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Spence says Thurman hasn’t been ‘One Time’ in a long time

Image: Spence says Thurman hasn’t been ‘One Time’ in a long time

By Chris Williams: Errol Spence Jr. doesn’t have many positive things to say about the inactive WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs), who has seemingly been dodging a fight against him for the past 2 years now.

Spence says the 28-year-old Thurman hasn’t lived up to his nickname ‘One Time’ for a long time. Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) sees Thurman as a guy that does a lot of talking, but he doesn’t back it up inside the ring by taking the fight with him.

“Keith Thurman says a lot of things that he doesn’t live up to. He hasn’t been ‘One Time’ for a long time,” said Spence. ”I don’t care what Keith Thurman says. Until he signs a contract it doesn’t matter what he says. Everything else he says is irrelevant,” said Spence.

Before Thurman became a world champion in 2015, he was anxious to fight the best fighters in the welterweight division. But ever since Thurman was elevated the World Boxing Association 147 lb. champion outside of the ring in January 2015, he’s failed to take fight the boxing fans have wanted to see in Spence. Thurman has instead fought these fighters:

• Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero

• Luis Collazo

• Shawn Porter

• Danny Garcia

Porter is a good fighter, and you can’t knock Thurman for fighting him. But by picking Guerrero, Collazo and Garcia over Spence, it looks like the 28-year-old Thurman is milking his WBA title by minimizing his risks. Thurman needs to fight Spence if he wants to take his career to the next level.

Thurman’s wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia has failed to do much for his career. Facing them in rematches is pointless. He’s not going to gain anything fighting Porter and Garcia a second time. The way for Thurman to increase his popularity to become a big star is to move on and keep fighting better opposition with each fight rather than getting bogged down by taking needless rematches.

Thurman has been a pro for 11 years now since 2007, and he still doesn’t have a signature win on his resume. The best fighters Thurman has faced to this date in his career is Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. This far into Thurman’s career, he should have already fought Spence and guys like Terence Crawford.

Spence will likely fight Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) before he gets a unification fight against Thurman. Spence says he’s open to the Crawford fight.

”It’s going to happen,” said Spence when asked about a fight against Terence Crawford. ”As long as we keep winning, it’s going to happen. I’m not shying away from any type of competition in my weight class,” said Spence.

Crawford will be making his debut at welterweight in April against WBO 147 lb. champion Jeff Horn. If Crawford wins that fight, then he’ll be on his way to building a name for himself to make a unification fight against Spence. Hopefully, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum doesn’t stunt Crawford’s career by matching him only against his fighters from his stable the way he did with Manny Pacquiao. Crawford needs to fight non-Top Rank fighters like Spence for him to become popular.

It would be sad if the 86-year-old Arum had Crawford waste the next 6 years of his career fighting Horn 4 times and Konstantin Ponomarev 4 or 5 times. We saw Pacquiao fight guys from Arum’s Top Rank stable repeatedly. Whether Arum matches Crawford against Spence might come down to how well the Nebraska fighter does against Horn. If Crawford dominate Horn, then I think Arum will be willing to put him in with Spence. if Crawford struggles to beat Horn, then it’s probably unlikely that he’ll want to risk his unbeaten record against a bigger and stronger fighter like Spence. Horn will be the litmus test for Crawford. It’ll be up to Crawford though if he wants his career to be walled off the way Pacquiao’s was in fighting only certain guys with Arum’s stable.

”Keith Thurman is more of a mover,” said Spence in comparing Thurman to Crawford. ”Terence can move, but Terence likes to fight.”

We don’t know yet how Crawford will fight at welterweight. Crawford uses a lot of movement when he’s facing guys with power. He might turn out to be a full runner at 147, and be an unwatchable fighter. If that’s the case, then it might not be worth it for Spence to ever fight him. Spence needs to face guys that will stand and fight. Thurman is a pure runner. That’s going to be hard for Spence to chase him down. Thurman would be a good warm-up for Spence to fight Crawford. By the time Spence is done chasing Thurman down to give him is first defeat, it’ll have him ready for the movement that Crawford will use against him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Spence will need to wait until Arum is willing to let him fight Crawford, and that might not be soon.

“We’ll find somebody,” said Spence in talking about his next fight after his January 20 title defense against Lamont Peterson. “It’s a deep pool of welterweights. If nobody in the top 5 wants to fight, then boxing fans will realize it. We’ll have to find somebody. The main objective is to stay busy this year. We got Lamont. After that, if we can’t get a top 5, then we’ll get somebody. I have to stay busy this year. I want to stay active and stay in the ring,” said Spence.

After Spence defends his IBF title against Lamont Peterson on January 20, it’ll come down to one of these fighters:

• Carlos Ocampo

• Konstantin Ponomarev

• Luis Collazo

• Quadratillo Abduqaxorov

• Mohamed Mimoune

• Rashidi Ellis

• Ray Robinson

• Zhankhozh Turarov

• Carlos Molina

• Keita Obara

• Tsiko Mulovhedi

Those are the contenders in the International Boxing Federation’s Top 15 rankings. Those are not good fighters. The IBF needs to start ranking some better guys, because those are like tune-up level fighters. Spence is going to hold onto his IBF title forever with that kind of guys being ranked by the sanctioning body.

“The last I heard the Russian dude with Top Rank was the mandatory, Ponomarev,” said Spence in naming his IBF mandatory challenger. “I don’t know. I don’t care. If my mandatory comes, then I’ll fight my mandatory,” said Spence.

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