Keith Thurman impressively retained his Interim WBA welterweight title with a third round stoppage of Julio Diaz, before stating he is ready to face Shawn Porter.
In the main bout of the Golden Boy Promotions-promoted event at the StubHub Center in California, fans booed when the fight was called to a premature end after Diaz suffered a rib injury from a hefty body shot and was unable to return to the ring for round four.
“I felt the body shot (to Diaz). I felt he was going to go down. I wondered if I hadn’t landed it clean enough," said Thurman.
"He’s a tough guy. He showed up to fight. You saw what he was doing in the ring. His rib… he had eight more rounds to go so he did what he had to do."
Prior to that fatal body blow, Thurman had won the first round, and in the second, Diaz was knocked to the canvas after being caught by a clean left-hook.
It was clear for all to see the punching-power that Thurman possesses was too much for the former IBF lightweight champion, Diaz, who has now lost his last three consecutive fights - against Shaun Porter, Amir Khan and now Thurman.
“I landed a clean left-hook to the temple (in the second). He felt it. So, he thought it would be better to take a knee, rather than take another shot to the head," added Thurman.
"I train to do that. If you feel that your legs aren’t right and you are in with a dangerous puncher, you take a knee. It was a wise decision."
Diaz, who came into the fight on four weeks notice and had to put in a quick training camp to get prepared, had his best round in the third when he looked like he might make a real battle of it.
But, as the 34-year-old acknowledges, once he got caught by that thunderous body shot, it was not worth the risk of continuing.
“I got caught with a good body shot in the rib,’’ Diaz admitted. “I had trouble breathing. I am human, I got hurt. The guy had some power. But I am a two-time champion. I have never quit in a fight. I didn’t have anything to prove.
"I took a knee to recuperate from a shot to the back of my head. And the rib shot really got me. I'm not 18 years old anymore. I wanted to give a war, but I had to know when it was my time."
For Thurman, it was his first time as the headliner of a major fight card on the Showtime network. And, with another knock-out against a quality opponent, the 25-year-old phenomenon hopes that even more doors begin to open for him.
While a lot of the talk is about him getting a shot at Mayweather's welterweight title, Thurman is more concerned with providing his fans with entertaining bouts and inflicting more knock-outs.
He said: “Everybody shoots for the Mayweather sweepstakes. I am here to entertain, to dominate the welterweight division. I love the sport of boxing. I love knockouts. I am going to keep giving them to you.
“Shawn Porter is a terrific fighter. He’s a great friend of mine. He’s a devastating boxer-puncher like myself. Whenever they’re ready, I am ready."
Thurman has won 12 bouts in two rounds or less, and is aptly nicknamed 'One Time', as it only takes one clean punch to send his opponents to the deck - just ask Diaz.
The undefeated fighter is brimming with confidence and has built quite the reputation since he turned professional seven years ago, having won by knock-out on 21 occasions in 23 total match-ups.
Porter, however, as the IBF welterweight champion of the world would represent a tougher challenge. The 26-year-old is just as powerful as Thurman and remains undefeated, having won 24 fights and 15 of those ending by way of knock-out.
It would certainly be a classic brawl if the two were to be paired against each other in the near future. With both men being such hard-hitters, it is sure to end in a knock-out.
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