WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder is not the only big name who will likely be out of action for the rest of the year due to injuries picked up in the ring. According to Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza, WBA welterweight king Keith Thurman will probably rest up for the remainder of 2016, so as to allow the cuts he picked up in his tremendous war with Shawn Porter to heal. And as gruelling and as draining as the June fight was for both winner and loser (there really was no “loser” in the FOTY candidate) a good break would not be a bad idea for both Thurman and Porter.
But, as Espinoza told RingTV.com, Thurman could be back with a massive fight in 2017: a unification fight with WBC welterweight ruler Danny Garcia. While “One Time” will live up to his nickname by having fought just one time this year, Garcia is reportedly in talks to face former champ Andre Berto in either September or October. A possibly risky fight for Garcia, who is unbeaten like Thurman, the rumble with Thurman would ideally come next should “Swift” get past Berto okay.
“More than anything, Danny and Keith are trying to make that fight happen,” Espinoza told the website of The Bible of Boxing. “With the cut and the recovery, he’s (Thurman) looking to go early next year. I don’t think (he’ll fight again in 2016). Ultimately it’s Keith’s decision but I certainly wouldn’t blame him at all after a tough 12-rounds and stitches if he came back in the first quartet of next year.”
It’s great that Garcia, 32-0(18) and Thurman, 27-0(22) want to fight each other, that’s half the battle, if not more, in making a great fight these days – the only possible snag (aside from Berto ruining things by upsetting Garcia) is the fact that David Avanesyan, last seen out-pointing a 44-year-old “Sugar” Shane Mosley, is Thurman’s mandatory challenger. Interim WBA champ Avanesyan is in line to fight Thurman, and if the WBA forces the issue, we might have to wait a while until we get to see Thurman and Garcia go at it. It would be a massive upset if Avanesyan were to defeat Thurman – a far bigger upset than it would be if Berto were to derail Garcia – but anything can happen.
In the interest of making the biggest and best fights, and for those fans who love a unification battle, it is to be hoped nothing stops Thurman and Garcia from fighting next year. This one is a genuinely 50-50 match-up. Could we even get a fight as good as the classic Thurman and Porter gave us?