Rich Kane/Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions
Keith Thurman is promoted as the next welterweight star. Can veteran Jan Zaveck derail the hype train tomorrow night on HBO, or will Thurman roll on with another KO?
I'm a bigger Jan Zaveck fan than most but the guy is pushing 37, has ~240 amateur/pro fights to his name, and hasn't fought in a year. Thurman is too young, too big, too hungry, and just too good for the old man to overcome. Thurman by 7th round TKO.
Thurman has youth, size, and punching power going for him. Zaveck is a hard, tough veteran, but he's up there in years, and though he has some respectable wins, he's never beaten someone as naturally talented as Thurman. It wouldn't be the greatest shock in the world, but Thurman's win over Carlos Quintana was a legit eye-opener, and doesn't deserve to be played down. The guy can bang, and I expect he wins this one in impressive fashion. There are titlists at 147 I would pick him to beat right now. Thurman TKO-6.
He may be a little crude, but it's hard not to like much of what we've seen from Keith Thurman so far. More to the point, adding another credible, proven banger in a division that's littered with good, solid action fighters can be no bad thing. Quintana to Zaveck is, for me, clear, sensible and linear progression of an intriguing prospect, and a win for Thurman here really underlines his arrival.
All of that said, I think Zaveck's been overlooked and underestimated somewhat. The betting odds look a little lopsided, for one, and the Slovenian's got some decent pedigree, albeit at European level and the alphabet fringes. He's also getting on a bit. At 36, he's but an upstart to the protagonist on this HBO card, but twelve years more on the clock than his stronger, bigger, fresher opponent could play a part. With power like Thurman's, this could be a wipeout, but he might just be made to think a bit here. Thurman TKO8.
This is could steal the show. In fact, it will unless it's a blowout. This will be the toughest test of Thurman's young career. I have felt his destruction of Carlos Quintana was a little overblown. Thurman did what he needed to do, but I have to really question how much Quintana had left. Zaveck isn't amazing by any means, but he is a steady fighter that gave Andre Berto a tough (though brief) fight two years ago. He won't fold from the first good punch he fields, and can throw back as well. I also get the feeling Thurman is a little overconfident, as if he is just going to steamroll Zaveck. I don't think that is going to happen, and I think Zaveck will give as good as he gets. I'm going with the upset. Zaveck by decision in a good fight.
Final Tally: Keith Thurman 3, Jan Zaveck 1.