Keith Thurman to Errol Spence Jr: “He’s Going to Have to Give Me My Respect One Way or Another”
By: Hans Themistode
Before Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford dominated headlines as the most anticipated contest in the welterweight division, a matchup between Spence and Keith Thurman held that distinction.
A contest between the pair never came close to materializing though, mostly due to Thurman’s reluctance to face the Dallas native before the right time. That timing however, has seemingly expired. At least according to Spence who expressed absolutely zero interest in taking on Thurman.
“I don’t really care about him anymore,” said Spence to Ray Flores of Premier Boxing Champions several months ago. “He didn’t give me the opportunity when I wanted it, so I don’t care about fighting him. I was calling him out, you know wanting to fight him and he didn’t want to give me the opportunity. He didn’t want to fight me. So now I don’t need him at all. He’s not even on my radar. I feel like he’s not even on my level.”
With a surprisingly difficult win against Josesito Lopez coupled with a loss in his last contest against Manny Pacquiao, Thurman finds himself both belt-less, and no longer undefeated. With that being said, Thurman does hold wins over former champions in Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.
Despite those aforementioned wins and lengthy title reign, Spence has shown no interest in adding Thurman’s name to his ledger. Be that as it may, the former unified titlist currently ranks number five in the WBC sanctioning body.
If Spence is no longer interested in stepping inside the ring against him, then Thurman is handing him only one other option.
“If he really doesn’t want to see me at 147 then he’s going to have to leave the division,” said Thurman to PepTalkUk. “I’m not leaving the division. He’s going to have to give me my respect one way or another.”
Exiting stage left of the welterweight division doesn’t seem to be in the immediate future of Spence. But with four of his past five opponents having previously held a world title, the road to keeping his belt will be a difficult one.
With names such as Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford and of course, Keith Thurman, the bullseye that is currently marked on the back of Spence is something he should get comfortable with.
“Errol is champion and a lot of people are going to be gunning for him,” explained Thurman. “If he wants to keep dominating 147, then he’s going to have to pretty much answer to everyone.”
Keith Thurman Opens Up on Pacquiao Loss: “I Just Wasn’t 100 Percent”
By: Hans Themistode
Keith Thurman isn’t a fan of excuses. So when the former unified welterweight champion forked over his WBA title to Manny Pacquiao last year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, he simply gave Pacquiao his credit and vowed to bounce back even stronger.
For Thurman though, returning even stronger would entail a life that was relatively free from injuries. Yet over the past two years, Thurman has sat on the sidelines as his body consistently broke down. Punching an opponent in the face became impossible as he battled both hand and elbow issues after unifying titles with Danny Garcia in 2017.
While Thurman took one step back in 2017 and 2018 due to inactivity, he claimed to be ready for two steps forward against Pacquaio in 2019. The former champion assured everyone that he was as healthy as he had been in a long time. Fast forward one year later however, and Thurman is now pulling the curtains back on the physical issues he brought to the ring with him on that night.
“There were a lot of variables,” said Thurman on PepTalkUK. “The number one thing that I blame is my weight control. When it comes to self discipline, I failed at that. My hand was a little bit of an issue as well. I had to cut sparring short many times. My preparation and where I was at in my sparring, I was not happy. Normally I’m turning it up on my sparring partners but I was just not at a certain level. It was just a rough year for me, I can admit that. I just wasn’t 100 percent.”
Even with Thurman admitting that he was not fully prepared for Pacquiao on the night, their contest was razor close. The second half of their matchup was mostly dominated by the Florida native, but it was the first half and in particular the first round, where Thurman fell behind heavily on the scorecards.
Thurman exploded out of the gate as he landed hard shots with his man pinned against the ropes. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Thurman hit the deck, courtesy of a Pacquiao right hand. From there it was an uphill battle as most counted him out. The knockdown may have been devastating to Thurman’s chances of winning the contest, but he believes that was not the beginning of the end.
“The fight wasn’t lost in that first round,” explained Thurman. “The fight was lost somewhere around the tenth. I kinda saw the fight as a draw with two rounds to go and that’s where I lost the fight. I believe that if I would’ve pushed and convinced myself that I needed a knockdown that maybe it would’ve led to something other than a one point decision in his favor.”
