fight of his career. But Floyd knows what he’s going to have to do to win.”
Thurman remains hopeful that he can one day fight Mayweather, but in the meantime, it looks like the welterweight will take on another friendly rival, former IBF boss Shawn Porter on October 3.
“He’s a great opponent, most definitely,” Thurman said. “He comes to fight hard every time. I respect him, and I look forward to having that fight.”