Which Path Will Keith Thurman Take?
Which path will Keith Thurman take?
By: Kirk Jackson
Unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s) was in attendance at last weekend’s big boxing event at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Thurman witnessed former adversary Shawn Porter improve to 27-2-1 (17 KO’s), defeating Andre Berto31-5 (24 KO’s) via 9th round TKO in a WBC welterweight title eliminator.
Porter, triumphant in his first bout since losing to Thurman in June of last year, has lobbied for a rematch ever since the decision was announced.
The Cleveland native accentuated his desire for a rematch with Thurman in his post-fight interview with Showtime reporter Jim Gray.
“I was just up here wishing he said yes — that’s the fight I want next,” Porter said of Thurman, who was ringside for the bout.
“The people wanna see me fight Keith Thurman.I understand that he has other obligations, but right now we’re just gonna move forward, doing what we do. I’m gonna allow my dad to do what he always does. And we’ll stay blessed, we’ll stay ready and hopefully that WBC title is next.”
In response to Porter’s wishes, Thurman at the very least said he is ready for a sequel.“His team was adamant about the rematch, and now he’s fought his way to earn that,” Thurman said.
“We just need to sit down and talk about it. He’s hungry. You see the way he fights. It could be a great fight again.”
Their fight last June was one of the best fights of 2016 and is a fight anyone wouldn’t mind watching again.
With Porter moving past Danny Garcia and Amir Khan in the WBC welterweight rankings, Porter has first dibs if Thurman wants to hold onto and defend his WBC portion of the welterweight title.
But there are a few other options Porter and the Showtime network alluded to for Thurman.
Thurman mentioned he wants to fight legends. With Floyd Mayweather 49-0 (26 KO’s) in talks to face mixed martial arts star Connor McGregor; a fight with Thurman appears unlikely. That leaves current WBO welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao59-6-2 (38 KO’s).
Pacquiao is scheduled to face Jeff Horn 16-0-1 in July. Many regard this fight as a joke, but this may be a tune-up fight for something bigger towards the end of the year. A unification bout with Thurman would be nice.
Thurman mentioned fighting again in November, which leaves plenty of time for Pacquiao if he defeats Horn.
Only thing standing in the way is the three headed monster in charge of making Pacman’s fights; Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, head trainer Freddie Roach and financial advisor Michael Koncz.
Pacquiao could use his political power and trump them all, calling his own shots and take the challenge of Thurman. But what we’ll likely see is the safe, financial choice, regarding who he ultimately ends up fighting.
Another option is the winner of the Kell Brook 36-1 (25 KO’s) and Errol Spence 21-0 (18 KO’s) IBF clash taking place May 20th in Sheffield, Yorkshire on Showtime.
Hardcore boxing enthusiasts finally caught a glimpse of what can potentially be; with Thurman and Brook standing next to each other and talking about the possibility of facing one another soon. Perhaps they are speaking it into existence.
Spence has to get past Brook – which will not be an easy task.
Brook is undefeated as a welterweight and is regarded as the best welterweight depending who you ask. Former super middleweight champion Carl Froch believes Brook was the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather prior to losing to middleweight king Gennady Golovkin last October.
“Brook is the heir to the welterweight throne and can be the best in the world. There is no reason he can’t take over, but there is a big ‘if’ as well,” said Froch.
Spence is not short on confidence, neither is Thurman. Of course, the match-ups depend on who wins between Brook and Spence.
For match-making sake, Thurman and Spence share the same advisor (Al Haymon) and it may be easier to make this fight – in what appears to be an unofficial welterweight tournament taking place.
As it stands in this current welterweight landscape, Thurman is the main man and should be regarded as the best fighter in the division. It’ll be interesting watching the path he takes to continue to prove it.