Thurman Makes Way for Welterweight Flow

By Paul Magno on April 26, 2018
Thurman Makes Way for Welterweight Flow
The stage is set for a Porter-Garcia fight—which should be stellar. (Tom Casino/Showtime)

The Thurman/WBC decision, although not exactly a cure-all for a division still handcuffed by politics to a great extent, is a win for boxing…

We won’t know just how much of Keith Thurman’s decision to vacate his WBC welterweight title came from his own generous sense of fair play and how much came from his feet being held to the fire by the WBC.

“Due to my rehabilitation from my injuries, I agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time,” Thurman said via press release Tuesday. “I continue to rehab my hand and elbow and I look forward to getting back in the ring this summer. This is a temporary setback and I will be the unified champion once again and look forward to winning back my WBC title as soon as possible.”

Whatever the case, though, Thurman relinquishing the belt clears up the logjam at the very top of the welterweight division caused by his assorted injuries. From the neck injury that delayed his bout with Shawn Porter to elbow surgery following his win over Danny Garcia to his most recent hand injury while training for his return to the ring, Thurman has had a division-clogging two-year run of bad health. And while he languished on the sidelines, fighters like Porter and Garcia, who managed to get themselves back into the championship mix while Thurman was away, stayed in suspended animation as they waited on a second crack at Thurman. Worst of all, legitimate superstar-in-the-making Errol Spence was left with no fellow elite-level rival against whom he could be measured and fantasy-matched until their eventual meeting in the ring.

“Keith Thurman unfortunately has suffered two consecutive injuries that have kept him out of the ring after his sensational victory over Danny Garcia and he has graciously relinquished his title, and the WBC has mandated that Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will fight for the title,’’ said WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, also via press release on Tuesday. “Keith will have a direct path to fight for the title once he has healed just as Vitali Klitschko and other WBC champions have done in the past. Keith is a tremendous athlete, champion and role model. The WBC will support him completely during this difficult time.’‘

Now, the stage is set for a Porter-Garcia title fight—and that should be stellar—so that the rest of the division can keep moving forward in Thurman’s absence. One would hope that the winner of that fight would be pushed into facing IBF champ Spence, who will be making a mandatory defense of his belt against Carlos Ocampo in June. More likely, however, will be the possibility that the new WBC champ will be allowed a softball defense while Thurman gets back into fighting shape and can work to get back his title in the first half of 2019.

At the very least, there will be movement towards eventual unification and towards making some of the fights fans should be seeing from a top-heavy welterweight class.

In a dream world, the winner of the upcoming Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford and Lucas Matthysse-Manny Pacquiao clashes will find themselves in the mix as well. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The closest any of those fighters may get to the deepest end of the welterweight talent pool is Amir Khan, who is currently looking for a major roll-of-the-dice win to make up for years of lost ground and/or a cash-out fight for retirement nest egg money.

Fight fans will just have to be happy with what they appear to be getting—and that’s a very good Porter-Garcia match-up, a return to movement at the division’s highest level, and the renewed hope that Thurman or Spence will come around and tie up all loose ends in the not-too-distant future.

The Thurman/WBC decision, although not exactly a cure-all for a division still handcuffed by politics to a great extent, is a win for boxing.

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  1. Pete The Sneak 11:30am, 04/30/2018

    @Mike from Brooklyn…You’re assessment of how the Porter/Garcia fight would probably play out appears to be pretty much on point. It’s certainly not going to be a pretty fight, that’s for sure. However, I still want to see what game plan Garcia (and his father) have to try and curtail Porters persistent bull rushes and how he plans to hurt Porter during all this inside fighting, not to mention these guys don’t like each other much, which should make for some good drama. Certainly not a PPV worthy scrap, but should be interesting…Peace.

  2. Mike from Brooklyn 05:04pm, 04/29/2018

    A couple of you fellows including the writer seem to think Porter - Garcia will be a real good fight.  Just to say that with Shawn Porter and his smothering offense including lots and lots of holding and the ref forced to break the fighters constantly this could be one boring affair.  Danny Garcia doesn’t have the foot speed to box Porter around the ring.  Yeah there will be moments where the gents will go toe to toe but from my seat my guess is a boring affair.  Watch the Brooklyn denizens start booing by the 4th or 5th round.
    Hey it’s only an opinion but this seems like a likelier scenario to me

    Mike from Brooklyn

  3. Balaamsass 07:53am, 04/27/2018

    “Chosen Rosen” already getting anti-Semitic shit thrown at him! What a country!

  4. don from prov 07:20am, 04/27/2018

    “Now, the stage is set for a Porter-Garcia”


    I’d rather it be set for Spence vs. one of the above

  5. Pete The Sneak 06:57am, 04/27/2018

    Agreed. But for Thurman’s vacating the title, we probably would not have seen a Porter-Garcia fight anytime soon…I think a Porter-Garcia fight would be very interesting due to the clash of styles. Curious to see how Danny would handle the bull rushing onslaught and infighting style of Porter over the course of 12 rounds (if it goes that far)...Yes, there is cause to be a bit optimistic for this particular weight class…Peace.

  6. Balaamsass 06:48am, 04/27/2018

    Don’t blame him for a minute…..he needs to be 100% to deal with some of the brutes in his weight class! He’s not fragile but he sure as fuk isn’t a brute like Porter!

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