By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – When Errol Spence Jr. saw Keith Thurman on Saturday night, he reminded the inactive welterweight champion that he hasn’t forgot about their fight.
“I told Keith Thurman I’ll stop him,” Spence said early Sunday morning. “I said l’ll stop him before the sixth.”
Spence and Thurman sat ringside at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they watched Shawn Porter defeat Danny Garcia by unanimous decision to win the WBC title an injured Thurman gave up late in April. Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) mentioned Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) and Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) as upcoming opponents, but the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion reiterated that him versus Thurman is “the fight” he wants within the welterweight division.
Thurman’s 18-month layoff and WBO champion Terence Crawford’s move to 147 pounds have made Spence-Crawford the most anticipated welterweight fight among most boxing fans. But Spence-Thurman will be easier to make because Spence and Thurman work with influential adviser Al Haymon, whereas Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
According to Spence, Thurman didn’t respond when Spence promised he’d knock out the unbeaten WBA champion.
“He just laughed,” Spence said. “He don’t say nothing. They know I’m the top dog. They know I’m the wolf in this division, I’m that guy, and I’m not ducking no opposition.”
Whenever Showtime’s cameras panned to Spence on Saturday night, fans at Barclays Center cheered. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), whose return from elbow surgery and a subsequent hand injury still hasn’t been scheduled, was met with loud boos whenever his face appeared on the big screen.
“They love me because I’m a fighter that relates to the fans,” Spence said. “You know, I talk to the fans, I’m relatable to the fans. Where Keith Thurman, you know, he kind of disappeared a little bit. He hasn’t been fighting, he hasn’t been active and they wanna see the big fights. They don’t wanna see recycled fights, with him fighting Shawn Porter, with him fighting Danny Garcia. They wanna see him fight me. So I think when he comes back, he needs to fight me. You know, I need to fight Shawn Porter and then he fights me. So we’ll see.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.