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Keith Thurman reacts to Errol Spence comments: It makes no sense not to fight

Image: Keith Thurman reacts to Errol Spence comments: It makes no sense not to fight

By Jim Maltzman: Keith Thurman let Errol Spence Jr. know on Monday that he’ll be shooting himself in the foot if he chooses not to face him because he has only a small handful of meaningful fights in the 147-lb weight class.

Last week, Spence let PBC know that he doesn’t want to give Thurman, who he refers to as a “fake,” a title shot because he never gave him one.

Spence holds the titles

The shoe is on the other foot now with Spence the unified IBF/WBA welterweight champion and Thurman the one in need of a title shot. However, Thurman still hasn’t shown interest in fighting Spence, even though he holds two titles. Instead. Thurman wants rematches with Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia.

In an interview with Premier Boxing Champions, former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) said he was never given a title shot against Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had to wait five years to get a fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Thurman wanted to fight Pacquiao when he was 25, but he had to wait until he was 30 before he finally fought him. So in other words, Thurman put himself on the same level as Mayweather and Pacquiao in giving his excuse for why he never fought Spence when he held two world titles at 147 from 2015 to 2019/

Boxing fans don’t view Thurman in the same light as Mayweather and Pacquiao, and that’s the problem. Those fighters have accomplished much more than Thurman, and they fought a lot of talented guys during their careers.

Image: Keith Thurman reacts to Errol Spence comments: It makes no sense not to fight

Spence is in the power position

“That’s interesting, but to me, it doesn’t make that much sense,” said Thurman to Premier Boxing Champions when told that Errol Spence doesn’t feel the need to give him a title shot because he never wanted to fight him years ago. “Am I supposed to argue the same thing? Floyd [Mayweather] never gave me the chance.

“I got a chance with Manny [Pacquiao] after almost 22 months of inactivity when I wanted the fight at 25-years-old. Do you know what I’m saying? It happens.

“The only thing is, he’s [Spence] is in a power position. So he’s in the luxury to say whatever out of his mouth by being true to it because he holds power by being the current unified champion in the welterweight division, and I respect that because I know what it’s like to be in that position,” said Thurman.

Spence is in the power position now as the IBF/WBC welterweight champion, but it remains to be seen whether he can take advantage. He wants to fight Pacquiao, Danny Garcia, and Terence Crawford. Of those three, Garcia is the only one that has a good chance of facing him.

It’s anyone’s guess what Pacquiao will do. He’s an older fighter at 41, and he’s a senator in the Philippines.

Keith can relate to Spence’s anger

“I remember when I wanted to fight Shawn Porter,” said Thurman. “I’d yet to become champion of the world. Shawn had just gotten his hands on the IBF, and Kenny Porter said, ‘There’s no need to fight Keith Thurman because we’ll fight him when he gets a belt. We know he’ll get one, and we’ll fight him, unify, and then the winner fights Floyd Mayweather.’

“Those are the exact words of Kenny Porter at the time. Then months go by, I show up to his fight, and he loses to Kell Brook. Shawn Porter is no longer the champion of the world. A few months go by, Keith Thurman becomes champion of the world. More time goes by, and then I get the opportunity to fight Shawn Porter.

“I wanted this fight a few years ago, and I wanted the fight when he was champion. Now I have the opportunity to fight him when I’m champion, and I felt, what Errol says, I felt that emotion before. ‘You know what? I should dis-him right now.’

“He knows what it’s like when you want a belt, and someone doesn’t want to give you your shot. I had the confidence that ‘Yeah, let’s sign the fight’ because I wanted it several years ago and I was going to beat you at that time, and I’ll sign it today because I’ll beat you tomorrow and that’s how I felt,” said Thurman.

Spence would have been more risk than he was worth when Thurman held his titles at 147. He probably did the right thing by avoiding Spence and taking the easier fights against Shawn Porter, Robert Guerrero, Luis Collazo, and Leonard Bundu.

