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Report: Errol Spence, Keith Thurman Finalizing April Junior Middleweight Fight

Doric SamJanuary 10, 2023

Errol Spence Jr. acknowledges fans after defeating Yordenis Ugas, from Cuba, in a world welterweight championship boxing match Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

Unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is reportedly working on his next fight, but it won't be in his usual weight class.

According to ESPN's Mike Coppinger, the three-belt holder is finalizing a junior middleweight match against Keith Thurman for a PBC on PPV event expected to take place in April.

Spence holds the WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight titles. Per Coppinger, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said he granted Spence permission to fight outside the division without relinquishing his belt.

More importantly, Mendoza added that Spence will have 60 days after the fight against Thurman to close a deal for a highly anticipated undisputed welterweight championship fight against WBO titleholder Terence Crawford. The two of them were engaged in negotiations last year before the expected unification match fell through.

If Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) once again fails to reach a deal with Crawford, Mendoza said he will be forced to defend his 147-pound belt against the winner of the postponed WBA "regular" title fight between Vergil Ortiz and Eimantas Stanionis. Coppinger noted that Spence could also choose to move up to the junior middleweight division and compete at 154 pounds permanently.

The 32-year-old is coming off a ninth-round TKO victory over Yordenis Ugas in April, which earned him his third welterweight belt. It was just his second fight since the serious car accident that caused him to be hospitalized in October 2019. Spence was also involved in a car crash last month that resulted in a leg injury, but he hinted that he will be ready to return by April.

Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) returned to the ring last February to earn a unanimous-decision victory over Mario Barrios. It was his first fight since his split-decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019. The 34-year-old is a former unified welterweight champion.