It what will be known as the unofficial kickoff of what is expected to be a great 2nd half of 2016 for boxing, this Saturday provides something that should satisfy most boxing fan’s appetite. Boxing returns to Brooklyn this weekend as two of the top five welterweights in the world will square off live from the Barclays Center. Premier Boxing Champions will be broadcasting live in primetime on CBS as the undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0 with 22 KOs) defends his WBA World Welterweight title against Shawn “Showtime” Porter (26-1-1 with 16 KOs).
The 27 year old Keith Thurman has not fought in approximately a year, a rare occurrence for a fighter that, just a few years ago, normally stayed very active, fighting 3-4 times a year. The causes for the layoff vary from injuries, normal time off, trying to find an opponent, and a car accident. With all of that in the past, Thurman hopes to show why most people consider him one of the top, if not the top, welterweight in the world.
Shawn Porter is only 28 years old, but his in-ring style makes him looked like a 20 year pro. Porter likes to mix it up, has fought in divisions as big as Super Middleweight, but has framed his body to make him a consistent 147 pounder. Porter wants to prove that he is more than bully that just overpowers and frustrates lighter hitting guys. A win here would put Porter probably in the top 2 of the division what looks to be currently wide open, despite the talent.
Thurman’s best wins Jesus Soto Karass, Leonard Bundu, and Robert Guerrero, not exactly murderer’s row there, but solid competitors that that Thurman knocked down each of them, and lost probably a combined only 2-3 rounds against. Porter is arguably twice as good as any of those guys on Thurman’s resume, so although, Thurman will be the slight favorite, this fight is completely up for grabs as people do not truly know how good Thurman is yet.
Porter’s resume sports a lot better competitors than Thurman has stepped in the ring with. Porter has wins over Devon Alexander, Paulie Malignaggi, and Adrien Broner, who all are as good, or better, than anyone Thurman has faced. He also lost a close decision to Kell Brook, a fight where Porter had some trouble getting inside the much taller Brook. Porter is another, normally active, fighter that also hasn’t fought in a year, due to many of the same reasons that Thurman hasn’t fought.
Porter seems to have problems with taller guys. Fortunately for him, Thurman and he are about the same height and length. This is truly a 50-50 battle and the betting pick would be Porter by decision, but I think Thurman will be able to keep him outside since he has a better jab. For Porter to win, he has to make it ugly and do a bunch of dirty boxing. For Thurman to win he has to use the jab and keep him outside long enough to bank early rounds. With this being said, I’m picking Thurman by decision in the 115-113 range, give or take a round, with a possibility of a knockdown by Thurman.
This fight will kick off what should be a much better 2nd half than 1st half of the year for boxing. With fights like Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton, Kell Brook vs. Jessie Vargas, Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Oleksandr Usyk, and Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, all scheduled for the 2nd half of the year, boxing is just about to kick it into high gear. And with more fights likely to be schedule for this year and early next year, it’s time for boxing fans to sit back and enjoy the fights.