Thurman says to Spence: “Be patient. Your time is coming”
By Tim Royner: WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) posted on social media last Saturday night to IBF 147 lb. champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) that he should “be patient”, as he’s going to get his chance to fight him in the future.
Spence, 27, is anything but patient at this point. He wants the Thurman fight in 2018, but he’ll give him a break temporarily due to him coming off an elbow injury from his last fight 10 months ago against Danny Garcia on March 5, 2017.
Last Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing, the unbeaten IBF 147-lb. champion Spence took care of business in stopping a very good fighter in former 2-time world champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) in the 7th round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 12,107 boxing fans turned out to see the fight live, and that’s a big crowd for a young star like Spence.
Promoter Lou Dibella says 5 million people watched the fight on network TV. Spence sent a statement to Thurman with his outstanding win over the 33-year-old Peterson. If Thurman wasn’t worried before about the potential threat Spence brings to him in his 2-year title reign, he’s got to be worried now after seeing him dispatch Peterson with ease.
Here’s Thurman trying to placate Spence by letting him know he’ll eventually fight him:
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) January 21, 2018
It’s got to be bad for Thurman to have Spence now taking shots at him left and right on natural television in the U.S, and in all his interviews. A couple of years ago before Spence were getting the kind of attention from the boxing media, it wasn’t as bad for Thurman to have him calling him out and putting him in the spotlight. But that’s no longer the case now that Spence is starting to gain a lot a lot of attention by fans from his fights on Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime. It’s about to get a lot worse for the 27-year-old Thurman with Spence planning on fighting 3 times in 2018 on Showtime.
With each of those fights being seen by a lot of fans, you can bank on the fact Spence is going to be mentioning Thurman before and active each of those fights in countless media interviews. There’s good publicity and there’s bad publicity. In Thurman’s case, he’s going to be getting the bad kind of publicity, as he’s going to be made to look like he’s ducking Spence. That’s not good news for Thurman, especially if he’s facing guys like Jessie Vargas, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Thurman already beat Garcia and Porter. Those retread fights for Thurman. That’s not new blood.
“Anybody,” said Spence when asked who he’ll fight next. “I’m not going to stand around and wait for him [Thurman]. I’m going to stay active this year and fight quality opponents. I’m thinking of going home and fighting in Dallas in my next fight. This year, I want to fight 3 times. I’m looking to come back in May or June in a home coming in Dallas,” Spence said.
It’s going to be difficult for Spence’s adviser Al Haymon to find him a quality opponent for his next fight in May or June for his homecoming in Dallas. We’re probably looking at Spence fighting one of these guys:
• Luis Collazo
• Bradley Skeete
• Carlos Ocampo
• Konstantin Ponomarev
• Quadratillo Abduqaxorov
• Keita Obara
• Mohamed Mimoune
• Rashidi Ellis
• Ray Robinson
• Zhankhozh Tuarov
• Carlos Molina
• Yordenis Ugas
• Lazlo Toth
Out of that bunch of IBF top 15 contenders, Skeete is probably the best by far. If Spence’s management can get Skeete to agree to fight him, it would be an entertaining fight, as Skeete is a rangy guy with height, reach and excellent boxing skills. Skeete fights nothing like Thurman, however, but he’s still a very good option for Spence if he can get that fight. Facing Skeete would give Spence some attention from the UK, as that’s where he’s from.
The 36-year-old Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) would be a decent but not an excellent choice. In the last 4 years, Collazo has suffered losses to Keith Thurman and Amir Khan. Thurman stopped Collazo in the 7th round in July 2015. However, Collazo hurt Thurman in the fight with a body shot and came close to knocking him down. Before that fight, Floyd Mayweather Jr. suggested to Thurman that he should face Spence. Thurman didn’t go for the idea though, telling Mayweather that he needed big money to face him. Thurman felt that Mayweather and he should face each other.
“My coach came up with a great game plan, and that made it kind of easy,” said Spence. “I watched the Danny Garcia-Lamont fight. I saw it was a close decision. It could have gone either way. So, I wanted to make it look easier that that fight. I wanted to put on a better performance than Danny [Garcia] did,” said Spence.
It was a good game plan that Spence used to beat Peterson. The guys that have had problems against Peterson are fighters that backed off and let him walk them down. Spence wasn’t going to let that happen. He took the fight to Peterson straight away and made him back up. Peterson made a mistake of trying to stand his ground for much of the fight, and that led him to him taking a great deal of punishment to the head and especially to the body. Spence landed a lot of body shots that took the air out of Peterson’s attacks. After a couple of rounds, Peterson didn’t even want to throw punches.
”He [Thurman] says he’s a bigger puncher than these guys, but when was the last time he got a knockout?” said Spence in talking about Thurman. ”The pedigree of opponents is rising, and he’s not getting knockouts anymore. It was at one time when he was fighting low caliber fighters, but now he’s not getting knockouts. I give him a pass [for not agreeing to fight next]. I’ll give him a tune-up fight. He’s been out for a while. He’s coming off of an injury. Have a tune-up, but after that, he should fight me in 2018. Have a tune-up fight in March or April, and we should fight at the end of the year,” Spence said.
Despite not scoring any knockouts in his last 2 fights against Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, Thurman is still an excellent puncher. The reason Thurman isn’t knocking guys out the way he did in the past is because he’s hitting and running too much. Thurman has no desire to take a chance of getting hit by his opponents, so he’s quick to dash away after he throws one or two power shots. Thurman failed to knockout Leonard Bundu and Robert Guerrero. Both of those guys gave Thurman issues.
Guerrero was beating up Thurman in the first 4 rounds of their fight in March 2015. Thurman said before the fight that he wasn’t going to stand and fight Guerrero without using movement for the first 6 rounds. However, Guerrero nailed Thurman with a big shot in the first 4 rounds that created a big bruise on his forehead. Thurman had to get on his bike after that and move for the remainder of the fight.
”23-0, 20 KO, #AndStill IBF welterweight champion. 2018 gonna be our year. Time to unify these 147 pound belts. They all know where to find me. Appreciate all the love & support !! #MANDOWN #StrapSeason,” said Spence on social media.