By Chris Williams: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed on Wednesday that Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr’s next mandatory that is due for his three belts.
This means that Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) will need to face ‘One Time’ Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) next if he wants to keep his WBC 147-lb title.
Of course, when you’re talking about the 33-year-old Thurman, you can’t rule out him passing on the opportunity to fight Spence due to an injury or being overweight.
If Spence chooses not to face Thurman, he’s looking at a much more difficult fight against his IBF mandatory Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis. That fight on paper is far more of a problem for Spence than the aging inactive ‘One Time’ Thurman or WBO champion Terence Crawford.
“No, the WBC’s mandatory is next. Thurman is the #1 contender, but everything will be seen at the [WBC] convention,” said WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman to Fighthype when asked if Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis is IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr’s next mandatory.
“I believe Ennis is the IBF mandatory,” said Sulaiman.
With Spence faced with having to decide between a defense against Thurman or Boots Ennis, the logical choice is to take One Time.
With that said, Spence can always move up to 154, but there are not many guys for him to fight in that weight class aside from Jermell Charlo, Sebastian Fundora, and Tim Tszyu.
Although Thurman has been pushing for a fight against Spence for the last year, old ‘One Time’ has been quiet with the media since his victory over Mario Barrios last February.
Spence has been adamant about his desire NOT to fight Thurman due to him not giving him a title shot years ago when he held titles and wasn’t interested in defending them against Errol.
Unless Spence changes his mind, we won’t see a fight between them. If Spence chooses to stay at 147 and not defend against his WBC mandatory Thurman, he’ll likely have to face his IBF mandatory Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, as that’s the next one due.
There would be more interest from boxing fans in a Spence-Ennis fight than one involving Thurman because ‘One Time’ has hurt his popularity by rarely fighting since 2017.
Thurman has largely been forgotten by fans because he doesn’t fight often enough. Moreover, he hasn’t beaten a quality fighter since his narrow victory over Danny Garcia five years ago in 2017.