Will an Errol Spence vs Keith Thurman Showdown finally happen?
The last time Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) appeared in a boxing ring, he was on the receiving end of a bitter defeat to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019. He not only suffered the first pro defeat, but also lost the WBA “super” welterweight title.
Following that setback, the man known as “One Time” underwent surgery on his left hand in September that year. He’s been on the shelf since!
Now the former unified welterweight champ is ready to make his return. Appearing on the Pro Boxing Fans YouTube show, the 32 year-old from Clearwater, Florida, gave an update on his condition. Thurman says the left hand is feeling good. He’s doing modalities and strength work in hopes of preventing further hand injuries. He also indicated when he would like to fight again.
“This summer…I think I’m ready to get back this summer. I think things are starting to get talked about and people are going to get moved around. Eventually dates are going to be popping up and I’ll be ready to get back into this ring.
“I’m swinging against anybody this summer. That’s how I feel.”
ONE FIGHTER IN MIND
When asked who he would like to fight, the confident Floridian was open to fighting anyone in the division. There’s great interest in either a grudge match with Pacquiao or a fight with current WBA welterweight titleholder, Yordenis Ugas. But Mr. One Time has his sights set on one fighter: unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
“I think we’ve waited long enough. I really would like to make that fight happen as soon as possible. The whole goal after the Pacquiao fight was to go after Spence anyways. That was going to be the next big fight. So, I still think it’s a terrific, huge fight in the welterweight division.
“He’s fought a lot of my competition. But he hasn’t fought me yet, so what kind of statement is he really trying to make in the welterweight division? He is a great champion. But I do think that when we clash, it’ll be one of the biggest clashes in the welterweight division.”
Thurman went on to say he would love to fight Spence in 2021.
FAR FROM FRIENDS
The bad blood between these two is real and goes back for years. Spence had called for a fight against Thurman before winning his first world title in 2017. At every opportunity, the 30-year-old from Desoto, Texas stated he wanted that match.
During his days as world champion, Thurman’s attitude towards the fight seemed lukewarm at best. He’s hemmed and hawed about possibly fighting Spence but never actually said “bring it on.” At the time, many viewed his hesitancy as avoidance.
However, fighters are rarely scared to face anyone. It may have been a case of Thurman not being fearful of Spence, rather, him playing the game of risk/reward calculation. In Thurman’s mind, there may not have been great rewards financially fighting the then up-and-coming southpaw at that time. Now things are reversed. Spence is a unified champion and at the top of the division. Thurman is without a title and on the comeback. To get back to the pinnacle at welterweight, it’s the right moment to seek a fight with him.
DOES SPENCE EVEN CARE?
Here’s the thing. Is Spence interested in the fight at this point? Frustrated by failure to get Thurman in the ring previously, he has said he’s moved on.
You can never say “never” in this sport. Boxing is a business. The biggest fight in the division is a fight between Spence and WBO champion Terence Crawford. That fight will not happen anytime as Crawford is currently in negotiations to fight Pacquiao.
Currently, Spence has no fights scheduled but is expected to go for a third strap against Ugas. Thurman is looking to engage in a big-money fight. That matters none to fans. They would be greatly interested in watching them settle their differences in the ring.
At last, will we see these two go to war? In the end, if a fight makes dollars, it makes sense. This could be the precise moment this showdown finally takes place.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.