Thurman says fans can enjoy his fights while waiting for Spence match
By Jim Dower: WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) says it’s up to the fans whether they want be upset or enjoy his fights while waiting for him to eventually fight IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs) in 2019. Thurman says he’s going to be putting on fights against other opposition in 2018 while he slowly comes back from elbow surgery.
Thurman plans on fighting 2 times this year on May 19 and then one more time before the end of the year.
Thurman says he’s not afraid of Errol Spence, but he’s not going to fight him this year because of his elbow. But it’s also possible that Thurman might not fight Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter either. All those fights might not happen in 2018 either.
“You can let your blood boil or you can sit back and enjoy these fights in between and wait for this big fight,” said Thurman to RingTV.com. “It will come through, but it’s not going to happen in 2018. If he’s ‘The Truth’, he’s not going to go nowhere. We already know I’m No. 1 for a reason. I’ve been tested. I’ve been through trials.”
The fans might not enjoy Thurman’s fights if he takes on over-matched opposition for an entire year. It’s not a good idea for champions to put the boxing public asleep with weak match-making. Look what happened with Manny Pacquiao. He lost a lot of fans after he stopped facing good opposition after his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. The fans have drifted away while Pacquiao has had 3 less than compelling matches in a row against Jeff Horn, Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley. It didn’t take long for Pacquiao to lose a lot of boxing fans. It might not for Thurman to lose his fans as well if he insists on using an entire year to come back from his elbow injury.
Thurman’s talk of him having been tested is him talking about his fights with Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter in the last 2 years. Thurman proved that he better than those fighters by close margins. It was from a total domination from Thurman in beating Garcia and Porter. That’s something that you have to be a little concerned with if you’re a Thurman fan. He’s winning his fights, but he’s not dominating like the former No.1 welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. Thurman feels he’s taken over Mayweather’s spot as the No1 fighter at 147, but he’s not shown that he’s far above the competition with his wins.
If Thurman doesn’t improve his game, he’s going to lose the next time he faces Porter and Garcia.
As far as the boxing fans letting their blood boil as Thurman says, I don’t think the fans are getting upset about him not facing Spence. It’s more of a case of the fans disappointed in him, because they briefly thought he was the No.1, and now they see him as afraid of taking the Spence fight and wanting to be given easy fights for the entire year in 2018. Thurman said that his next opponent might be someone outside of the top 10, and the opponent in his second fight in 2018 will be someone in the 5 to 7 range in the rankings.
“I’m just playing my cards right. If you want to be a winner, you’ve got to play your cards right,” Thurman said.
Thurman could make the Spence fight bigger if he stayed busy fighting good opposition in 2018. Going outside of the top 10 for Thurman’s fight on May 19 is going to look bad, but then for him to pick a guy from the 5 to 7 spot in the rankings, it’s going to look like he’s milking his titles.
Thurman last fought on March 4 last year in beating Danny Garcia by a 12 round unanimous decision.