Errol Spence Jr. may have a legitimate claim to being the best welterweight in the world, but for Keith Thurman, the Texan is sorely unproven in a few regards. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Spence, Thurman said in a recent interview, has never fought a fighter with the combination of intelligence and athleticism such as himself and one Terence Crawford.
Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), the WBC, WBA, and IBF 147-pound champion, is reportedly in deep negotiations with Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), the WBO titlist, for an undisputed fight later this year, but a deal has yet to be firmed up.
Asked about that matchup, Thurman, a former titlist, said he has kept closer tabs on Spence’s development and thus is more confident in asserting that the southpaw beltholder has not demonstrated himself against an opponent who possesses both topnotch physical and mental attributes.
Thurman suggested that that can be rectified by fighting either himself or Crawford.
“What I haven’t seen Spence face is what I believe myself and Crawford bring to the table, which is, obviously, somebody who has that IQ of that Olympic pedigree,” Thurman said on the Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer. “And then besides that it’s the athleticism. You know? He hasn’t fought athletic, crafty, fast-twitch…I don’t know enough of Crawford’s power. We’ve seen him do damage.”
Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs), who broke his years-long layoff earlier this year with a decision over Mario Barrios, indicated recently that if a Spence-Crawford fight does not come to fruition, he believes he will become the frontrunner to fight Spence.
“I still consider Spence the bigger puncher, I consider him the bigger man, the bigger puncher,” Thurman said. “All it takes is the right punch to finish a fight, not the biggest punch. The athleticism, seeing Spence fight a Crawford, seeing Spence fight a Thurman, is just a test that he’s truly never been up against.”