The Welterweight Division
With Terrence Crawford beating Australian Jeff Horn decisively and in style and ascending to being the man to beat in the illustrious welterweight boxing division, what is there to be said about Keith Thurman"s career?
The Welterweight division is arguably the most competitive in boxing because in that division you have the most athletic, just below average height, slim guys. Slim, athletic guys who are at the same time pack a lot of power and can be as fast as flyweights. It seems no other division has combatants who combine athleticism, coordination, speed, and power the way welterweights do.
The division has produced at least 2 of the indisputably greatest 5 boxers in history: Sugar Rays Robinson and Leonard, and that the division never fails to regularly produce the kind of excitement that makes boxing fans believe that these 2 legends can be matched, if not surpassed, by a regular inflow of current talents, lends great credence to the previous paragraph.
The excitement in the welterweight division now bubbles vigorously as the question arises as to who will be ruling it in about a years time: Crawford, Errol Spence Junior or a very possibly returning, refreshed, and resurgent Keith Thurman.
The drive to unify the division surely exists. Thurman does not seem like the kind of man who would run away to the super-welterweight division in order to avoid fighting Spence and/or Crawford (as some have suggested). That he is actually looking forward to and tactically prepared for the challenge of actually fighting at least one of them is not implausible!
While the legitimacy of the injuries that have forced him out of action have not been factually disproved, recent boxing history is full of cases of high caliber boxers like Thurman using injury and the like to give themselves time to prepare for bigger challenges on the horizon, and Spence, as well as Crawford, are surely a step up in challenge for Thurman if only because their undefeated statuses actually reflect their unquestionable quality level!
This Thurman-Spence-Crawford debate scenario is enough to dominate boxing airwaves and websites until these dream fights can be made. What is more interesting is that all 3 pugilists also have good stoppage records. And it's hard to push aside the major contenders to their status. Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter have the quality to push these top 3 to the limit and possibly dethrone 1 of them. Garcia and Porter, both of whom have previously lost to Thurman, will fight later this year for the WBC title he vacated in April earlier this year. But 'One Time' remains WBC welterweight champion emeritus, and is in good stead to have a rematch with the winner of Garcia vs Porter in order to possibly regain his title upon his return.
In beating Horn, Bud Crawford also strengthened his claim to being the best boxer in the world, pound for pound, a status he almost certainly desires to claim from Vasyl Lomachenko, as his presence at Lomachenko's last fight with Jorge Linares seemed to suggest.
No mistake should be made about doubting Bud's major reason for moving to welterweight. He wants to be seen as the best boxer in the world and of his era. Period!
Information available on youtube.com suggests that Crawford's dominant performance against Horn is putting serious pressure on the previously highly rated Errol Spence Junior. Spence is being criticized for not expressing a strong desire to face Crawford soon in a potentially very big fight that many boxing fans will want to see!. Spence had also been putting a lot of pressure on Thurman, the previous top dog at welterweight. Now he faces the same pressure from Crawford.
In the preferred possible narrative that Keith Thurman does not retire from boxing or move up in weight class to avoid the increasing competition in the welterweight division, but instead wants to face the winner of a potential meeting between Spence and Crawford, we may have a welterweight boxing era on our hands that may surpass that of Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran, if not in quality, then at least in competitiveness, and Crawford's desire to be considered the world's best boxer could be the driver because his welterweight rivals would not easily let themselves be used as his springboard to glory, even if they do not strongly desire to be pound for pound leaders themselves.
The apparent Thurman-Crawford-Spence era seems to have at least one great trilogy in the making. All three men are still young enough to last the next three years if they can match the conditioning of a certain Floyd Mayweather Jnr.