Keith Thurman And Shawn Porter Deliver Fight Of The Year Candidate

Photos From Esther Lin/Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
Photos From Esther Lin/Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

By Kendrick E. Johnson

Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter frequently talked about going to war similar to how late great fighters Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier did 40 years ago in the pre-fight build up.

In the first primetime boxing event on CBS since Muhammed Ali-Leon Spinks in 1978, the two highly touted welterweights went to war as promised and delivered a Fight of the Year candidate fight which consisted of bell-to-bell action. When the dust finally settled, Thurman edged the former world champion Porter in a close but unanimous decision scored 115-113 by all three ringside judges to retain his WBA Welterweight Championship.

“I want to thank Shawn Porter for a tremendous fight.  He’s a great warrior,” said Thurman after the fight.  “Defense is the key to victory.  He smothers his punches a lot and makes it difficult for the judges to score.  I was able to rock him with clear, effective blows and I believe that was the difference today.”

Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) and Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) combined to throw over 1200 total punches

As “One Time” and “Showtime” delivered as advertised, with the powerful sharpshooting Thurman buckling Porter multiple times, while the swarming and smothering Porter barreled forward to bully Thurman into the ropes.  While there were no knockdowns, the back-and-forth blockbuster never lacked action and culminated in a standing ovation in the second-highest attended boxing event in Barclays Center history.

Despite being disappointed in the decision, Porter is more than willing to go to war one more time with Thurman:

“We worked hard, Keith is a great champion my dad says to keep your head up.  I think I won the fight, but I’m satisfied because the competitor came out tonight. We need that rematch.  I know the fans want that rematch.  If he gives me another chance, I’m going to work hard in the ring and leave with his title.”

The classic fight was a story of accuracy vs. activity, as Thurman landed 50 percent of his power shots, compared to 38 percent for Porter, and 44 percent of his total punches compared to just 36 percent for the challenger.  While Thurman landed at a higher percentage, Porter was the busier fighter, throwing over 100 more punches across 12 rounds.

“I would give him a rematch. It was great fight.,” Thurman said. “He was a great opponent.  Everyone was saying would he be my toughest opponent to date.  I wasn’t able to drop him but I did buckle him a few times