Thurman remarks on the lack of options at 147

“What does Errol Spence want with his career?” said Thurman. “He can say whatever he wants to say about Keith Thurman ‘fakeness’ this and that, but there’s not that many great welterweight fights. There’s no great welterweight match-ups.

“You don’t know what you are in the welterweight division if you’ve never seen Keith Thurman because we know who Shawn Porter is, and we know who Danny Garcia is. I’ve been the dude at the top since I was young. Always semi and finals at the Nationals because I won seven National tournaments.

“I’m used to being at the top, you know? I remember my first pro fight, and I got paid $1000. And I remember telling people back in those days, ‘the reason why I was knocking everybody out is because they couldn’t afford a fighter to beat Keith Thurman.’ How much money does it cost to beat Keith Thurman?” said ‘One Time’ Thurman.

What Thurman is saying to Spence is he doesn’t have a lot of options at welterweight in terms of big fights. So if Spence is going to freeze Thurman out, he’s going to be hurting his own career because there’s only a limited number of guys for him to fight.

These are Spence’s options at 147

  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Danny Garcia
  • Terence Crawford
  • Keith Thurman
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr.
  • Shawn Porter

Spence already said that he doesn’t want to face Porter again until he fights all the other guys on his list. So if Porter and Thurman have been delimited, that leaves Spence with four names to fight in the next couple of years. It would be better for Spence to be an adult about it, and forget about holding a grudge against Thurman. Spence needs to fight for his career, and to make money.

Keith Thurman is the welterweight division

“Whatever the hell Pacquiao just made. Okay, that’s how much money it costs to beat Keith Thurman. You can’t just get some tough guy from some foreign country like Argentina, Mexico. They brought people from all over the world. [Leonard] Bundu, he was an Olympian.

I still believe to this day, belt or no belt, Keith Thurman is the welterweight division. I make the best fights. Put Keith Thurman in the ring with your best fighter, and he’s going to make a good fight.

“No, the lack of somebody’s understanding, I try not to let that get to me,” Thurman, when asked if he’s bothered by Spence’s comments about him. “When you understand that they don’t understand, then you can let it slide, you know? Another thing too. I know how hard I punch,” said Thurman.

What Thurman has going for him is his name, and his ability to sell his fights. Thurman and Adrien Broner are clearly the best at 147 at promoting their fights with their ability to trash talk.

Thurman might be a notch better than Broner at hyping his fights because he’s more patient and willing to describe technical aspects of his game during interviews. In Broner’s case, he seems to get bored easily and veers off course during interviews.

It’s too bad Thurman is no longer a world champion because he’s now in the same boat as Broner in being the opponent for the champions.

Pacquiao respected Thurman’s power

“When I reflect on how much Manny Pacquiao kept his hands up in the fight, that’s 100% respect from round one to round done,” said Thurman. “Pacquiao doesn’t fight with his hands [up]. Do you see Manny Pacquiao like this a lot [hands up]? Those are aspects and dynamics that people don’t understand.

“All I need are certain things to know that I got the respect of a real fighter. He got my respect, and I got his respect. Even when I knock somebody out, if I’ve shared the ring with them, they’ve found some way to get my respect.

“Even if I knocked them out during the duration of the fight, if I shared the ring with you, boxers all understand that eventually,” said Thurman.

Pacquiao, 41, had to respect Thurman’s power because he’s been knocked out in the past by Juan Manuel Marquez, and he couldn’t take the risk of fighting recklessly. With Pacquiao’s experience, he wasn’t able to fight with his hands down by his sides against Thurman.

Pacquiao still beat Thurman by a 12 round split decision last July, and it’s useless for ‘One Time’ to be celebrating the fact that Manny kept his hands up. Thurman needs to look to look at the overall significance of what took place in that fight.

He lost his unbeaten record, his WBA title, and was exposed by an older fighter.  It’s a fight that Thurman should have won, but he didn’t and now he’s wasting time celebrating the fact that Pacquiao kept his hands up.

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