By: Sean Cross
The World Boxing Council announced Wednesday’s convention in Acapulco that Errol Spence, the council’s welterweight champion, will face veteran welterweight and former world titleholder Keith Thurman. This is an interesting fight to say the least, even though Thurman is now a part-time fighter. While fans hoped that Spence, who holds the WBA and IBF welterweight belts, would fight WBO titleholder Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship, that fight fell through and Thurman has a name and record that fans are familiar with.
The truth is that Spence was not interested in fighting Thurman, at least sometimes, because he didn’t consider Thurman an opponent when the so-called “one-time” fighter was at the top of the division and Spence was still a young fighter on the rise. If Spence decides he doesn’t want to fight Thurman even at this point, he’ll have to vacate the WBC title, which seems somewhat unlikely, especially now that his hopes of a fight with Crawford have been dashed. What’s more, Thurman and Spence will be fighting under the PBC banner, so in theory there shouldn’t be many obstacles to a smooth negotiation process.
Spence saw action last spring with a 10th round knockout of Jordanis Ugas. Spence had hoped to fight Manny Pacquiao in 2021, but an injury prevented him from making that fight a reality. Ugas stepped in instead and upset Pacquiao, causing the Filipino legend to retire. Spence then had to face Ugas instead of a more significant fight with Pacquiao. While Spence will still face his share of big names, it would be another impressive win for Thurman if he fights the Florida native and wins.
Thurman himself had a strange career. After rising to the top of the welterweight division as a star, the man began to spend more time outside the ring, some but certainly not all due to injury. Thurman’s last major fight was a 2019 loss to Pacquiao, who believed he would win if not more. Thurman has fought less than once a year since 2015. Once one of the most popular names in the sport, the now 33-year-old Thurman is still a big-name opponent for Spence. But it might be worth asking if Thurman himself wants to fight Spence at this point. Thurman’s last fight was a UD win over Mario Barrios last February.