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Thurman to Terence Crawford: ‘Send the contract and I’ll sign it, but Spence is priority’

Keith Thurman Terence Crawford

By Jim Maltzman: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman said that he wants Terence Crawford to send him a contract and he’ll sign it, but moments later, he made it clear that he wants to face Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao or Danny Garcia.

Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) backtracked almost immediately after saying that he would fight WBO welterweight champion Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) for his title. It made Thurman look silly with him flip-flopping during the same interview.

You see fighters call different fighters out, and then back off when they later accept it. What Thurman did in calling out Crawford was odd.

It looked like Thurman started thinking hard when he was asked to confirm that Crawford will be his “NEXT” fight. When that question was presented to Thurman, that’s when he started studdering and losing his composure.

What we learned in the interview is Thurman wants these fighters in this order:

  1. Errol Spence Jr.
  2. Manny Pacquiao
  3. Danny Garcia
  4. Terence Crawford

Thurman, 31, will take the Pacquiao fight next if he can get it over a title shot against Spence. But it’ just so unlikely that Pacquiao will fight Thurman again, so that’s likely why he’s saying that Spence is his priority.

Thurman wants Crawford to send the contract

“Crawford knows he can get it,” said Thurman to Premier Boxing Champions. “I’m a very simple man when it comes to the fight business. Be real, send the contract, and watch me sign it. Next fight, I could debate on it,” said Thurman when asked if he would face Crawford in his next fight.

“Part of me wouldn’t like it because I would respect that Crawford is a champion and is always in shape. Of course, I’d want to be prepared for that coming off of everything I’ve come off.

“If it’s not exactly what I want, which is the Manny Pacquiao rematch, there are good fights out there that let me reinstate some form of dominance in the welterweight division and then go right into a Crawford or Spence. That’s another thing. If I’m presented with a contract, if I’m presented with both at the same time, I’ll go Spence over Crawford.

“Spence has priority over Crawford outside of the political. He [Spence] has two belts, and he has more pull, more weight in the welterweight division. Terence Crawford has done tremendous throughout his whole career.

“I’m not a fan of the belt [WBO] he holds. I’m more interested in the match-up rather than being the champion of sanctioning body,” said Thurman.

Fighting Crawford would put Thurman in a position where he could lose, and that mess up his chances of getting a rematch with Pacquiao. It looks better for Thurman to lose to IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) because he has two titles over Crawford’s one, and there wouldn’t be as much backlash.

Keith Thurman Terence Crawford

Danny Garcia possible option for Thurman

“I love being the champion of the world. So if I’m presented with those opportunities, I’m not going to hesitate,” said Thurman on a title shot against Crawford or Spence. “I’m not going to wait. I might take it. Major fight, Keith Thurman back in the ring, ready to entertain the world, pay-per-view.

“That has to be those three names [Spence, Pacquiao or Crawford]. But outside of that, Thurman vs. Danny [Garcia] and the winner gets an eliminator against Spence or Pacquiao.

“Obviously, it wouldn’t be Crawford for political reasons, right? Not only would that be a great rematch [Thurman vs. Danny], but it would lead to another great fight like a possible Pacquiao rematch or Spence.

“I either do something really nice right now that leads into something tremendous, or let’s just do the dang thing. Let’s do another great event. I have to admit that I’m addicted to great shows. The fans get so much satisfaction, and then I just deliver with the entertainment,” said Thurman.

Danny Garcia would be an excellent fight for Thurman to take next, but he’s expected to face Spence when boxing restarts. Spence has already said that he plans on defending against Danny next. Thurman will need to go in another direction for his next fight.

He’s going to look bad if Crawford takes him up on his offer of signing a contract. If Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum sends a contract to Thurman, they’ll likely let the boxing world know that they called his bluff.

Thurman will need to fight a good opponent in his next fight if he doesn’t challenge for a world title or face Danny.

Thurman to retire in three years

“We must continue for three more years,” said Thurman in giving a timeline before he retires from boxing. “We got to look at our health. I’m 31 now. Every two to three years, you have to check yourself. ‘Are you healthy and up for this?’

“I think 35 is kind of done. I’ve lived the life, and I turned pro at 19. You can’t do this forever. Maybe I will push it. Perhaps this injury is the last injury I’ll ever suffer, and I’ll strengthen my body and work with a lot of physical therapists.

“Maybe I’ll be strong and healthy at 37 and still in the ring. That’s not the endgame. If I can do it, I’d love to. There are athletes like Bernard Hopkins that did it much longer, but the welterweight division is such a talent-filled division.

“You get so many shapes and sizes. You’ve got so much new talent coming up. I’m excited for the sport of boxing, and I was looking forward to the Olympics,” said Thurman.

Given the injury problems that Thurman has dealt with since 2016, he’s probably not going to last another two years before he’s out of the sport. He’s increasingly become injury prone since his fight with Danny Garcia in 2017, and that’s a sign that he’s getting older.

If Thurman starts going easier during training camp, he might be able to extend his career another five years. He probably won’t be able to do that, though. The injuries are coming too quickly for Thurman at this point in his career.

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