By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr.’s plan is to fight an undetermined opponent prior to the end of this year, then the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter winner, and then Keith Thurman.
If, however, Thurman is willing to face Spence before the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion gets in the ring with Garcia or Porter, Spence happily will alter his order.
Whether that happens, according to Spence, is on Thurman.
Spence spoke about battling Thurman to FightHype.com in the aftermath of his first-round knockout of Carlos Ocampo on Saturday night in Frisco, Texas.
“If he want it,” Spence said. “I mean, that’s on Keith. Keith gotta come back, man. He’ll probably have like two fights [before me] or get injured again. Training camp’s rough for the kid, man. Rough for the kid.”
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), a southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, jokingly referred to the often-injured Thurman’s lengthy layoff. Elbow surgery and a hand injury have prevented Thurman from fighting since defeating Garcia by split decision in March 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
His hiatus forced Thurman to give up the WBC welterweight title late in April. Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) will fight that championship late in the summer, probably August 25 at Barclays Center.
The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, still owns the WBA’s “super” 147-pound championship.
An injury to his left hand suffered during training in March forced the postponement of Thurman’s May 19 return to the ring. Thurman’s return still hasn’t been rescheduled and his opponent hasn’t been solidified.
Spence-Thurman was one of the most anticipated fights in boxing before Thurman made it clear in November that he has no intention of even considering Spence as an opponent until some point in 2019.
Spence-Terence Crawford has supplanted Spence-Thurman as the fight in the welterweight division. A Spence-Crawford showdown isn’t imminent, either, because Spence has said that if he can keep winning, he wants to challenge the Garcia-Porter winner and Thurman before fighting Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), the WBO champ.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.