Trainer Dan Birmingham told me his guy Keith Thurman has felonious leanings.
The Florida-based tutor, who trained Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy, said Thurman, nicknamed "One Time" because he says a single shot will drop and stop you, said that the welterweight will steal the show at Barclays Center Saturday night.
"I think he's one of the best out there," Birmingham, 61, told me.
Wait, better than Winky?
"He's going to have to prove himself," he said, but didn't shut the door on the idea. "He has freakish power."
The 24-year-old is 19-0, with 18 KOs, so yeah, I'd say his power stands out. He hasn't faced Grade A foes yet, but opponent Jan Zaveck will take him a step closer to that. The 36-year-old Slovenian held a welter crown, and holds a 32-2 record, with 18 KOs. He was stopped by Andre Berto (in round five) when they met in 2011. "Zaveck is real though, real strong, but doesn't match Keith in skills or power," Birmingham said.
The trainer said fighters have dodged Thurman since he turned pro -- a trend that's increased of late. Soon, the trainer said, he will be near the top of the ladder, and then the top welterweights will accept a rumble.
So, does he thinks Thurman will steal the buzz from Hopkins-Cloud?
"I know it's gonna happen," he said. "It always does."