It wasn't easy tonight for Keith Thurman, but all's well that ends well. Thurman knocked out Diego Chaves in the tenth round of what had been a very competitive, hard-hitting fight that saw "One-Time" pass his biggest test to date, and did so impressively.
Thurman (21-0, 19 KO) had some struggles early, as Chaves (22-1, 18 KO) made clear quickly that he wasn't here to get bossed by the Floridian house fighter. The underdog Chaves gave better than he got in the early rounds, and Thurman and trainer Dan Birmingham had to go to Plan B. Thurman began to slow down the pace, not looking for toe-to-toe exchanges, as his hand speed wasn't the dramatic advantage he may have expected.
Slowing the pace was a benefit for Thurman, who is often hyped as a brawler, but as he climbs the levels, he's going to have to rely more on the full package. He's not going to be able to one-shot many good fighters, and he wasn't able to do it with Chaves tonight. He still has some technical flaws and some major defensive holes, but Thurman has the goods to become a better and better fighter, and he's only 24. Some people may not like it, but a couple sideways steps might not be the worst thing to keep developing him and making the improvements he still has to make.
Chaves went down in the ninth round on a wicked body shot, and may never have recovered from that. He did make it out of the last 50 seconds of that frame, but in the 10th, Thurman jumped on him immediately, and finished him off with a right hand.
As for Chaves, he acquitted himself very nicely in this one. YouTube footage didn't really do him justice, to say the least. He's a good, heavy-handed fighter with particularly nice uppercuts, and he fought well here. He just came up short.
After the bout, Thurman thanked the city of San Diego for coming out in San Antonio.