With Floyd “Money” Mayweather officially retired there’s a huge vacancy at the top of the welterweight division.
If WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and former welterweight champ “Showtime” Shawn Porter have their way, the winner of their June 25 blockbuster matchup will be considered the best 147-pound fighter in the world. Their showdown has been inevitable and highly anticipated by boxing fans, since both fighters are signed under the Premier Boxing Champions promotional banner ran by Mayweather’s former adviser Al Haymon.
Unlike most high profile boxing fights, the 27-year-old Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) and the 28-year-old Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) showdown to stake their claim as the future of boxing will be on the CBS Television Network instead of pay-per-view. This will the first primetime boxing event on CBS since Muhammad Ali lost to his heavyweight title to Leon Spinks via split decision on Feb. 15, 1978.
For the power punching Thurman, the fight will put him on the biggest stage of his solid career and give him a grand opportunity to show the world why he’s considered one of the best fighters in the world:
“I would have to say this is the biggest fight of my career. Up until this point the biggest fight of my career was when I fought Robert Guerrero head lining the first fight on NBC, now we are here opening and premiering on CBS. Like I said, it’s been close to 40 years since they had a fight in primetime so this is definitely the biggest fight of my career. Guerrero was ranked under me at No.8 in the world and depending on who you ask he might be a little higher. But Shawn Porter the last time I checked was ranked No. 6 in the world, so he is the highest fighter that I ever faced to this day and it will be a terrific fight.”
For the WBA champion to keep his belt, he must use his technical prowess to impose his will on Porter, while using his stiff right-hand jab to control the pace and dictate the terms of the fight.
If Thurman is able to successfully defend his belt for a third time and keep his undefeated record in tact after facing Porter, he will be on course for a major championship unification fight against WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia this summer which he’s very eager for.
“The biggest fight for me and the American fight fans right now is Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman versus Danny Garcia.,” Thurman recently said via World Boxing News. “Not only is it a tremendously big fight, but the winner of the fight gets to hold two titles at 147.”
On the other side of the ring, Porter is a former IBF champion who is chomping at the bit to become a two-time welterweight champion of the world.
Since losing his belt by dropping a majority decision to current IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, Porter has bounced back with a fifth-round knockout of Erick Bone in March of 2015 and scored what many considered an upset victory over then three-division world champion Adrien Broner last June.
The aggressive, come-forward fighting Porter, will once again be an underdog who will be doing his best to impose his bully style tactics on Thurman. If Porter wants to become a two-time champion, he will have to make this an ugly non-technical fight which better suits his style of fighting.
“I’m very confident in my ability. That’s why I’ve been looking forward to this fight because I’m someone who can beat Keith Thurman,” Porter said. “Nothing about Keith really makes me nervous.”
Just like Thurman, Porter knows he must find a way to win this crossroads showdown if he wants to be considered one of the best welterweights of this era.
As many boxing experts and fans are looking at the fight as a career defining one for both fighters.
“This is supposed to be a legacy fight,” Porter said “As our careers have gone forward we could see this collision course coming. This is all about being the best as there’s no beef, but at the same time let me tell you when we get in the ring we aren’t going to have a problem letting our hands go.”