Errol Spence and Keith Thurman are finalizing a deal for a PBC on PPV fight that is expected to take place in April, sources told ESPN.
Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) holds three of the four major titles at welterweight, but this matchup will take place at junior middleweight, sources said. WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told ESPN that he granted Spence a special permit to fight outside the weight class without relinquishing his 147-pound title (he also holds the IBF and WBC belts.)
Spence will have 60 days from the fight, Mendoza said, to close a deal for a long-awaited undisputed welterweight championship bout with Terence Crawford (they were engaged in negotiations last year). If not, Spence must defend his 147-pound title against the winner of the postponed WBA "regular" title fight between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Eimantas Stanionis. Spence, 32, could also decide to campaign at 154 pounds moving forward.
The junior middleweight division is short on name recognition outside of Jermell Charlo, the undisputed champion who shares a trainer with Spence in Derrick James.
ESPN's No. 4 pound-for-pound boxer, Spence hasn't competed since a ninth-round TKO victory over Yordenis Ugas in April. Spence fractured Ugas' orbital on his way to adding a third 147-pound title. The bout was Spence's first since he underwent surgery to repair a detached retina. It was his second fight since he was involved in a serious car crash that hospitalized him in October 2019.
Spence was involved in another accident on Dec. 10 in the Dallas area when his SUV was hit head-on by an underage unlicensed driver who ran a red light. Spence later said he suffered a leg injury. In a Dec. 30 tweet, Spence hinted that he would return to the ring in April.
Spence has said time and time again that he would never fight Thurman because the veteran boxer didn't give him a title shot years ago. He reiterated that stance in April when he tweeted "Thurman, not fighting that man ... [he] wouldn't utter my name when we was both champs."
Spence competed in the 152-pound weight class in the 2012 Olympics and made his pro debut weighing 149 pounds later that year. Before he won his first world title, Spence scored an eight-round stoppage of Chris van Heerden in 2015 and weighed 156.5 pounds.
He went on to capture the IBF welterweight championship with an 11th-round KO of Kell Brook in 2017 and has made six defenses. He's ESPN's No. 2 boxer at 147 pounds.
Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) is rated No. 7 by ESPN at welterweight. The 34-year-old from Clearwater, Florida, ended a 31-month layoff in February with a unanimous-decision victory over Mario Barrios. The bout was Thurman's first since he suffered a split-decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019.
Thurman made five successful defenses of his welterweight title, including a unification victory over Danny Garcia in 2017. Thurman also owns a decision win over Shawn Porter. (Spence also defeated both Garcia and Porter.)
Thurman is a career-long welterweight but also competed at 152 in the U.S. Olympic trials.