By Robert Segal: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’d take on welterweight phenom Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis if he’s the “biggest fight” available.
Ennis isn’t the biggest fight out there for Thurman, so he won’t put himself in a position where he’s taking another loss on his record if the money isn’t good.
At this stage in Thurman’s career, you can argue that he’s a hustler, with the way he’s trying to get a massive fight that he doesn’t deserve.
He’s only fought three times in the last six years since 2017, and he’s currently been inactive for the last 17 months since his win over Mario Barrio in 2022.
The 34-year-old former WBA & WBC 147-lb champion Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) has his sights set on the bigger game, wanting to fight the Errol Spence Jr vs. Terence Crawford fight winner.
Whether Thurman gets the opportunity to face either of those guys will come down to PBC and the fighters. Spence has seemed reluctant to fight Thurman in the past, but he could be persuaded to defend his unified welterweight titles against him if the money is right.
It’s unrealistic to see Thurman suddenly showing interest in fighting Boots Ennis (30-0, 27 KOs) because he’s not a big enough star yet for him to make the money he got in his fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2019.
By the time Boots Ennis is a PPV star, Thurman will likely be too old & inactive to be useful as an opponent. If Thurman continues his pattern of inactivity that has hurt his career, he’ll be a dim memory to the older boxing fans that remember him.
The younger fans won’t know him, other than seeing him interviewed on Youtube, talking about fights that never happen.
Thurman talked this week about fighting Yordenis Ugas next month in August, but it’s still very iffy whether that match-up takes place.
“I heard at one point there was some talk of Keith Thurman even fighting Boots Ennis. How close did we come to that matchup,” said Brian Custer on his Youtube channel.
“They threw out Virgil last year; they throw out names, you know,” said Keith Thurman. “It’s not concrete, but in the near future, like I’ll be telling Al Hayman. ‘If Vergil [Ortiz Jr] is who I Got to see to feed my family on my next check, sign it.’
Vergil Ortiz Jr is no longer an option for Thurman because he’s moving up to 154, not that he’s someone that he’d seriously be interested in fighting. Would Thurman fight Ortiz? No, because the money wouldn’t be what he’s looking for, and he’d likely lose by knockout.
“If Boots Ennis is who I Got to see to feed my family on my next check, sign it,” said Thurman.
“Like I said, man. At the top, there are only so many moving pieces, and I’ve worked hard to be in a position of power like many fighters have in the past. There ain’t no shame in my game. I’ll tell it how it is, you know?” said Thurman.
The only power that Thurman has is being with PBC. He’s no longer a popular fighter and is in the Adrien Broner stage of a forgotten ex-champion who talks more than he fights.
“There will be a time, there will be a place. Like I told Spence back in the day,” said Thurman. “I said, ‘If you the truth, then you’re going to be around for a minute because Keith Thurman ain’t going nowhere,’ and that’s the truth.
“That’s how I always felt about the welterweight division. I will always fight the best. I always want the biggest fights that I could get. So if the near future, the biggest fight is Boots Ennis, that it will manifest,” said Thurman.
Two out of Thurman’s last three fights since 2017 have been against Josesito Lopez and Mario Barrios. Those are not the best, and they weren’t thee best fighters available to him at the time, but he fought them anyway.