“The judges are judges. I thought out-boxed him. I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was split and I had that widespread, I knew it had to go to me.
“I was not giving the fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead, we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals every round. My defense was effective – he wasn’t landing.”
“This is my dream coming true. Ben Getty believed in me before I knew that I had the ability to become a champion. He said that I was destined for greatness. He made me dedicate myself to the sport of boxing.
“I knew that today would be the day I accomplish my dreams. People know I fought my way up the amateurs. This was the first time I fought a real undefeated fighter and I demonstrated my skills tonight. I made my team proud.
“You’re not just fighting your opponent sometimes, you’re fighting the judges. They have their own perspective. I know I was backing up and being defensive, I feel like a lot of Danny’s power punches were ineffective. I was controlling the fight from the outside. There were some rounds that I was dominating. I knew that I had pulled ahead. We felt like we definitely earned the victory tonight.
“There might have been one left hook to the body that he landed that I felt. But we know how to endure these punches. This isn’t just about out-boxing an opponent, you have to take a punch too. Danny was well-grounded and he had some awkward head movements. He’s a world class fighter. We just had to make adjustments.”
Thoughts on split decision:
“I came up short tonight. I thought I was the aggressor. I thought I pushed the pace. But it didn’t go my way.
“I thought I won and I was pushing the fight. But it is what it is.
“He was trying to counter. I had to wait to find my spots.”
“It was a tough fight. I thought I came back strong. I thought I won the fight. It was close, but I thought I did enough to win.
“It is what it is. I can’t cry over anything, I’ll come back strong like a true champion. I would love to have a rematch to get my titles back.
“I knew running would be his game plan. Everyone knew that was his game plan. I thought I won and that’s it.”
“Keith ran half the fight. Boxing is about hitting, not running. Danny tried to be the aggressor, but Keith was moving around too much.”
“We knew we had the fight won. Keith was still scoring while he was backing up – sticking and moving.
“We know Danny is a great fighter and there was a lot of great back and forth, but Keith was the better man tonight.”
“I baited him with the jab. I knew he was going to come with the big shots early. I put a few tricks on him, I landed that overhand right and it was night-night. I put my hands down to bait him in, I did a squat and then it was night-night. I was ready to follow-up with a right but he was already out.
On an opportunity to potentially become the youngest world champion in boxing:
“That would mean a lot to me; that would mean a lot to Orlando, Florida.
“This is my second time knocking someone out in front of Ray Leonard. He’s one of my favorite fighters of all time. It’s an honor to do this on CBS.”
“We had a short camp for this fight so it took me a little while to relax. Once I got loose, I did what I wanted to do.
“I’m the mandatory for the IBF title. I’m going to wait for my shot and from then on we’ll just see who is willing to fight us.
“I’m still developing my style. I want to please the crowd. It’s an honor to be on a show like this. I’m not a fluke. Ever since I’ve fought professionally, I’ve only fought tough opponents.
“I had him hurt. He could have kept going based purely off of will but he would have just gotten hurt more. He’s better off this way and can fight again.”
“I thought it was an early decision. I was alright. He got me with a decent shot. But I was fine when he came rushing at me.
“I thought I was in the fight. He’s a strong guy, but he didn’t really hurt me. I thought I was right there with him.”