By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr. had hoped his first welterweight title unification fight would’ve come against Keith Thurman.
The unbeaten IBF 147-pound champion happily will settle for the winner of the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter bout. Garcia and Porter will fight for the WBC welterweight title Thurman gave up in April.
Assuming the heavily favored Spence succeeds in making his mandatory title defense versus Carlos Ocampo on June 16, he would like to face the Garcia-Porter winner in his following fight.
“Whoever wins the fight between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter for the WBC title will have to fight me,” Spence said Tuesday during a media day at R&R Boxing Club in Dallas. “I’m ready to unify. I’m ready to take the belt from either one of those guys.”
Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) could fight for the unclaimed WBC championship as soon as August 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Garcia-Porter also could take place on an undetermined date in September.
The timing of the WBC-mandated match between the No. 1-ranked Garcia and the second-ranked Porter might not coincide with Spence’s plan to fight three times in 2018. Spence stopped Lamont Peterson on January 20 at Barclays Center and if he overcomes Ocampo, he would prefer to return to the ring at some point in the fall.
The 28-year-old Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) still wants to fight Thurman, but Thurman is expected to take what should equate to a tune-up fight when he comes back.
The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, hasn’t fought since defeating Garcia by split decision in their welterweight title unification fight almost 15 months ago at Barclays Center. Elbow surgery and a subsequent hand injury have kept Thurman out of action since March 2017.
The biggest fight for Spence, a showdown with Terence Crawford, apparently won’t happen anytime soon.
Spence also said Tuesday that he wants to take title unification fights against fellow Al Haymon fighters before pursuing a fight against Crawford (https://www.boxingscene.com/spence-on-crawford-let-me-clean-up-my-side-street-first--128607). Spence, Garcia, Porter and Thurman all are advised by Haymon.
The 30-year-old Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) is heavily favored to beat WBO champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) in Crawford’s welterweight debut June 9 in Las Vegas (ESPN+). A week later, Spence is set to meet Mexico’s Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) in a fight Showtime will televise from Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in Frisco, Texas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.