With the Abner Mares vs. Jesus Cellular fight canceled, most of the fans were here for 1 fight and 1 fight only, the main event, Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0 with 22 KOs) vs. Shawn “Showtime” Porter (26-1-1 with 16 KOs). The fight was scheduled for 12 rounds and it was for the WBA World Welterweight Title. The winner of this fight would prove they not only belonged near to the top of the welterweight division, but possibly at the top.
As round 1 started, the crowd was as loud as I’ve heard the Barclays center, maybe ever. Both guys didn’t really do the typical, take it slow early, approach. Thurman and Porter both threw bombs early and often. Porter was slightly more aggressive, but Thurman seemed to land the cleaner shots. It was a good 1st round for both men and it could have gone either way.
In round 2, Porter continued the aggression. He was able to trap Thurman on the ropes multiple times and in my opinion, clearly won the round, in pretty soundly fashion. Round 3, Thurman seemed to go in to attack mode. For the 1st time he was coming forward in the fight. He was landing pretty well, but was once again turned against the ropes a minute into the round. Both men were caught with hard shots at the end of the round that seemed to stagger both guys.
With round 4 about to begin, whether you had it 2-1 Porter or 2-1 Thurman, the fight style was in Porter’s wheelhouse. There was a lot of dirty boxing, pushing against the ropes, and no room to breathe between punches. Thurman continued to come forward for the 2nd straight round, caught Porter with a wild left hook that seemed to hurt Porter, but he seemed to recover pretty quickly. He landed a couple more hard shot to make this a very strong Thurman round.
There was a little bit more aggressiveness from Porter in round 5, but Thurman was able to move around the ring beautifully, not getting trapped too long against the ropes like he was earlier. Both men to this point had taken solid shots and both were proving to have a pretty good chin, but Porter swinging so wildly was getting him off balance and out of positions to setup Thurman counters. Overall it was another even round that could have gone either way.
Rounds 6 and 7 were littered with hard body shots by both men that seemed to be laying the groundwork for a fantastic finish. However, as I said earlier, that is Porter’s type of fight and to the naked eye it looked like Porter was slightly up in the fight. In my opinion, after 7, this was a 5-2 or 4-3 type of fight toward Porter.
Round 8, Thurman began to dance around the ring, a lot, to the point where he got some boos. Porter was clearly the aggressor and chased and caught Thurman more times that Thurman probably would like. As they started round 9, it was more of the same of Showtime Porter. His relentless, pitbull style attack was bothering Thurman. After the round, cards on media row seemed to be all over the place with some having Porter up 3 rounds and some having Thurman up 3 rounds. This judging is obviously going to be interesting.
Porter seemed to take the 1st half of round 10 off, which likely cost him the round, but as with other rounds, the last 30 seconds was a thing of beauty to watch. The back and forth was unbelievable. As the 2 warriors moved onto round 11, Thurman began moving back, but counterpunching with hard hooks. Close round, much like most of the previously ones, Porter the more aggressive guy, but Thurman landing the harder, more crisp, shots.
As the 12th and final round was about to begin, both men received a, well-deserved, standing ovation of the raucous Brooklyn crowd. Both Thurman and Porter left it all out there and both looked completely drained by the time the final bell had rung. In my opinion, I had Porter winning 115-113, but I thought this one had split decision or draw written all over it. The judges decided by unanimous decision by the scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 115-113 that Keith Thurman was still the WBA World Welterweight Champion. He crowd boo’d the decision, but it was a close, great, fight either way.