Power punching prospect Keith Thurman, the Al Haymon-managed HBO darling, is one win away from fighting for a world title despite an awfully thin resume.
Thurman, who makes exciting fights but has been matched very, very cautiously by Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions, will be back in action March 9 in the HBO co-feature of the Tavoris Cloud-Bernard Hopkins light heavyweight title fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a welterweight title eliminator against former titleholder Jan Zaveck.
The contracts for the bout are being finalized.
Thurman (19-0, 18 KOs), 24, of Clearwater, Fla., who did not fight at all in 2011, was still fighting eight-round bouts in early 2012 until a pair of scheduled 10-rounders on HBO, a gimme mismatch against Orlando Lora (TKO6) and another relatively soft touch in faded former welterweight titlist Carlos Quintana (TKO4) at 152 pounds.
Next up will be Slovenia’s Zaveck (32-2, 18 KOs), 36, who won a belt in 2009 and made three defenses against soft opposition before coming to America and losing the strap by fifth-round knockout (because of a badly busted up right eye) to Andre Berto in an HBO fight in November 2011. Zaveck returned to decision Bethuel Ushona (who?) last March but has been out of action since because of an elbow injury.
The winner of Thurman-Zaveck will be in position as the mandatory challenger for the title held by Timothy Bradley Jr.