Keith Thurman didn't get the sort of victory he might have preferred last night, but forcing tough veteran Julio Diaz to quit after three rounds due to a rib injury wasn't too bad, either, giving "One-Time" a win in his first Showtime main event.
Thurman (23-0, 21 KO) traded shots with Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KO), getting the better of the exchanges, and said he felt the shot that led to Diaz calling the fight off after three rounds.
"I felt the body shot. I felt he was going to go down," Thurman said after the fight. "I wondered if I hadn't landed it clean enough. He's a tough guy. He showed up to fight. You saw what he was doing in the ring. His rib... he had eight more rounds to go so he did what he had to do."
When asked if he felt Diaz made the to take a knee in round two as a strategic move, Thurman, 25, agreed that he likely had.
"I landed a clean left hook to the temple," he said. "He felt it. So, he thought it would be better to take a knee, rather than take another shot to the head. I train to do that. If you feel that your legs aren't right and you are in with a dangerous puncher, you take a knee. It was a wise decision."
Diaz, 34, conceded that he simply was beaten by a stronger fighter. "I got caught with a good body shot, in the rib. I had trouble breathing. After the punch, I couldn't breathe. I am human. I got hurt. The guy had some power.
"But I am a two-time champion. I have never quit in a fight. I didn't have anything to prove. I took a knee to recuperate from a shot to the back of my head. And the rib shot really got me. I ain't 18 years old anymore. I wanted to give a war, but I had to know when it was my time.''
Thurman has big plans, of course, and said he's aiming for the major league fights this year. He mentioned both Floyd Mayweather and Shawn Porter as potential foes.
"Everybody shoots for the Mayweather sweepstakes. I am here to entertain, to dominate the welterweight division. I love the sport of boxing. I love knockouts. I am going to keep giving them to you," Thurman said. "Shawn Porter is a terrific fighter. He's a great friend of mine. He's a devastating boxer-puncher like myself. Whenever they're ready, I am ready."