Keith Thurman has a simple pitch for Terence Crawford.
If the native of Omaha, Nebraska, and three-division titlist wants to experience atmospheres like the one last Saturday night inside a packed house at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, he may want to consider fighting him sometime soon.
In a performance that likely surprised even his most ardent partisan supporters, Crawford dominated Errol Spence Jr. in their high-profile fight for the undisputed 147-pound championship, eventually stopping the Desoto, Texas native in the ninth round.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s fight, Thurman, a former titlist and one-time reputed kingpin of the welterweights, repeatedly suggested he wants to challenge the winner of Spence vs. Crawford, and he reiterated that point immediately after the outcome of the fight.
“The better athlete won today,” Thurman told a group of fans and reporters after the conclusion of Spence-Crawford. “Crawford did his thing. I already said I’m next. Y’all already know. You wanna keep doing great fights? You wanna keep selling out? You wanna do these pay-per-views? Thurman right here, baby. Thurman has no fear, baby.”
Thurman pointed out that, unlike Spence, he is not a “flatfooted” fighter.
“Look, I’m not flatfooted like that,” Thurman said. “Crawford is an amazing athlete. We grew up in the amateurs together. I’ve seen this man do so much throughout his career. I salute that man. I always said, he (Spence) never fought an athlete, man. Spence has never fought an athlete. Boxing is stick and move, you gotta get in your groove and Crawford got in his groove. Spence tried to do the simple stuff.”
Thurman is unlikely to face Crawford next, as Spence, under the terms of his bout contract, has a right to force a rematch. In turn, Crawford gets to decide which weight class the rematch will take place at. After Saturday’s fight, Crawford indicated that he would be willing to fight at 154 for the rematch, which is the weight class that Spence prefers.
Thurman has hinted that he will soon announce his next fight. Thurman has been plagued by inactivity in recent years, with only two fights in the past four years.
“It’s not about who I want next,” Thurman said. “I don’t have the time to wait to get what I want. I want that (Spence-Crawford winner) next. But I gotta pick up other checks. I gotta stay busy. Everybody saying, ‘You don’t fight enough, you got all this ring rust.’ I just work. Let me get back to work. Let me get this ball rolling, going, and hopefully as I’ve always done, I’ve made some of the biggest, baddest, and exciting fights in the welterweight division.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.