Keith Thurman wants Terence Crawford, winner faces Errol Spence

By Dan Ambrose: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is hoping Terence Crawford will choose to fight him first in a warm-up fight with the winner to take on Errol Spence Jr. later this year for the undisputed welterweight championship.

Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) feels that a fight between him and WBO 147-lb champion Crawford will help build the undisputed match against IBF/WBA/WBC champion Spence to make it a bigger contest than if the fight happens now.

Unfortunately, Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) seems to have made up his mind that he wants to face Spence right away in his next fight.

Unless Al Haymon can persuade Crawford to change his mind about taking the fight with Spence next, Thurman will need to face someone else.

The former WBA/WBC champion Thurman looked good in his return after two and half years out of the ring last February, beating former WBA 140-lb champion Mario Barrios by a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision.

Thurman waiting for phone call

“I expect to have that phone call soon with Al [Haymon]. We’re at a point where we have a little bit of time. Where I look at elite fighters, you’re always looking at a five or six-month window on a return. So I think we’re still on track to make all that happen,” said Keith Thurman to PBC Podcast when asked when he’ll be fighting again.

“The question is, who are we going to see in the ring now? Right now, I’m just patiently waiting. I hope we can make the best fight possible. I’ve done it in the past and I continue to want to do it.

“The hardest thing about watching the fight [Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas] last Saturday was that wasn’t the fight that was supposed to be watching.

“We were supposed to be watching Thurman vs. Spence, two undefeated welterweight champions, but when I lost & fell short in 2019, that opened up a new window. Spence didn’t get to fight Pacquiao.

“Part of me just had a reminder of 2019. Even though my health condition was what it was, I was competitive in that fight. I was coming back in that fight, and was only an ex-amount of punches towards victory.

“The [WBA ‘regular’ welterweight ]champion [Eimantas Stanionis] wasn’t on my radar until last Saturday,” said Thurman. “As much as I like the belts, I don’t like the confusion between the regular champion and the super champion.

“I kind of like the old school way, but a title is a title. They’re all going down in history and I definitely want a champion. When it comes to Boots [Ennis]I’m trying to get back and get back to champion-hood.

“Although he’s a tremendous fighter coming up, it’s not that I’m overlooking him. I’ll look at any contract that is a realistic fight with a realistic date with a realistic paycheck. That’s what it means to be a world-class fighter and a prizefighter,” said Thurman.

Keith wants Crawford next

“I’m always willing to step in the ring. I would love to get a big fight or maybe we’ll keep moving,” said Thurman. “We’ll see how we got advised to get into this year. I think Thurman-Crawford, I think the fans are just patient enough to happen if the winner of that faces Spence immediately after would be a tremendous play of events.

“I just hope I get the call. I would love to fight Crawford. They’re acting like there’s a demand, but if you put Thurman in the mix and the winner of that, I think it creates more of a demand. That’s just me. You can always rush and do something or you can build something up.

“With me, no matter with me, if its win, lose, or draw, it’s built back up. That’s how I feel,” said Thurman.

“I just want to be a part of the real action. That’s all that it’s about. I’m sorry but your boy Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman was the undefeated champion of the world before the elbow surgery, before the hand surgery. I’m just addicted to the game.

“I know what it’s like to be at the top of that mountain, and I strive to conquer once again. So all these young fighters, they’re just a younger version of myself, climbing to the top and I love it, and that’s why we love boxing. So, I look forward to whoever they put in the ring.

“We’ll see but I feel at the age of 33, when you think about moving up in weight and you look at the welterweight division and how fighters used to move up and fight in multiple divisions, I just love the welterweight division.

“I love its history and I want to make history here, and I’ve always wanted to make history here. So my spirit doesn’t want to move up, but if I have to stay busy in a good fight and maybe an opportunity for a title was presented, I would have to seriously take that into consideration. But right now, it’s not fully on my radar.

Thurman picks top three welterweights

“I’ve seen highlights of Boots Ennis and he’s looking great,” said Thurman. “I’ve heard a lot of talk. I haven’t seen a lot of film, but people are saying a lot of things about the Vergil [Ortiz] kid.

“I’m not too convinced on the young man that just won the world title, the WBA ‘regular’ champion [Stanionis]. He looks like a less puncher Errol Spence, and the only reason why isn’t because of the southpaw, but the way he was pressing behind the jab.

“The only thing is he doesn’t look like he has the true power that makes Spence ‘The Truth.’ It’s not just the technique.

“It’s that he can chop down the tree and get rid of world-class fighters like he did with Ugas and like he did with Kell Brook in the past.

“This young man is a tempo-based fighter and throws a lot of punches in a round and seems hard to deal with. But I think punchers in the welterweight division including the other two young men, Boots and Vergil.

“From some, I’ve seen on film, you have Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman,” said Thurman in rating his top welterweights. “Just skills and talent and how these fighters move in the ring and throw their hands,” said Thurman.

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