Call it manufactured beef.
Former welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman believes that WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. would be more willing to face him inside the ring if the media was not so insistent on bringing up the matchup in every interview.
The Desoto, Texas-based Spence has made it clear he wants nothing to do with Thurman, going so far as to call the Florida native a “cornball” in a recent interview.
“Man, I don’t want anything to do with Keith Thurman,” Spence told Barbershop Conversations last month. “That ship has sailed. That ship's been gone. I don’t want anything to do with that man. He’s messing with me. He’s still a good fighter. He could still fight. I don’t really have any interest in it…I don’t pay attention to it. He can fight [Yordenis] Ugas. He ain't going to get a fight with me…It’s just how he is. He’s just a cornball to me. I just can’t stand him.”
Why the animus? Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) pointed the finger at the gaggle of reporters who constantly badger Spence about fighting him, as if nothing Spence does is good enough. With victories over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) is the most accomplished fighter in the welterweight division. He will add to his resume when he takes on Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) in a pay-per-view showdown on Aug. 21 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Why is Errol so mad?” Thurman told FightHype.com “Why is he guzzling down hatorade? Straight chugging it. I’m like, look, bro, beef is beef.
“I’m trying to really understand what I did to this boy, because I know I ain’t do nothing. You wanna know the problem? You’re [FightHype] the problem, you and everybody else. It’s the interviews. No matter what this boy has done in his career he can’t get past, ‘What do you think about Thurman?’ And he can beat Pacquiao, and you know what the next conversation he has to hear? ‘Are you going to fight Thurman?’
Once upon a time it was Thurman, 32, who was leading the charge in the welterweight division and Spence, 31, was just an upstart. The tables have turned since then, especially after dropped a decision to Pacquiao in 2019.
“I think he really hates that he was in the ’12 Olympics, that I had a little bit of a gap before him to make a name,” said Thurman. “He’s beaten who I’ve beat, stopping people. Knocking out [Leonard] Bundu to make a statement. But no matter what statement he makes, the next questions is, ‘So what do you think about Thurman?’
“I feel like that can make you juggle down some motherf------ hatorade, OK?”
Thurman has not fought since the loss to Pacquiao.