By Dan Ambrose: Errol Spence Jr. says he thinks the reason why WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman won’t fight him is because he lacks the confidence that he can get the job done.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) has been stalling the Spence fight for the last 2 years, making different excuses why the fight can’t get made. Spence says he’s willing to give Thurman, 28, a break for the time being given that he’s out with an injury right now, but he still thinks he’s suffering from self-confidence issues that are holding him back from taking the fight.
“He apparently isn’t confident with him putting off what we got going on,” said Spence to Fighthub in talking about Thurman.
Hopefully, Thurman doesn’t wait too much longer to face Spence. Thurman seems to be aging and having age-related injuries. He’s also getting really fat in between fights. If you look at photos of Thurman a couple of years ago, he was thinner and younger looking. Since Thurman became a world champion, he’s started to eat and put on weight. Along with the eating, Thurman has suffered injuries. If Thurman waits too much longer to agree to the Spence fight, he’ll get beaten and be reduced to contender status. The Thurman-Spence fight won’t mean much at that point. The boxing public instead will want to see Spence fight the guy that defeated Thurman. He’ll be yesterday’s news, a past his prime fighter with injury and eating problems.
Thurman has already said he’s not going to fight Spence in 2018. He says if the fight is going to take place, it’ll be in 2019, because he thinks that he’s going to be ordered by the World Boxing Council to face his mandatory challenger for that belt Shawn Porter. The sanctioning bodies typically let the champions take unification fights over a mandatory challenger. So, it looks as if Thurman’s true meaning for not fighting Spence in 2018 isn’t because of a potential mandatory challenger that he might need to face in Shawn Porter. It could be the real reason is the risk of Thurman losing to Spence.
Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) is making a defense of his IBF welterweight title against Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) on January 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
This is a fight where Spence will need to prove himself as one of the best fighters in the welterweight division. Thurman is already saying he sees the Spence-Peterson fight as a toss-up. Danny Garcia says it’s a fight could be a difficult one for Spence to win. Garcia had a lot of problems in his fight with Peterson in 2015 in winning a 12 round majority decision. Peterson came on strong in the later rounds of the fight and had Garcia exhausted and looking badly stressed out. If Spence lets Peterson walk him down the way Garcia did, it could be a very hard fight.
”Lamont has a big heart, he’s experienced and has been in there with a lot of great fighters,” said Spence. ”It’s a statement fight. Lamont Peterson has a name and to show everybody I’m the best welterweight in the division.”
Peterson has experience but not the punching power and the natural size that Spence possesses. Peterson has spent most of his career fighting in the 140-lb. weight class. Spence started his career out at welterweight, and he’s a big welterweight. The size and the power of Spence is likely going to be too much for Peterson to deal with.