Thurman vs. Porter: Pennies from Heaven

By Robert Ecksel on May 3, 2016
Thurman vs. Porter: Pennies from Heaven
“This is going to be one of those fights that we’ve looked forward to since we were kids.”

“These are two of the most interesting guys in boxing. These are two of the smartest and most cerebral fighters…”

Some fights are special going in. With complimentary styles, comparable skill and ambition, some fighters seem made for each other.

On Saturday, June 25, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), the ninja from Clearwater, Florida, will defend his WBA World welterweight title against former IBF World welterweight titlist Shawn “Showtime” Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs), the whirlwind from Akron, Ohio, over a scheduled 12 rounds.

The bout was originally scheduled for March 12, but was postponed when Thurman was injured in a car accident.

Thurman had his pro debut in 2007. Now twenty-seven years old, Thurman won the interim WBA title in July 2013 by knocking out Diego Chaves in the 10th round. Undefeated and hard-hitting, “One Time” successfully defended his belt three times before being elevated to regular champion status in January 2015. He’s twice defended his regular title, first against Robert Guerrero that March, winning by unanimous decision, then against Luis Collazo four months later, retiring him in the seventh.

His 28-year-old opponent is an eight-year ring vet who won the IBF title in December 2013 by beating Devon Alexander via unanimous decision. Second-ranked by the WBA, “Showtime” defended his title against Paulie Malignaggi in April 2014, winning by fourth-round TKO, but lost it four months later to Kell Brook, who won by majority decision. Porter has fought twice since, knocking out Erick Bone in the fifth last March and beating Adrien Broner by unanimous decision three months later.

“I made you wait,” said Thurman to his fans at a recent press conference, “but it’s worth it. We took six weeks off after my accident, with three days a week of physical therapy. I was relaxing at home. I didn’t like it. As a fighter, I wanted this fight as bad as the fans wanted this fight. This isn’t just the biggest fight of my career. It’s the most anticipated fight of my career. Sometimes it pays to add some drama to the game.

“New York is a fight town. My favorite fighter of all time, Mike Tyson, is from Brooklyn. It wasn’t our intention, but I think it worked out. June 25, my friend is about to become my enemy. I’m going to treat him like any other enemy. This is a tremendous fight, arguably the best matchup of the year. This is going to be a fight you don’t want to miss. This is going to be a knockout you don’t want to miss. I love you Shawn, but I’m doing my best to put you to sleep.”

Thurman and Porter go way back and they’re finally going to go toe-to-toe.

“I wasn’t surprised to hear Keith say he would knock me out. He has to pump himself up and be confident. When he looked at me, I think he was trying to convince me that he was being real and I was looking at him to find out if he was convinced. He may think he’s going to knock me out, but he’s not. I’m going to do everything it takes to beat him and make it look easy. This is going to be a big fight, one of those fights that we’ve looked forward to since we were kids.

“Keith Thurman will be bringing out the competitiveness in me to a level I’ve always wanted. It’s a level I expect. I have a guy next to me who is challenging me more than ever. He’s a fighter that has the heart of a lion just like I do. I expect this to be a fight to the finish. He’s a cutthroat kind of fighter. I know that. Keith Thurman and I are going to put on a show.”

Truer words were never spoken.

“This is the best that boxing has to offer,” said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment. “Keith Thurman versus Shawn Porter could very well be the Fight of the Year. Aside from being two of the very best in their weight class, these are two of the most interesting guys in boxing. These are two of the smartest and most cerebral fighters. This is why I’m in boxing. This is why we’re all in boxing. This is on nationally, it’s free, over-the-air television and I think it’s great. We want as many people as possible to watch this fight. We want to expose people to the best our sport has to offer.”

The co-main event will feature Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) defending his WBA World featherweight title against former three-division champ Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs).

The fights will air live on CBS.

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