Keith Thurman Within Reach to Challenge the WBC Welterweight Champion
For the last several years, one-time welterweight top dog Keith “One Time” Thurman (30-1, 22 KO’s) has lingered on the periphery of importance within the division. Technically speaking, just two fights ago Thurman was the WBA Super champion. Well, that was before he took living legend Manny Pacquiao lightly.
When they collided, well back on July 20, 2019, One Time was outworked, floored and outpointed in route to a split decision loss. Looking to take the ‘inactivity crown’ away from one-fight-a-year master Gary Russell Jr., Thurman has only contested four fights since 2017. These were contested against Danny Garcia (2017), two forgettable matches with Josesito Lopez (2019) and Mario Barrios (2022), and the aforementioned Pacquiao rumble.
THE ROAD MAP
Thurman’s being such a non-factor is complicated by the fact that he has a rift with both belt-carrying champions Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.(28-0, 22 KO’s) (WBC, IBF and WBA super) and Terrence Crawford (WBO). Ironically, Thurman’s #1 (WBC), #3 (WBA), #3 (WBO) and #6 (IBF) rankings strategically place him closer to a bout with Spence. This is ironic because The Truth holds an open and very public disdain for the Floridian. Yet, as Sulaiman explained to Fight Hype, One Time’s WBC standing may trump the unified champion’s dismissive attitude.
“Well we have all been pushing for the Spence, Crawford ultimate match, that would be sensational. Keith Thurman did a semi-final elimination, [Vergil] Ortiz was going to do an elimination with [David] Avanesyan, so something happened and Ortiz opted to fight for another organization elimination. So we don’t know where he stands. But Thurman is right there in the mix for a final elimination. Or, he could challenge directly Spence in a voluntary defense.” (4:50 min)
ONLY ONE WAY
Going by this, Thurman is one fight away from being able to attempt forcing a fight with Spence. This could be ideal though. Spence is more than likely going to fight Crawford next anyway, so now would be the time to try to put together a final elimination duel. Therefore, theoretically, he could win his eliminator and be ready for whoever the winner is. Let’s see how it all plays out over the next several weeks and months.
By: Bakari Simpson