First, any chance I have to quote Britney, I’ll take.
Secondly, (and keeping with the musical theme) supersition ain’t the way, y’all.
As most of my loyal readers (hi, family!) know, I’m a big Keith Thurman fan. He’s probably my favorite boxer, which says a lot as I don’t have one favorite anything. At least quarterly, Keith Thurman and superstition intersect in my life in this major way:
Ladies and gentleman of the blogosphere, I present to you my Facebook (and Twitter) picture. Now don’t get me wrong, this is my picture for about half the year anyway as it’s one of my favorites. But God forbid I have any other picture as my profile on social media about two weeks prior to a Thurman fight, be it a picture of family, the Pope (it never would be), or my dogs. Because somehow, some way, in this wonderfully intricate and beautiful universe of ours, this picture carries great weight in ensuring a Thurman win.
Or at least to me it does.
So every few weeks before a Thurman fight without fail, this picture goes up. (This quirk has not gone unnoticed by the few friends I have who also hold an interest in the pugilistic arts, by the way.) And every time it does, like clockwork, a win.
But this year, my superstitions got a little out of control. Not only did the requisite photo go up on social media just in time, I also talked myself into wearing a dress to the fight party I was hosting. Because after all, there was another time when I wore a dress on another night that Keith was fighting and he won then, too. And then there were my bangs. To straighten or not to straighten? As I was putting the flat iron back into the bathroom cabinet because I deemed it would take too much time to straighten my hair, my hand stopped cold as I withdrew it.
I had to straighten my damned bangs.
Because EVERY OTHER TIME I’ve watched Keith fight, I wore my bangs straight. (Seriously, in retrospect I’m not even entirely sure this last part is true.) So out came the flat iron, and amid the straightening serum and my new split ends, I realized that I had gone overboard. Just a bit. If (when) Keith won that night, it would be entirely the consequence of his hard work and dedication to a sport that had been the root of his existence since childhood, and would have very little (if nothing) to do with my attire or choice of hairstyle.
And then the fight came, and we saw a version of Thurman that’s been creeping it’s way in since his fight with Bundu in December. Thurman the boxer, Thurman the “runner” (At least for a split second. I suppose it could also be regarded as “showing ring generalship,” since it did require Collazo to follow him, but it’s something I don’t like seeing from Keith), and, (as much as I hate to admit it) Thurman the vulnerable. That body shot was intense, y’all. I’ve never seen Thurman in pain like that, and it was a bit scary.
Thankfully, the accidental headbutt serving as Collazo’s excuse to be a quitter came just in time, and Thurman collected another W. But I doubt I’m alone in speculating that this fight was not the exhibition that it should have been for Thurman, and it in no way appeared to be as easy as was expected.
There’s been much speculation over Thurman lately; his power, the effect of his relationship with Al Haymon, and his worth in the boxing world. He’s definitely not the same fighter that he was even a year and a half ago-the guy who could take you out with a solitary punch in a late round-and as a result, he’s lost some of his excitement factor. Oh, there’s always the chance that it could happen, and it probably will again soon. But it hasn’t happened since April of last year, when Julio Diaz took a knee and ended their fight in the third round after a tough body shot.
Don’t get me wrong-as a true fan of Thurman I thoroughly enjoyed the discovery of Keith as more than a one-dimensional power puncher against Bundu, it was just a shock to the system and not at all what I was accustomed to. But after another decision win against Guerrero and now this, I’m ready for the power puncher to come back.
Or is it just that opponents know what to expect from him now, and train in such a manner as to avoid his one shot KO strategy and force him to box? That’s definitely the safer strategy in a fight against Thurman. And how much blame can be placed on Uncle Al for potentially shielding Keith from tougher opponents, those who could truly force him to push himself to an even higher level? Does Thurman deserve a shot at Mayweather? (For the record: I don’t believe that he does, but I’ve been saying that for quite some time now. I just don’t want him to peak too soon).
But for now-a win is a win, and I remain as big a Thurman fan as before. I’m excited to see the direction his career will be taking from here, and can be counted on to watch his next fight.
Only this time, I’ll have curly hair and will be wearing pants.
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