Keith Thurman was in a place where the only thing you could hear is the wind whistling through the crevices and yawning canyons of Nepal’s majestic Himalaya Mountains. It was serene. It was soothing. It provided solitude, far removed from Thurman’s clamoring world of boxing.
While everyone in the fistic realm likes to move in one direction, the fighter called “One Time” has a tendency to move in another—his own. While boxers love to gravitate towards attention and are willing to kowtow to the “media game,” Thurman has never really had any time for that.
He does what he wants to do, when and where he wants to do it.
So right after he beat Shawn Porter in defending the WBA welterweight in one of the more memorable fights in 2016, Thurman was off to Tokyo, Japan, where he met his future wife, Priyana Thapa. When Thurman handed Danny Garcia his first pro defeat back in March, unifying the WBC and WBA welterweight titles, it again was one of the more significant fights for 2017.
Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia collided in a battle of styles to unify Welterweight world titles in Brooklyn. And that clash played out over 12 dramatic rounds, ending in a tense split decision. Thurman came out early trying to live up to his "One Time" moniker, throwing big power shots at Garcia, while also utilizing his excellent footwork and movement.
Still, it didn’t take Thurman long to retreat from the glare, this time marrying Thapa and enjoying time in her native Nepal in midsummer.
Perhaps it explains why Thurman isn’t affected by much. Why he was able to handle the news that he probably isn’t going to be able to fight again until 2018, after his six-month recovery from successful surgery that removed painful calcium deposits in his right elbow on April 19th.
“I just hit the pause button, that’s the beauty of my situation,” said a tranquil Thurman, who’s 28-0 with 22 KOs in his 10-year career. “I would love to fight before the end of this year, but I’m not about to put a timetable on anything. I have to see what the doctors say and play everything by ear. I know Shawn Porter is interested in a rematch. It was a great fight, because I let him do what he wanted to do—and I still won."
“I know Shawn deserves a rematch, but I also know certain people that didn’t like his fight against (Andre) Berto. Shawn is so aggressive that sometimes he’s prone to use his head, but I know both he and Berto hurt themselves using their heads. Right now, I want to spend more time in Nepal and enjoy myself and my honeymoon.”
Thurman is intelligent. He’s articulate. You may be more apt to find him walking through an art museum in Paris, France, than hitting a heavybag in a steamy gym.
“I love boxing, but boxing is just a job,” Thurman said. “It doesn’t define me. I love to travel and be who I am. A lot of people love to travel, and I do love boxing, but my American dream is to have that American freedom to see different places and do different things. Real freedom also means not having to work all of the time, and it’s something my hard work and commitment to boxing has enabled me to do."
“Boxing has provided me with that freedom, but only after I have worked my butt off since I was seven. You never really slow down until you get the permission to slow down. That’s what a boxing career is really like. It’s why I do the things that I do. Because I made it a point to slow down. I wanted to see more of the world. I enjoy the word ‘foreign’ now more than I ever have.”
People interpret the word “foreign” as different. Thurman embraces “foreign,” because it may be considered “different” to most Americans, it’s not to the people of the countries he visits.
“I know the next step of my career is to hit play, and when I hit play again, I’m going to explode,” Thurman said. “In the meantime, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my situation and new phase in my life that I’m in right now. I look forward to getting back in motion.”
Thurman is hoping to come back for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on August 26th.
He actually gives credit to McGregor for making it happen.
“McGregor is younger, in his prime and he’s an athlete. I honestly give McGregor a lot of props as a businessman making this crossover decision,” Thurman said. “Ironically enough, I think McGregor’s fighting style in his essence makes him a boxer. He lost to Nate Diaz the first time, and hurt him the second time they fought. When McGregor knocked down Diaz with straight lefts, he let Diaz get back up, as if taunting him to say, ‘Get back up, we’re going to fight again.’ McGregor’s fundamentals is a boxing style. He has good accuracy in comparison to his UFC competition.
Take a look into the boxing career of undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith "One Time" Thurman. SHOWTIME Boxing analyst Steve Farhood analyzes the superstar's rise to success in the ring.
“McGregor hopped not only into the world of boxing, but he hopped over a bunch of guys who deserve to fight Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. McGregor is dangerous because he has nothing to lose. No one expects him to win, and if he wins, he destroys a legend and becomes a legend. If he loses, he just made the smartest business decision he ever made in his life.
“Floyd will do what Floyd does and find a way to break down McGregor, who is a world-class fighter. I’ll find a way to see it. I may be there for it. I know what to expect from Floyd Mayweather. It’s not entertaining. The atmosphere there will be amazing. Mayweather will win a unanimous decision. There was once-upon-a-time when Floyd was able to knock someone out. He knows his career is at the horizon. His sunset is going down. This is a show. It’s not truly a boxing match. It won’t be world-class boxing at its best. It’s all about the money. It’s why he’s ‘Money’ Mayweather and not ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ anymore. That fighter is long gone.”
In the meantime, Thurman has adjusted to the high altitudes of Kathmandu, walking to the beats in his own head in a haven devoid of timetables and training.
“I like looking at the big picture and the new changes in my life,” Thurman said. “I’m blessed. I have a great career, and I’m going to come back healthy and I found the love of my life. I’m meeting boxing people everywhere. It’s one thing to travel the world, it’s another to actually meet people who admire what you do.”