By Stanley White
WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) says it makes him happy that the boxing fans think IBF 147 lb. champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs) can beat him. Thurman says those people that think Spence can beat him will wind up losing their money for betting on him. Thurman says it won’t be his fault that they lost their money. It’ll be his fault that he beat Spence.
The reason the boxing public thinks Spence can beat Thurman is because probably can. Thurman can try and paint it as a good think that the fans believe Spence will beat him, but it’s not. The fans have evaluated the 28-year-old Thurman’s skills and they deem him as not being good enough to beat Spence. The fact that Thurman is clearly ducking Spence only further reinforces the public’s perception that he’s the inferior fighter to Spence.
Thurman is trying to make the Spence fight marinate as long as he can, because he thinks that’s the way that you end up making the fight bigger and you get the Mayweather money. Thurman isn’t going to make the Mayweather money though, because he’s not winning his fights easily. Thurman barely beat Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Thurman is only fighting once a year. To get popular, Thurman needs to fight more often and he’s got to start dominating his opposition. It would help if Thurman only fought good opposition as well. Taking a tune-up on May 19th is a dumb mistake. Mayweather didn’t take tune-ups in building up his name.
Thurman might be talking himself into a beat down by Spence. Thurman might not even get to Spence while still a champion. At the rate Thurman is going right now with his injuries and close decision wins, he’s about to lose his titles once he takes on Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter.
Despite the bold talk from Thurman, he’s still not planning on fighting the 28-year-old Spence in 2018. Thurman has a tune-up fight on May 19th, and then likely he’ll get his WBC mandatory defense out of the way in facing Shawn Porter in a rematch. Danny Garcia would like to fight Thurman in the second part of the year, but the only way that can happen is if he shows some courage and agrees to fight Porter. The winner of that fight can face Thurman in the second half of 2018. It’s a good deal for Porter to face Garcia, because he’ll get a good payday and he’ll make the Thurman fight a lot bigger than if he took on a weaker opponent. Porter called out Danny Garcia last Saturday night. It’s up to Garia if he wants to accept the challenge or not.
“I agree because I said Errol Spence is the number 2 welterweight,” Thurman said to Fighthype. ”Some people think he might be number 1, but the truth will be revealed when we thump it out. I know it’s coming. If he’s the truth, he ain’t going nowhere. It’s going to happen. Chill. I’ll handle you. I will handle you, believe that,” Thurman said.
Thurman had a lot of problems beating Porter and Danny Garcia, which are thus far the 2 toughest fights of his career. Thurman barely beat Porter in 2016 by a close 12 round unanimous decision. Last year, Thurman edged Danny Garcia by a 12 round split decision. Thurman won the fights, but the way he struggled against both of them suggests that he’ll lose to Spence.
”I like being humble. I like everyone in the world to think Errol Spence can beat me,”Thurman said. ”That’s cool. Lose your money that night. That ain’t my fault. What will be my fault is I’m going to beat his [expletive]? I’m not worried about it. I’m going to handle him. It’s my division, baby. That’s why. That’s why my name is in your mouth. Your name isn’t in my mouth. My name is in your mouth, baby. This is your boy Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman holding it down,” Thurman said.
Thurman doesn’t need those 2 titles. Once the boxing public knows who you are, title belts are meaningless trinkets that end up costing money with sanctioning fees. Thurman is always mentioning his 2 titles. Thurman would increase his popularity overnight if he agreed to fight Spence next instead of going through his “get back year” against warm-up opponents. Thurman isn’t willing to take the fight with Spence, even though it would do a lot more for his popularity than possessing the WBA and WBC titles, which the boxing public could care less about.
It looks like Thurman is trying to get as much money as he can fighting other fighters BEFORE faces Spence and winds up losing his WBA/WBC welterweight titles. Thurman’s hit and run style worked for him against Porter and in some respects Garcia, but that style is made to order for a pressure fighter like Spence. He’s going to cut off the ring on Thurman and force him to fight, which he’s not too good at. Thurman will need to come up with a new game plan for the Spence fight because his hit and run style is going to make him vulnerable.
Porter’s dad Kenny Porter said that they’re not interested in fighting Spence for his IBF title. Kenny said that they’re not ranked in the International Boxing Federation’s rankings. They’re rated No.1 with the WBC, and that’s why they want to fight Thurman. That sounds like a good excuse, but it might be that Kenny doesn’t want Porter to fight Spence because he could wind up losing the fight.