Last March, Keith Thurman defeated Danny Garcia by split decision, to unify the WBC and WBA welterweight titles. Garcia’s father predictably cursed and cried and in general made an ass of himself, but a victory for Thurman was the proper verdict. I would have liked to see Thurman take more chances in the second half of the fight–he made the bout closer than it should have been. But Garcia ultimately did nothing but chase Thurman around the ring. You can argue that you deserve credit for “making the fight” when you didn’t even throw as many punches as your opponent did.
That victory kept Thurman undefeated and earned him a spot in the next round of the great race to rule the welterweight division.
The proper next fight for Thurman is Errol Spence Jr., who defeated Kell Brook over the weekend in. Spence without question deserves to rank at the top of the welterweight division. But does not necessarily deserve to be viewed as the newly crowned king.
That’s because Manny Pacquiao is still out there campaigning, although it is cringe-worthy that he is facing Australian unknown Jeff Horn in July. Last year Pacquiao beat Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas with ease. Those wins did not necessarily prove much aside from that Pacquiao is still a great fighter.
A great fighter should not be facing an inexperienced prospect like Horn.
In a perfect world, Horn will end up being nothing more than a stay-busy fight to prepare Pacquiao for Terence Crawford. Crawford is the true champion at super lightweight and his move to welterweight is inevitable. A clash with Pacquiao is a logical outcome, given that they share a promoter in Top Rank.
The version of Pacquiao that handled Bradley and Vargas last year would still be a challenge for Crawford. But if Crawford can seize the mantle than a showdown with the last man standing among Thurman, Brook and Spence would be a welterweight superfight truly worthy of the legacy established by past champions like Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.