Throughout the 25 year career of Pacquiao he has been known to give his opponents more than one attempt at dethroning him. And in the case of Juan Manuel Marquez, he was given four. As for Thurman, Pacquiao seems to be moving forward.
Sulking at a blown opportunity with no rematch in the immediate future isn’t on the mind of Thurman though. The welterweight division is regarded as one of the deepest in all of boxing, and as far as he is concerned, he has an endless reservoir of options.
“It’s really about what doors open up. I can fight Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia or Danny Garcia. I would be surprised if a fight with Errol Spence popped up right away but there is so many Opportunities.”
Keith Thurman Still Battling Injuries
By: Hans Themistode
Fans of Keith Thurman were once accustomed to highlight level knockouts and championship victories. Now however, they’ve grown accustomed to long layoffs and injuries.
After sitting out nearly two years with various issues with his elbow and hand, Thurman stepped into the ring on two occasions in 2019. The rust was evident in his win against Josesito Lopez, but he looked more like himself six months later against Manny Pacquiao. Yet, for the first time in 30 professional fights, Thurman left the ring without the win. But if there was ever a time for a moral victory, this was it.
It hadn’t been since 2015 that Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) made more than one appearance inside of a boxing ring. So despite the loss, there was reason to believe that he would be back to his old active self. Well, think again.
Shortly after Thurman picked up his loss to Pacquiao, he underwent surgery to fuse the metacarpal bones in his left hand. It didn’t seem like a major setback, however, nine months later and the former unified champion is still having issues.
“I still have yet to hit the bag 100 percent,” said Thurman on an episode of Stars and Champions on Impact Network. Dan Rafael. “So, I did some exercises yesterday. I noticed that – I did do some heavy-duty exercises. So, I did notice that there was a little achiness here today. I started doing some heavier weights. I really wanted to get into the strong, the heavier movement, the heavier impact. You know, light impact, touch, touch, touch all day. But I need to get back into the heavier hitting. And that’s gonna take probably another two to three weeks of working on that before I know that it’s gonna be 100.”
Fans of Thurman were always daydreaming about their favorite fighter. Matchups with current unified champion Errol Spence Jr and WBO belt holder Terence Crawford was all they could think about. Now, the only thing on their mind is when, or better yet, if, their man will ever return healthy once again.
Spending time on the shelf has taught Thurman how to be patient. Maybe he’s displayed too much of it over the years. But still, he isn’t in any rush to return from injury, but when he does, he expects to be better than ever.
“I feel confident, I think I’m gonna be stronger than I’ve been in a long time. I think I’m gonna be healthier than I’ve been in a long time. And I’m hoping that all of its gonna show in my performance. You know, you’re gonna know when Keith Thurman’s back because he’s gonna look like a monster. He’s gonna look unbeatable.”
Keith Thurman: “I Want The Spence Fight”
By: Hans Themistode
Fans of the sport of boxing are constantly left waiting. They want the big matchups to take place and they want it to happen sooner rather than later. But more times than not, they are forced to cross their hands, twiddle their thumbs and wait.
Once upon a time, one of the most anticipated matchups in the entire sport was between current unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr and the man who was once a unified champion himself in Keith Thurman.
For years, Spence annihilated his competition. And quickly after, he would call for a matchup with Thurman. For a while, Thurman took umbrage to the constant call outs. Deeming Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) an unworthy challenger. Yet, when Spence finally grabbed his first title in May of 2017, Thurman changed his tune a bit. He talked up a future clash with Spence as the biggest in boxing. But now, with a blemish on his undefeated record and a long injury history, that dream contest has fallen by the wayside.
At the moment, Spence is on track to defend his titles against two division world champion Danny Garcia, and hasn’t exactly shown much interest in matching up with Thurman anymore.
“I don’t really care about him anymore,” said Spence to Premier Boxing a few months ago. “He didn’t give me an opportunity when I wanted it. So I don’t care about fighting him. I was calling him out and wanted to fight him, but he didn’t want to give me an opportunity. He didn’t want to fight me. So now I don’t need him. I don’t need him at all. He’s not even on my radar. I feel like he’s not even on my level. I’m looking for big names like Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia. So I’m not worried about Keith Thurman at all.”
