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Sports

Thurman's patience is rewarded with a TKO

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Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 02:56 AM

As Keith Thurman sees it, his growth is a process.

Saturday night inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, his matriculation in the sport of boxing continued when he knocked out Favio Medina in the fourth round.

Facing one of his toughest opponents yet, Thurman (15-0, 14 KOs) shifted Medina's nose early in the bout, causing blood to flow, and realized Medina (23-3-3, 8 KOs) wouldn't succumb to the broken nose.

Instead of rushing in like a wild bull with red in his eyes, Thurman, of Clearwater, chose to focus on his craft - and box.

"I was boxing, moving, hitting the body," Thurman said after showering. "I was just taking what I saw, taking my time. He was tough, he took 'em. ... As soon as I realized he'll be here for a minute, I decided not to rush it."

That patience paid off in the fourth round when he delivered a crushing left hook, forcing the referee to stop their light middleweight bout at the 2:34 mark of the fourth round.

"The writing's on the wall," said Dan Birmingham, Thurman's trainer. "It's up to him. As long as he trains hard and lives right and dedicates himself, he's going to be a star. I don't think he can miss. It's still a long, tough road, but he's getting there."

Thurman was one of three fighters with Tampa Bay area ties fighting on Saturday night's Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis undercard. Former undisputed lightweight champion Nate Campbell (33-7-1, 25 KOs), a Jacksonville native and former Tampa resident, lost a split decision to Walter Estrada (38-13-1, 25 KOs).

Meanwhile, Winter Haven's Andre Berto defended his WBC welterweight belt against Freddy Hernandez, knocking him out 2:07 into the first round.

Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) set up the knockout shot with a left hook to the body, followed by a powerful right cross through Hernandez's guard and into his chin.

The blow sent Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs) crashing to the canvass.

Afterward, Berto made it clear he wants to face the upper echelon - Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather - of the welterweight division.

"Right now, at this point, it doesn't matter (who I face)," Berto told HBO. "I already ate all my appetizers, so I'm ready for the main courses of the division now. So Shane Mosley, we still have unfinished business if he wants it. Miguel Cotto, definitely Manny Pacquiao. I think I would be the best fight out there for (Pacquiao). He needs somebody with speed, he needs somebody young, he needs somebody strong and we're going to see what happens."

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