Thurman vs. Porter: Friends turn foes in Brooklyn

By Chris Carlson - 06/23/2016 - Comments

Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman meets ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter this Saturday in primetime on CBS, at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York. This long awaited bout is here at last after a drawn out negotiation process that was side-tracked in February due to injury. Brooklyn will definitely be in the house to witness this step in the right direction at 147. This matchup creates much needed separation at the welterweight division that is up for grabs with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on hiatus.

Keith Thurman is unbeaten but needs a name like Shawn Porter’s to take the next step in his career. Porter has one-loss but has recognizable names on his ledger like Adrien Broner and a competitive fight with fellow Top 5 147-pounder Kell Brook. If Thurman wins he can compare his victory to Kell’s, who is likely to fight Jessie Vargas in September. If Porter wins he may be able to travel overseas in a rematch with Brook in 2017. Whoever gets their hand raised on Saturday night will have several options in the deep pool of talent at 147.

Let’s begin with the time spent out of the ring which is right around a year for both men. Sure in a 14-15 month span each fighter will have fought three times but the long layoff will surely have some affect. The real question is which fighter it affects more. As a come-forward mauler, Porter may take a short time to warm up his engines while shaking out some minor rust. Whereas Thurman will look to do damage on the outside meaning he will depend on being the sharper of the two.

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The fact that Keith will be looking to set traps and use timing on an incoming bull lends itself to being crisp. Porter has been in the gym on a consistent basis since his last outing against Broner June 2015. Judging by interviews done on camera and a few camp pictures, Thurman was a tad husky after the holiday season. Not to mention the six weeks he had to shutdown camp because of a neck injury sustained in a car accident.

Rumors have swirled since late last year about Keith Thurman wanting more money, not wanting the fight, some fans have even been critical about the actual injury and it was sustained. That talked will either be perceived as real if he loses clearly or completely silenced if he’s the victor.

As the saying goes, pressure breaks pipes, a perfect metaphor for the gameplan Ken Porter will implore his son to use. It’s no secret several boxers have had success in the early to mid rounds against Keith Thurman. Jesus Soto Karass, Julio Diaz, Diego Chaves, and most recently Luis Collazo, have all landed significant punches.

Porter will have to find a way to force Thurman on to the ropes, work the body, and land left hooks or overhand rights. If Shawn closes the distance it will defiantly cause problems for his foe whom prefers to be at range.

Porter will need the same jab consistency he had versus Broner and also have an answer for the clinch, something he didn’t show in his 2014 loss to Kell Brook.

Once the rust falls off, Keith Thurman will look to bother Porter with footwork and pot shots on the way in. The jab will as always be important but it may be the left hook that lands hard and sets up his damaging shots.

Thurman’s struggle in first halves of some fights is well documented. He’s also managed to make minor adjustments to find space to punch and inflict punishment to win in the end. This scribe is almost certain the main event will be a pretty darn good scrap with limited moments of sloppiness or slow pace. The PBC really needs this long talked about matchup to deliver, both men posses the power to knock down or knockout their opponent.

The action and activity will favor Shawn Porter in the first half giving ‘Showtime’ an early let’s say 4-2 lead. If Thurman can recoup if hurt early, look for him to land the flashier pot-shots that fluster Porter. Porter is prone to make mistakes offensively while closing the gap and can get caught clean in exchanges. By the mid-to-late rounds Thurman will turn those pot shots into two-punch combos that will draw plenty of noise from the live crowd. He may drop Porter with a left hook or upper cut or will most certainly buzz Porter on his way to a points victory.

-My official prediction is Keith Thurman by Split-Decision

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Side Note: Don’t miss the late afternoon heavyweight title fight between Great Britain’s most popular fighter Anthony Joshua and American Dominic Breazeale live on Showtime. Also, for the hardcores keep an eye out for what should be a closely-contested co-feature between George Groves and Martin Murray. I’m picking Joshua by 5th round knockout and Murray via SD.

Written by Chris Carlson Host of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast. Listen to the latest episode at or Download on iTunes. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio & Visit The Rope A Dope Report YouTube Channel