By Radio Rahim
WBC, WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) may technically have back to back mandatory defenses in his future.
Thurman is scheduled to make a voluntary defense on May 19th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The opponent has yet to be determined.
Thurman has been out of the ring since winning a twelve round split decision over Danny Garcia last March to unify the welterweight belts.
After beating Garcia, Thurman underwent elbow surgery and that has kept him on the shelf.
Because of the injury, and the long layoff, he is not planning to fight anyone in the top ten in May.
At the moment, Shawn Porter is the mandatory challenger under the WBC. Thurman won a twelve round unanimous decision over Porter in 2016.
This past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Garcia knocked out Brandon Rios in a WBC final eliminator - which made him the secondary mandatory challenger.
Both Porter and Garcia are demanding their shots.
However, Thurman indicates that the WBC has yet to issue a mandate that requires him to face Porter let alone Garcia.
"I beat [Porter] once, I'll beat him again, I'm not worried about that. He's real salty right now. Danny is salty too," Thurman said.
"To my knowledge, he is the number one contender, but I just came off of surgery, and there are certain rules with the sanctioning bodies. I'm only injured because I've been boxing my whole life. This is a boxing injury. On this mandatory situation, and I'm not really sure, but based on what I heard a few times there is a freeze period. You can't run the clock. Right now [Porter] holds a great position, but if the WBC does not mandate him - then I don't have to fight him.
"A lot of people are putting my name in their mouth and saying that Keith Thurman must fight me next - but that's not facts. You can feel how you feel, say whatever you have to say and hold as many press conferences if you want. We're going to come back the right way. And fighting anyone in the top five would be overexerting myself."