Former welterweight champion Keith Thurman believes he’s the backup plan if negotiations around a super fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford fall apart. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Spence and Crawford have been trudging forward toward a potential pact ever since the spring, but an agreement hasn’t been announced yet.
Both fighters have shared positive developments, however, around the fight moving closer to being made.
If somehow the deal falls through, Thurman is under the impression he’ll be the No. 1 consideration for either fighter.
“[Spence] said after my [win against Mario Barrios that] ‘Keith Thurman is always a legitimate opponent,’” Thurman told Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV. “That’s all he had to say. He’s done with that rah-rah whatever. He knows if the contract shows up and the money is good, and the fight is right, we can make it happen any Saturday night.
“Come on. [Spence and Crawford are] having [negotiations] problems right now. I don’t have a fight right now. Come on. You don’t think I’m the fall guy? Because I think I’m the fall guy.
“I’m saying – where’s my contract? They keep waiting, and I’m still waiting. Why? I don’t know. Do you? I think I’m the fall guy. It’s not the worst fight in the world. I don’t like being the bench boy. I don’t like being the fall guy, but I’ve been waiting. They’ve been waiting. People have been waiting. Everybody is waiting.
“[Spence vs. Crawford] is a great fight. We want to see these world champions fight. We want to see a unified welterweight champion. It would be historical. Floyd Mayweather never did it in his 50-0 unblemished record. The man’s never done it. Whoever does it, we’re going to have to tip our hats to them, and we’re going to have to admire them and respect them and put them on a pedestal. I will, too, even though I’m still going to want to punch them in the face. I’m still going to want my matchup. I’ll take the winner. I’ll take the loser. I’ll take a great fight. That’s what Keith Thurman is about.”
Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) certainly has a knack for patience.
He’s fought just three times over the last 5 ½ years. His inactivity has been due to a list of injuries and holding back to land the right opponent.
“I love great fights, and you’ve seen what I’ve waited for. I’ve waited; I’m patient. I’ll just wait for the right contract to fall into my lap. I love this game. I want to be more active. I’m only getting older. I’m 33, and I’ll be 34 this November. I do think I’ve got plenty of great years left ahead of me, and I would like to participate in that as an active fighter. Whatever that means. Let’s see.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.