While Spence may have his ship sailed in a completely different direction, Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) is hoping to flag him down to make the fight happen.
“I want the Spence fight,” said Thurman in a recent interview. “Ultimately I saw a big clash between me and Spence leading into a year like this 2020, 2021. I always saw the big fight happening. We were both undefeated champions of the world. I thought that was how I was going to be introduced in the Errol Spence fight, as an undefeated Welterweight champion. So with him having two titles we would unify the Welterweight division with our matchup.”
Had it not been for Manny Pacquiao, Thurman would have been introduced as an undefeated world champion in a future Spence clash. The 41 year old Pacquiao would go on to drop Thurman in their July 2019 contest en route to a split decision win.
Thurman has always lived by the motto “I got an 0 and I’m not afraid to let it go.” Well, now that Pacquiao has taken his 0, Thurman now has his attention shifted towards a Spence fight.
But even if he was given the chance to face Spence right away, he would take the opportunity, but he would much rather grab a world title first.
“Deep down there’s still a part of me that wants to grab my belt back. Then try to manifest my innermost dreams and desires for the sport of boxing.”
Shawn Porter Doubts Keith Thurman Wants Rematch
By: Hans Themistode
Shawn Porter has a long list of fighters he wants to step into the ring with next. But a matchup with fellow former champion Keith Thurman is at the top.
The two shared the ring back in 2016 with Porter coming up just short in the match. Each judge scoring the bout had it the same, 114-113 for Thurman.
It may have been another blemish on his resume but thanks to wins over Andre Berto, Yordenis Ugas and Danny Garcia, Porter’s stock is currently through the roof.
On the contrary, anyone with stock in Thurman might be looking to sell at the moment. Not only is he coming off a loss to Manny Pacquiao, but Thurman also had a lackluster performance against Josesito Lopez in early 2019. Not to mention the loss of two years of his prime due to injury.
That, coupled with Porter’s ultra close loss to Errol Spence Jr in late 2019, has him in an excellent position in the Welterweight division.
A rematch with Spence is something that the rough and rugged Porter is currently eyeing, but if a contract with Thurman’s name on it came across his desk he wouldn’t hesitate to sign it. But he isn’t sure the feeling is mutual.
“I’m not sure,” said Porter on a possible second fight with Thurman on Impact Network’s Stars and Champions: Special Edition series. “Keith has been through a lot in and out of the ring. Injuries and things of that nature.”
COVID-19 has condensed the current boxing schedule but there have been signs of life. Promoters such as Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn are already on course to return live boxing to television screens as soon as next month.
Still, even when fighters are allowed to return to the ring, Porter just doesn’t believe that Thurman wants to go another 12 more rounds with him again.
“I’m not sure [Thurman] can look at himself knowing that he may not be 100% and will be ready to take on a challenge like me.”
Shawn Porter on Keith Thurman: “I Don’t Think He’s The Same Fighter”
By: Hans Themistode
Shawn Porter has been in some brutal fights during his career. Matchups with Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia and Kell Brook turned into all out wars at times. The former two time Welterweight champion was dropped in the final round against Adrien Broner in 2015. He was also stunned in the seventh round against Brook one year prior.
Even though he’s caught his fair share of punches, no one has rocked him harder than former and current unified champions Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. Finding out who hits the hardest between the two causes him to pause while he wonders out loud. but differentiating between them is impossible.
“Both guys caught me with one punch. One big punch. I don’t know who is the harder hitter,” Porter (30-3-1, 17KOs) noted when asked to choose between the two during a live chat on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) Facebook page. “In the ring, when the adrenaline is going and you’re focused on your mission, you’re not thinking about that. “I really don’t know who hits harder.”
It’s easy to forget just how heavy handed and dominant Thurman was at one point. But a long list of injuries saw Thurman sidelined for nearly two years from 2015-2017. Once he came back, he struggled in a win over fringe contender Josesito Lopez before getting dropped and losing a split decision against Manny Pacquiao. Now, Thurman finds himself in the back of the line at the Welterweight division.
