Well before Errol Spence Jr. became a unified welterweight champion and pound-for-pound stalwart, the Dallas native called for a showdown against former WBC and WBA champion, Keith Thurman. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
But, in spite of Spence’s perpetual callouts, Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) continually turned a blind eye to his demands. As time slowly ticked by, Thurman’s refusal to face him left Spence acrimonious. Even now, several years later, the 32-year-old has openly admitted that he has little to no interest in facing his longtime rival.
However, if Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) allows bygones to be bygones and squares off against Thurman in the early months of 2023, former world-renowned trainer Abel Sanchez, is of the belief that not only would Spence win, but he’ll barely break a sweat while doing so.
“Spence beats him,” said Sanchez during an interview with K.O. Artists Sports. “Thurman, for me, had a great beginning to his career. But for some reason, he just hasn't lived up to everybody’s expectations. I think Spence beats him, he could stop him actually.”
As Sanchez alludes to, Thurman, not Spence or current WBO titlist Terence Crawford, was once considered the top dog at 147-pounds. His lofty standing in one of the sport’s more competitive divisions, was seemingly solidified following back-to-back victories over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia in 2016 and 2017.
But since making his way to the summit of the 147-pound landscape, Thurman’s long-lasting battle with the injury bug has led to protracted stints on the sidelines. Over the course of the last five years, the 33-year-old has entered the ring on just three occasions, going 2-1 in the process.
Spence, on the other hand, has seemingly replaced Thurman as the man to beat. In addition to nabbing his first world title in 2017 against Kell Brook, Spence has pilfered two additional championship trinkets in a five-year span. Most recently, the deleterious body puncher successfully unified the division even further against former WBA belt holder, Yordenis Ugas.
Considering Spence’s propensity for rising to the occasion, Sanchez is firmly of the mindset that at this stage in his career, he's simply the better all-around fighter.
“To me, Spence is more of a finisher than Thurman. Thurman, for some reason, when he gets those big fights like that, he just doesn't live up to the expectations.”