By: Sean Crose
The World Boxing Council announced at its convention in Acapulco Wednesday that Errol Spence, who holds the Council’s welterweight title, is to face veteran welterweight – and former world title holder – Keith Thurman, with Spence’s WBC title belt being at stake. This is an interesting battle to say the least, though Thurman is now essentially a part time fighter. While fans had hoped that Spence, who also holds the WBA and IBF welterweight straps would battle WBO titlist Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship, that fight fell through and Thurman has a name and record that fans know.
The truth is that Spence, at least at times, hasn’t had a desire to fight Thurman as Thurman pointedly wouldn’t consider him an opponent back when the fighter known as “One Time” was on top of the division and Spence was still a young fighter on the rise. Should Spence decide that he doesn’t want to fight Thurman even at this point he would have to give up his WBC title, which would seem somewhat drastic, especially now that the hoped for fight with Crawford has fallen through. What’s more, both Thurman and Spence fight under the PBC banner, so there theoretically shouldn’t be too many obstacles in the way of a smooth negotiation process.
Spence last saw action last spring when he bested Yordenis Ugas by stoppage in the 10th round. Spence had hoped to fight Manny Pacquiao back in 2021, but an injury prevented him from making that fight a reality. Ugas stepped in instead and upset Pacquiao, leading the Filipino legend to retire. Spence then had to face Ugas rather than having a more notable bout with Pacquiao. While Spence has still certainly faced his share of big names, Thurman would be another impressive win on the resume should he fight and defeat the Florida native.
Thurman himself has had what’s amounted to a rather strange career. After a stellar rise to the top of the welterweight heap, the man began spending large swaths of time out of the ring, some but certainly not all due to injuries. Thurman’s last major bout was a loss to Pacquiao back in 2019 in a fight many, if not most, believed he would win. Thurman has fought less than once a year since 2015. Once one of the hottest names in the sport, the now 33 year old Thurman still remains a big name opponent for Spence. It may be worth questioning, however, whether Thurman himself would wish to fight Spence at this time. Thurman’s last fight was a UD win over Mario Barrios last February.
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