While Porter finds it practically impossible to determine who hits harder between Spence and Thurman, he didn’t hesitate when asked who would win should the two finally meet inside of the ring.
“I’d pick Spence. Keith Thurman has been out of the ring too much. I don’t think he’s the same fighter he was when I fought him. I’d have to go with Spence.”
Thurman to Crawford: “Send The Contract”
By: Hans Themistode
Keith Thurman finds himself on the outside looking in. A position that he isn’t quite used to.
Even before Thurman became a unified champion in the Welterweight division, he was one of the best prospects in the world. In 2017, after he added Danny Garcia’s WBC title to his WBA, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t believe that he was the best Welterweight in the world.
Yet, following a close loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019, and a long list of injuries, no one believes that anymore.
Names like Errol Spence Jr, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia have for the most part, passed him in the eyes of the fans.
One name that gets most of the attention is WBO titlist Terence Crawford. A matchup between Spence and Crawford is on the wishlist of most fight fans, but with everyone being mentioned for big fights, Thurman doesn’t like the feeling of being left out.
So while he’s never shown an interest in facing Crawford in the past, Thurman sounds like he’s ready to take him on now.
“Crawford knows he can get it,” Thurman said. “I’m a very simple man, when it comes to the fight world and doing business. You know what I mean? Be real. Be real, send the contract, watch me sign it. You know what I’m saying?”
A win over Crawford would place Thurman right in the front of the line in terms of who is arguably the best fighter in the division. And although COVID-19 has placed boxing on an indefinite pause, the good news is that the shortened boxing schedule could see big fights delivered much faster than normal.
Still, even if that is the case, Thurman doesn’t seem too interested in taking him on next.
“Next fight? I could debate on it,” Thurman said. “Of course, part of me wouldn’t like it because I would respect that Crawford is a champion who’s always in shape. You know, of course I’d wanna be prepared for that, coming off of everything I’ve come off of.”
Still even with Thurman calling out Crawford, there are still a ton of matchups that he wants. Including a particular rematch.
“If it’s not exactly what I want, which is the Manny Pacquiao rematch, you know, there are good fights out there that are good fights to let me [re-establish] some form of dominance in the welterweight division, and then go right into a Crawford or Spence [fight]. 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 the priority over Crawford.”
“Outside of [anything political], at the end of the day, he has two belts,” Thurman said. “He has more pull, more weight in the welterweight division. Terence Crawford has done tremendous throughout his whole career. I’m still not a fan of the [WBO] belt that he holds. So I’m more interested in the matchup, in the fight itself, over being champion of that sanctioning body. But at the end of the day, you know, I love great fights. I love being champion of the world, so you know, if I’m presented with those kind of opportunities, I’m not gonna hesitate. I’m not gonna wait. I might take it. I might take it right [away].”
Keith Thurman on Danny Garcia Rematch: “I Believe That I Can do More Damage to Danny Garcia”
By: Hans Themistode
As the saying goes, somebody’s 0 has got to go. But for former two division world champion Danny Garcia, he wasn’t expecting those words to have any effect on him.
For ten years, Garcia beat the odds on multiple occasions. The first time the doubt in his skill surfaced, came against former champion Amir Khan in 2012. Garcia made his doubters look silly as he won via fourth round stoppage. Garcia found himself on the wrong end of the odds once again soon after. This time against Lucas Matthysse one year later. Once again, the betting public looked foolish when Garcia won a close unanimous decision.
Garcia looked like one of the best fighters in the world. That is until he took on Keith Thurman in 2017. The oddsmakers got things right this time around as Thurman took home a close split decision win.
The taste of the first loss in his career never sat well with Garcia. And since then, he’s picked up a few quality victories against Adrian Granados and Brandon Rios. Sandwiched between those wins was the second loss of his career, to Shawn Porter. But still, Garcia has screamed at the top of his lungs for a rematch with Thurman.
Fresh off a loss to Manny Pacquiao in mid July of 2019, Thurman seemingly has nothing on the immediate table. With that being the case, he now seems willing to entertain a rematch.
