Boxing fans are usually used to complacency. A fight not getting made for years has become a way of life. A lot of times fighters are no longer anywhere near their peak skill-level when we finally get the match-up we have all been waiting to see. For a fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman though, people have taken a different approach. The public is demanding the bout, and Thurman has taken the brunt of most criticism for why it isn’t happening.
So what has changed in this circumstance?
- I think fans are generally fed up with being strung along. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao left a sour taste in a lot of boxing enthusiasts mouths. When finally given to us, the clash between the games two biggest stars turned out to be nothing more than a dull mismatch. Pacquiao was a shot fighter, and Mayweather wasn’t quite the pristine image he once was either. No boxing pugilist wants to see this happen in front of his or her eyes again.
- Errol Spence Jr. is a different animal both inside and outside of the ring. Young fighters coming up thru the ranks will call out the whole world, but once they reach a championship level, they will be more calculated in their decisions. Thurman is an excellent example of this. A couple of years ago, Thurman was the one calling out anyone and everyone he could. Fast forward to the present, and now he is plotting each move he makes. When you reach the pinnacle of success, you don’t want to be taken down from it. How many post-fight interviews have you heard this exact example? A world-class fighter is asked, ” Who do you want next?” The answer usually is some form of the following:
- I need to speak with my team.
- I will talk to Al Haymon and see what he thinks is best.
- I am going to enjoy this win and spend time with my family.
Does this sound familiar? It is a classic ruse to avoid answering what the pertinent question was asking and one that makes sure not to give a name. No fighter wants to get trapped into thinking he only has one option. Boxing is a business, and all business decisions need to be kept on the table. Errol Spence Jr. is different though. He has reached the game’s apex but still is as hungry as ever. He is speaking for every boxing fan when he demands the contest right this second. Spence’s persistent tone has backed Thurman into a corner, and rest-less boxing fans are jumping onboard.
Then why is a 2019 fight better?
Despite all the reasons mentioned above, a fight in 2018 would be the wrong move for all parties involved. Trust me, Keith Thurman is not scared, but some significant factors are playing against him for a battle this year. Thurman is coming off of elbow surgery and has only fought twice since 2016. Any rationale fighter isn’t going to take on the biggest fight of his life when he isn’t prepared to do so. Both Thurman and Spence fans need to understand this. If I were a Spence fan, I would want him to face Thurman at Thurman’s highest peak level. We don’t want an excuse to be made for why either guy won or lost the fight. Right now isn’t the time for this fight. Thurman needs to get healthy, comfortable and work out all ring-rust first. Spence is 28-years-old, and Thurman is 29-years-old. The two men will be in their prime for the foreseeable future. Let’s not make the same mistakes of getting anything less than a top-notch performance from each. We want no excuses this time around when deciding who the best pound-for-pound fighter is.