In the third fight on Showtime’s card, welterweight knockout artist, Keith “One Time” Thurman (23-0, 1 No Decision, 21 KOs) faced the 40-year-old, but undefeated, southpaw and former European Welterweight Champion, Leonard Bundu (31-0-2 with 11 KOs).
Thurman took the fight with ease on the scorecards, but Bundu’s awkward style challenged “One Time” and forced him to show both patience and boxing skills. All four judges scored it a shutout for Thurman with identical score cards of 120-107.
Round One: Thurman drops Bundu at the 2:15 mark with a hard left hook as “One Time” turned southpaw. Bundu beats the count and appears to have his legs. Instead of jumping on Bundu, Thurman chooses to box. Bundu switches from his natural southpaw style. Bundu is game, but lands nothing of merit. An easy 10-8 round for the judges.
Round Two: Thurman seems content to box out of the gate. Bundu comes forward, but Thurman seems to want to counter. Thurman lands a wicked left hand counter as Bundu comes forward. Bundu takes it reasonable well. Thurman is mixing body and head shots with skill and consistency. Thurman lands a hard right over the top. Bundu feels Thurman’s power from both hands. “One Time: is doing whatever he wants. You get the feeling that if Thurman steps on the gas, he can make this a short night.
Round Three: Bundu lands a sharp left that backs Thurman up inside the first minute of the round. By far his best punch of the fight. Thurman is unhurt, but aggravated. Thurman goes back to boxing, controlling the round with his hand speed and skill. Thurman is throwing over five times as many punches as Bundu.
Round Four: Bundu still looks fit, but he’s just not throwing. Thurman is moving with great ease and confidence. Thus far, Thurman has landed 47 power punches to Bundu’s 5. Thurman is showing more of a willingness to box. Maybe too willing for the crowd as a few boos inspire Thurman to pick up the place and close the round with more activity.
Round Five: While Bundu is willing, he just can’t find Thurman to let his hands go. “One Time” has become more cautious as the fight goes on. It’s hard to say why. Other than one decent shot, Bundu has landed nothing to dissuade Thurman from coming forward. Paulie Malinaggi rightly points out that Bundu is coming forward, but also being reactive and moving his body a lot as he comes in. His somewhat awkward style may be forcing Thurman to be more patient.
Round Six: Thurman starts off throwing more jabs. Still looking to pick his spots to let his hands go. Thurman seems determined to counter, but Bundu’s unwillingness to throw seems to be offsetting those efforts. Thurman digs in a good body shot, but can’t put a combination together. Thurman is winning easily, if not excitingly.
Round Seven: Hard counter left hook by Thurman to start the round, but again, nothing behind it. The crowd is getting restless. Bundu might have more faints than punches thrown tonight. The fight is settiling into a groove now. Bundu comes forward, acts like he’s going to throw, but rarely does. Thurman lands all the worthwhile punches, but almost all are coming one at a time.
Round Eight: Bundu comes forward, and my god, he’s throwing! Thurman weathers it fine and begins to control distance. Thurman knocks Bundu off balance for a moment with a left jab and a straight right. Strong overhand right lands for Thurman. Bundu has a decent beard.
Round Nine: The amount of movement by Bundu is making it hard for Thurman to sit down on his punches. “One Time” is boxing well overall against an awkward and committed fighter. Another less than thrilling round, taken easily by Thurman simply due to greater activity and precision.
Round Ten: Bundu flurries to the body and then backs away. Thurman retakes control with his superior skill level. No one is ever going to want to fight Bundu after this. Not if they want to look good anyway. If you’re going to give Bundu a round, I suppose you could give him this one. I wouldn’t.
Round Eleven: Thurman presses the action right out of the corner, then returns to boxing. Thurman has moved really well tonight. He’s countering reasonably well against a very awkward fighter. To say that Bundu needs a knockout in the twelfth would be a massive understatement.
Round Twelve: Thurman seems content to stick, move, and coast his way out of the remainder of the fight. Bundu counters nicely in the final minute of the round. Thurman was never in trouble at any point, but wasn’t going for the KO. Bundu might have taken a very nondescript final round if the judges were feeling generous.
Thurman is in an interesting spot for a contender. He’s both too dangerous and not marketable enough to score the big money fights he’s looking for. Therefore, he has to not only take the fights he can get, but look really good doing it.
However, Thurman deserves some credit here. “One Time” was coming into this fight after an eight round layoff due to a shoulder injury and Bundu was certainly awkward and crafty. It will be interesting to see how this fight affects both his marketability and the desire of the top fighters in the division to give Thurman a shot. “One Time” was definitely bothered by the boos at the end of his night while being interviewed by Jim Gray. He did call out Marcos Maidana who was at ringside wearing a rather awesome pair of green rimmed nerd glasses. Yeah, it was the kind of fight where you notice that sort of thing.