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Thurman: Spence fight won’t happen in 2018

Errol Spence Jr Keith Thurman


By Dan Ambrose: Keith Thurman has reaffirmed his decision that he will NOT be fighting Errol Spence Jr. in a unification fight in 2018. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs), who holds the WBA and WBC welterweight titles, says 2018 is a “get back year” in terms of him coming back from elbow surgery and a long 14-month layoff.

Thurman last fought in March, and he’ll be fighting next on May 19 barring any unforeseen injury setback. Thurman’s opponent is not known, and he’s not even talking about who it might be. Jessie Vargas’s name has been mentioned, but he’s still not been confirmed yet as the guy that will be facing the 28-year-old Thurman on the 19th of May on Showtime Boxing.

“You’re not going to see it in 18, baby,” Thurman said to Fighthub when asked about a fight against Spence. “This is a get back year. You’re not going to be able to see it. There’s a lot of competition. I believe Errol Spence is a great champion, but he can defend his title he just acquired another time this year,” said Thurman.

Thurman seemed kind of happy to say that he won’t be fighting Spence. I got the impression from listening to Thurman that he’s not really looking forward to fighting Spence. There are different champions, of course. There’s the champion that wants to fight the best no matter what so that they can test themselves. But then there are the other types of champions that are trying to hold onto their belts as long as they can by milking their titles.

I get the impression that Thurman is the type of champion that is only interested in holding onto his titles for as long as possible by swerving Spence, and/or whoever else that might pose a threat to his title reign. That would possibly mean Terence Crawford. After Spence, Crawford could be the next best fighter in the division. I would include Thurman, but he’s not fighting enough, and he’s having routine injury problems at this point in his career.

” I’m going to defend these this year,” Thurman said. ”After that, I can expand. I just became the unified champion. I’ve got to defend my unification, and I’m going to defend it after an injury. This is a get back year. I’m hoping later this year, we can do an exciting fight for you, but it will not be EJ [Errol Spence]. EJ is to come in the near future, but not that soon,” Thurman said.

Thurman is being cryptic about when he plans on fighting Spence. That’s the whole problem. Instead of saying that he’ll fight Spence next year in 2019, Thurman says that it won’t be soon that he faces him. That could mean next year, or it could mean 2020 or later. I wish I could say that Thurman will hold onto his WBA/WBC titles for another year, but I don’t think he will. The injury bug will bite Thurman sooner or later, and he’ll break down during a fight and get beaten or one of the sanctioning bodies will get tired of his act and strip him of one or both of his titles. Boxing is a youth man’s sport. Sometimes fighters get old before their time. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times in which a fighter in his late 20s gets old overnight. Thurman might be one of those guys.


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