By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman didn’t use the word “relevant” this time, but he was again adamant about Terence Crawford needing to prove himself as a welterweight.
Thurman told co-hosts Randy Gordon and Gerry Cooney during SiriusXM’s most recent “At the Fights” broadcast that Crawford is going to have a tougher time thriving as a welterweight than some might think. The unbeaten WBA/WBC welterweight champion has competed mostly as a welterweight since he turned pro in November 2007, whereas Crawford’s next fight will mark his welterweight debut.
“Let’s see Terence Crawford do something at 147,” Thurman said. “Just because he wants to add seven pounds onto his belt line doesn’t make him a welterweight, if you ask me. You know, I’m very adamant about what it means to be a true welterweight and to compete against welterweights. Danny Garcia fought me, you know?
“I just feel like a lot of kids coming up from 140, when they really go toe-to-toe with the guys at 147, they’ll find out that it’s not the same type of division. We just have better competition in this division. So, you know, I know Terence Crawford is a tremendous fighter. But I’ve been saying it, and I’m very adamant about it, I don’t think he’s gonna have as easy of a time at 147 as he did at 140. But we’ll see.”
The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) is still rehabilitating his right elbow, on which he had surgery 7½ months ago. The Clearwater, Florida, native expects to resume training January 1 and intends to return to the ring sometime in March against an undetermined opponent.
Thurman caused a stir in October, when during an interview session at Barclays Center he said Crawford needs to become “relevant” in the welterweight division before he’d consider fighting him.
The 30-year-old Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is commonly considered one of the top two boxers, pound-for-pound, in the world. The former undisputed 140-pound champion has relinquished the four junior welterweight titles he held after knocking out former champion Julius Indongo in the third round August 19 and has been installed as the WBO’s No. 1 contender for its welterweight champion, Jeff Horn.
If Australia’s Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) defeats England’s Gary Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs) on December 13 in Brisbane, Horn’s hometown, Crawford is expected to challenge Horn at some point early in 2018.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.