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Keith Thurman says he’ll fight in early 2018

Keith Thurman

By Dan Ambrose: Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) says he’ll be back inside the ring in the first quarter of 2018 to defend his WBA/WBC welterweight titles against whoever his management lines up for him. Former WBO 147 lb. champion Jessie Vargas is hoping to be the one that faces Thurman at that time.

Thurman injured his left elbow before his last fight against Danny “Swift” Garcia on March 4, and he still was able to win the match by a 12 round split decision. Unfortunately, if Thurman keeps fighting only once per year, he’s going to need to change his nickname to, ‘Sometimes.’ Thurman isn’t finding his way to the ring often enough to defend his titles.

Thurman says lightweight Mikey Garcia and Terence Crawford wants to fight him. Either of those guys would be a great fight for his next contest in the first half of 2018. Of course, it might be premature to assume that Thurman will be fighting in early 2018. He says he will, but could catch another injury bug and need more time out of the ring. The sanctioning bodies are going to need to keep a watch on Thurman, because he’s fighting so infrequently now.

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. wants to fight Thurman, but “One Time” has been dragging his feet when it comes to making the fight happen. Thurman’s injury problems don’t help. A lot of boxing fans believe that Thurman is ducking the Spence fight so he can avoid getting exposed by him.

The constant layoffs that Thurman has had in the last 2 years have limited him to 1 fight per year. Surprisingly the World Boxing Council hasn’t changed his status to ‘Emeritus champion” welterweight champion, as they’ve been quick to make that move for their injured champions in the past.

Thurman is saying he should be fighting by March at least, which would make it 12 months since the time he won the WBC title. The WBC and WBA haven’t made any mention of stripping Thurman, but they might have to if his injury problems become a chronic thing. Thurman is a good fighter, but he hasn’t stayed healthy for long enough to fight more than 1 fight for each of the last 2 years.

“There’s no Floyd Mayweather. There’s not Manny Pacquiao,” said Thurman to Fighthype.com. “Let’s be real. So I’m that guy. I’m the only one at welterweight right now that holds 2 world titles, and that’s the only thing that separates me from the other 2 world champions. I have the better resume currently. I did defeat Danny Garcia, and I did compete with an injury. Mikey Garcia wanted to fight Keith Thurman. Terence Crawford wants to fight Keith Thurman,” said Thurman in speaking in the third person.

Thurman says no one has his resume isn’t that good when you compare it to the fighters of the past. Thurman’s is mostly 2nd tier opposition with a small number of good fighters. Here are the best fighters on Thurman’s 10-year resume as a pro:

• Danny Garcia

• Shawn Porter

• Diego Chaves

• Jesus Soto Karass

• Leonard Bundu

• Jan Zaveck

• Luis Collazo

• Carlos Quintana

• Orlando Lora

• Robert Guerrero

• Brandon Hoskins

Out of all those fighters, the only names that really stand out is Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Guerrero was an over-the-hill former featherweight, and Diego Chaves is a fringe contender. The rest of the names are nothing special. You can argue that Spence’s one big name on his resume, Kell Brook, evens things out with Thurman’s resume, because he only has 2 good names in Porter and Danny Garcia. A lot of boxing fans don’t think Danny Garcia is that good of a fighter. He was totally over-matched in the first 6 rounds against Thurman before he started coasting. If Thurman had fought the entire 12 round fight like he did in the first 6 rounds, Garcia would have likely been knocked out or beaten by a lopsided 12 round decision. Personally, I think Porter is the only talented guy on Thurman’s entire resume. I don’t see Danny Garcia being a good welterweight, and I think he’d be knocked out easily by Spence. Kell Brook would embarrass Garcia in my view.

”Once upon a time I would pay people to mention my name and call me out,” said Thurman. ”But right now I’m the dude they need to make a big statement. They got to come see me. Hard work and dedication, it just shows how it pays off,” said Thurman.

Thurman says his injured elbow has responded immediately to physical therapy, and he’s no longer feeling any pain. However, he hasn’t started his boxing training yet, and there’s always a possibility that his elbow could start hurting him again. Thurman says that his elbow started hurting him when Danny Garcia was hitting him on the gloves. It was jamming his arm backward, and that was causing him elbow pain. Thurman hasn’t had anyone hitting him on the gloves obviously since his surgery, so anything is possible right now when it comes to his elbow.

”I should be back sometimes early next year, within the first quarter sometime,” said Thurman. ”I do believe the surgery was successful. [I need to] lose a little bit of weight. I definitely gained weight,” said Thurman.

Thurman is likely going to fight someone that isn’t a threat to beating him for his next fight, which would mean Jessie Vargas or Adrien Broner. I hate to say it, but I think it’s going to be Broner that will get the fight with Thurman. They’re both with Al Haymon, and Broner is a well-recognized fighter, who clearly can no longer make 140 comfortably. The boxing fans will watch the fight because it’s a car wreck type of fight. You know it’s going to end badly for Broner, but you’ll want to stop and watch it anyone just to see how badly it ends for “The Problem.” With Broner losing badly in his last fight against lightweight Mikey Garcia on July 29, it’s going to look bad that he’s getting a world title fight against Thurman in his next fight. But there are enough casual and hardcore boxing fans that would want to see Thurman fight Broner that it won’t matter that the fight is a joke.

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