Call it manufactured beef.
Former welterweight title holder Keith Thurman believes WBC / IBF Champion Errol Spence Jr. would be more willing to face him in the ring if the media didn’t insist on bringing the matchup up in every interview .
Desoto, Texas-based Spence has made it clear that he doesn’t want anything to do with Thurman and went so far as to refer to the Florida native as “Cornball” in a recent interview.
“Man, I don’t want anything to do with Keith Thurman,” Spence told Barbershop Conversations last month. “The ship sailed. The ship is gone. I don’t want anything to do with this man. He messes with me. He’s still a good fighter. He could still fight. I have no real interest in it … i don’t pay attention, he can fight [Yordenis] Ugas. He won’t argue with me … That’s just how he is. He’s just a ball of corn to me. I just can’t stand him. “
Why the animus? Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) pointed a finger at the bevy of reporters who keep pressuring Spence to fight him as if nothing Spence does is good enough. With wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) is the most accomplished welterweight fighter. He’ll add to his résumé when he competes against Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) in a pay-per-view showdown on August 21 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Why is Errol so angry?” Thurman told FightHype.com, “Why is he eating hate speech? Just chug. I’m like, look, bro, beef is beef.
“I’m really trying to understand what I did to this boy because I know I’m not doing anything. Do you want to know the problem? You’re [FightHype] the problem, you and everyone else. It’s the interviews. No matter what this boy has done in his career, he won’t come around: ‘What do you think of Thurman?’ And he can beat Pacquiao, and do you know what he’s going to hear next? ‘Are you going to fight Thurman?’
Once upon a time there was Thurman, 32, who led the welterweight indictment, and Spence, 31, was just an upstart. Since then, the tide has turned, especially after a decision on Pacquiao was dropped in 2019.
“I think he really hates that he was in the ’12 Olympics, that I had a small head start to make a name for myself,” said Thurman. “He hit who I hit and stopped people. Knock out [Leonard] Bundu to make a statement. But no matter what statement he makes, the next question is: “And what do you think of Thurman?”
“I have a feeling this can make you downplay a mother —— hate speech, OK?”
Thurman hasn’t fought since losing to Pacquiao.