By the time Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) returns to the ring, he will be inactive for nearly two years.
Thurman was last seen back in March 2017, when he won a twelve round split decision over Danny Garcia at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
He returns the same venue on January 26th, when he defends the WBA world title against Josesito Lopez in a Fox televised bout.
Despite the long stint of inactivity, Thurman still regards himself as the top fighter in the welterweight division.
He considers IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence as the second man at the top of the weight, but says WBO champion Terence Crawford has yet to earn a top spot at 147-pounds.
Crawford, who unified the entire junior welterweight division and captured gold at 135-pounds, made his welterweight debut earlier this year when he knocked out Jeff Horn for the WBO strap, and then retained the belt with a knockout of Jose Benavidez.
In the opinion of Thurman, Crawford has to prove himself further to get consideration as a top player at the weight.
“Keith Thurman No. 1, Errol Spence No. 2 and everything else is debatable,” Thurman said. “I’ve said it many, many, many times, I don’t give ‘Bud’ Crawford any credit at 147 yet. He hasn’t gotten any credentials off of me.”
Thurman also blew off any discussion that a showdown between Spence and Crawford would establish the top fighter at welterweight.
“You can’t have a No. 1 fighter when you have three undefeated champions,” Thurman told Sporting News. “It’s just the dumbest thing in the world. Let’s just be honest. You can’t have three undefeated champions of the world.”
“I mean, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence … that’s a great fight. But Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence and Keith Thurman vs. ‘Bud’ Crawford, I think those are better fights.”