“I heard Danny and his father are always interested in the rematch,” said Thurman. “To them, it’s a grudge match. They believe that they can get me, and they would like to redeem themselves. So, that’s always a fun fight, going back in the ring with Danny Garcia.”
“I believe that I can do more damage to Danny Garcia,” Thurman said in reference to a second fight. “I think I can out-box him nicely. And I just don’t think that he’s ever really changed. I don’t think he’s gonna utilize his jab any more than he has done in the past. I see him being a little predictable. He’s just gonna want what he’s gonna want, which is the big punch. I loved watching him miss all day the first time.”
Sure Thurman may have won his contest with Garcia, but in reality that win looks much more like a loss. Thurman suffered numerous injuries, which kept him out of the ring for close to two years. When he did comeback, he barely scraped by fringe contender Josesito Lopez before losing a split decision contest to Manny Pacquiao.
Calling Thurman a shell of his former self seems like a bit of a stretch, but no one views him as the best in the division anymore.
Still, even with that being the case, Thurman just might be able to use a rematch with Garcia to vault himself back to the top of the division.
“Prior to Thurman-Pacquiao, Thurman-Garcia was the biggest fight of my career,” Thurman said. “It was the highlight of my career, still one of the highlights of my career, because that’s when I became the unified champion of the welterweight division. So, it was just a great fight, a great show out at the Barclays [Center]. We just get so much love out there in New York. I think the rematch could possibly be back in New York. It possibly could be a Vegas fight. But I like the fight.”
“I think it’s a great next fight. I’d be really cool with that. Of course, we’d have to see what else is on the table. I think it’d be worthy of a title eliminator, thus the winner gets a champion next. With all that said, I’m gung-ho about signing on the dotted line. Believe that.”
Keith Thurman: “I Wanna Become a Complete Monster Again”
By: Hans Themistode
Certain fighters are synonymous with the division they currently fight in.
When the name Tyson Fury is mentioned, the overwhelming thought is that he is the best Heavyweight in the world. Canelo Alvarez brings about the same feeling when mentioning the Middleweight division. Vasiliy Lomachenko is the first name that comes to mind whenever the Lightweight division is brung up in conversations.
In the case of the Welterweight division, there are two names that are usually brought up before anyone else. Those would be WBO titlist Terence Crawford and unified champion Errol Spence Jr. Although you would be hard pressed to find a unanimous decision in terms of who is the better fighter, the consensus is that they are the best Welterweights in the world.
Non undying fans of Manny Pacquaio just collectively tossed their computer screens across the room. The now 41 year Pacquiao may garner a few votes, but Spence and Crawford are still in the driver’s seat.
Yet, just a few short years ago, Keith Thurman was the unquestioned best man in the division.
In 2017, then unified champ Keith Thurman had it all. He was fast, strong, smart and with wins over Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, Thurman was looked at as a star as he held two titles. Fast forward three years later and he looks much different.
The undefeated record is gone. And so are both of his belts. With constant injuries derailing him, Thurman is determined to replace both Spence and Crawford as the best in the division.
“I wanna become a complete monster again, because that’s what I’m capable of,” said Thurman. “I’ve dominated the welterweight division before, and I believe that I can do it again if I come back 100 percent.”
For now, Thurman sits on his familiar chair on the sidelines as he recovers from recent hand surgery. But thanks to the Coronavirus pressing pause indefinitely on the normality of sports around the world, Thurman is using his time away from the sport to his advantage.
“It feels pretty strong, as far it’s all in one piece,” Thurman said. “The flexibility is almost back to 100 percent, so we’re real happy with that. We just know that it hasn’t punched in a while and we still have to build up a little bit more strength in some of the small ligaments around it, to get ready for heavy contact.”
“It’s really just by feel right now. With nothing really on the calendar or anything, I’m not trying to go all out. We’re just building up into heavier contact. But I am getting into light contact as of now. So, it’s really just off of feel. But, you know, being a heavy puncher, I’ve hurt myself many times. So, at the end of the day, we’re just gonna see how it holds up and take it in stages.”