By Charles Jay
One of the more anticipated matchups in the boxing world is in the welterweight division, and it’s set for the Big Apple and on the big tube, which naturally puts it right on a big stage. Keith Thurman is the WBA welterweight champion. Shawn Porter is the former IBF titleholder at 147 pounds. This clash will take place on a CBS telecast that begins at 9 PM ET at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
This fight was originally scheduled for March 12, but Thurman had to postpone after suffering injuries in a car accident. In the meantime, Porter boxed an interesting live streamed exhibition against journeyman Lanardo Tyner in order to stay busy and on schedule.
This is said to be the first prime-time main event televised on CBS since the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks heavyweight championship bout in 1978.
In the boxing betting odds that have been posted on this fight by the people at America’s Bookie, the defending champion. Thurman, is the favorite:
WBA Welterweight Title – 12 Rounds
Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
Keith Thurman -225
Shawn Porter +185
Over 9.5 Rounds -260
Under 9.5 Rounds +210
Thurman (26-0, 22 KO’s) comes out of Clearwater, FL, and has acquired the reputation as a tremendous puncher. He was nurtured as an amateur by the late Ben Getty, and after an amateur career that brought him victories in six different national tournaments, he turned pro and won the WBA interim title with a KO of Diego Chaves in July 2013. He’s got five defenses under his belt, and that includes 12-round decisions over Leonard Bundu and Robert Guerrero. The last fight was a seventh-round stoppage of Luis Collazo which took place last July.
Porter (26-1-1, 16 KO’s) was a rather legendary all-sport athlete in Akron, Ohio, but of course it was in boxing where he made his biggest mark, winning 276 of 290 bouts and capturing a National Golden Gloves title. Though he was undefeated (with a draw against Julio Diaz), he was still relatively unknown to the general public when he faced off against Devon Alexander in December 2013, and he came out of it with a unanimous decision and the IBF title. He was the more aggressive fighter, and highlighted that the next time out when he stopped Paul Malignaggi in four rounds. But he was outboxed, and frankly, outclassed by Kell Brook in August 2014 and lost his title. Truth be told, he was just too hesitant to fire, and found himself “sleepwalking” around the ring too much. He needed some redemption, and got it when he got off the canvas from a 12th-round knockdown to score a clear decision over Adrien Broner last June, putting himself squarely in position for another shot at a championship. Well, here it is.
Will Porter test Thurman’s power? Well, he hit the deck against Broner, and the question has to be raised as to whether Porter’s chin is going to be durable enough, since he is not likely to venture too far out of Thurman’s range. On the other hand, Thurman is not likely to finesse Porter quite the way Brook did, and so we’re not sure Porter will be flummoxed by his opponent’s game plan. Porter has the ability to test the stamina of Thurman, by making him work every second of every round. But he’ll have to be relentless, and that means he’ll have to walk through some pretty crisp punches. It’s a little different when you aren’t in absolute command in a fight, as Thurman has been most of the time, and Porter just might make him uncomfortable enough to make him attractive as the underdog in this one. He’s just got to keep things at close range.