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Showtime trying to make Danny Garcia vs. Thurman at start of 2017

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Showtime boxing head Stephen Espinoza is trying to line up a welterweight unification shootout between WBC champ Danny Garcia and WBA titleholder Keith Thurman for the first quarter of 2017, Espinoza told on Thursday.

The network executive said both titleholders want the fight and a deal shouldn’t be hard to make. An exact date and venue are still up in the air. They are both advised by Al Haymon.

“More than anything, Danny and Keith are trying to make that fight happen,” Espinoza told The Ring. “Really, the key to making a fight quickly is when both of them want the fight and they’re both focused on it. I think it sort of feels like the natural fight to happen as quickly as possible.”

Espinoza said Thurman (27-0, 22 knockouts) will likely be out for the rest of 2016 with cuts sustained in his grueling, highly competitive unanimous decision win against Shawn Porter on June 25 at Barclays Center. Garcia (32-0, 18 knockouts) is in talks to face former titleholder Andre Berto in either September or October.

“With the cut and the recovery, he’s looking to go early next year,” Espinoza said of Thurman. “I don’t think (he’ll fight in 2016). Ultimately it’s Keith’s decision but I certainly wouldn’t blame him at all after a tough 12 rounds and stitches if he came back in the first quarter of next year.”

Thurman has been ordered by the WBA to face his mandatory David Avanesyan. Both camps had 30 days from July 14 to reach a deal or a purse bid will be ordered. Thurman’s mandatory defense was due last December and it’s not clear if he would face Avanesyan before he takes on Garcia or if a deal would be reached to put off the fight.