WBC/WBA welterweight world champion, Keith Thurman, is coming off of the biggest win of career after unifying the belts against Danny Garcia. With that win, Thurman has established himself as the #1 fighter at the weight and the first unified champion at welterweight since Floyd Mayweather Jr. Thurman, now 28, has set his sights on getting the rest of the belts in the division, a goal he hopes to move closer to before the end of the year.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Keith Thurman, I discuss with him the fight he always wanted to have in his career, a fight that never happened, a Floyd Mayweather Jr bout. Thurman also talks about Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence and who he would be favoring to win that match-up. Additionally, Keith shares his views on who would win a potential Manny Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan bout. Here is what Keith Thurman had to say.
Jenna J: Earlier in your career you stated that you wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather, but now it appears he’s not willing to fight a legitimate fighter. Are you disappointed you didn’t get to face Floyd?
Keith Thurman: Oh yeah, there were times in my career where I was adamant about trying to fight Floyd Mayweather. There was a moment in my career where I was his mandatory and I earned that position and then I politically got pulled out of that position when he got elevated to what I now currently hold, which is the WBA Super title.
The Super champ is not obligated to fight mandatories, and with that, Floyd Mayweather would only face Keith Thurman if he wanted to face Keith Thurman but he had other fights scheduled and other plans that he had for the end of his career. It is what it is, I believe that when you see that he fought Robert Guerrero, Victor Ortiz and other fighters of that nature, there’s no reason why Keith Thurman shouldn’t have been a legitimate opponent for Floyd Mayweather.
Another reason why I wanted to fight him so much is because he’s a legend and I wanted to create my own legacy in the sport of boxing and one way of doing it is by beating legends. Now that Floyd is retired and has no intentions of coming back into the ring, it’s my job to create my own legacy. The ultimate goal is to one day be the undisputed champion and hold all three world titles.
For now, it is what it is. The disappointment is mild, it’s minute. Everyone who faces Mayweather gets the biggest paycheck of their career, but it wasn’t about the money for me, it was about the legendary status. Now that I don’t have that opportunity, I just have to stay on my grind and create my own legacy.
Jenna J: Keith, there was talk that the WBO belt holder, Manny Pacquiao, would face Amir Khan next but now that fight is up in the air. If that fight were to happen, who would win?
Keith Thurman: It’s interesting, some people think that Amir Khan can’t take a punch, so Manny Pacquiao should be able to stop him or hurt him. Other people would say that it’s a challenging fight for Manny Pacquiao, he’s not that big of an individual and Amir does have the high and reach advantage over him, and Amir knows how to box.
Manny Pacquiao has not faced tremendous boxers throughout his career and when he fought Floyd Mayweather, he wasn’t able to do much at all. Styles wise, some people would favor Amir Khan as long as his defense doesn’t loosen up and Pacquiao doesn’t hit him with a big punch.
It’s an intriguing matchup, it reminds me a little bit of when Amir Khan faced Marcos Maidana, though I would say that Manny Pacquiao does have better boxing abilities than Marcos Maidana, but they are similar in nature and they are both known for being power punchers. The fact that Amir Khan pulled out the Maidana fight, he may pull out the Pacquiao fight, I wouldn’t hold it against him.
Jenna J: What do you think of the bout between Kell Brook and Errol Spence?
Keith Thurman: The best man will win. The funny thing is, Errol Spence is an undefeated welterweight coming up through the welterweight rankings, calling out everybody and waiting for an opportunity like the one he has been granted. I know he’s eager to showcase his skill and his talent to the world and bring the belt back home to the US.
Kell Brook has never ducked or dodged anybody, I don’t think he’s fought a lot of tremendous fighters ranked in the top ten in the welterweight division, but he did move up two weight classes and he got beat by Golovkin. That shows you that he has no fear and he’s willing to fight anybody and he’s willing to fight the best in the world and because the only blemish on his record is to Golovkin, at the end of the day, Kell Brook is still an undefeated welterweight. He has not been defeated by any welterweight in the welterweight division to date.
In my opinion, we are still watching two undefeated welterweights, even though one has a blemish on his record. They both have a lot to prove and it’s going to be a big platform for them to prove it on. I believe it’s Errol Spence’s toughest fight to date. Kell Brook does have good boxing experience, he knows how to hold his own in there, he has good defense, he has good size as a welterweight. It’s an intriguing match-up and I’m interested in seeing the outcome myself, I may even fly out there to be a spectator.