Thurman seeks welterweight supremacy in awaited Porter title showdown
Lee Gormley | June 24, 2016
Keith Thurman v Shawn Porter
- WBA welterweight title fight
- Sunday, June 26th
- Scheduled for: 03:30 BST
- The Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Thurman faces off with Porter in US
Undefeated WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman will defend his strap against Shawn Porter this weekend, with two of the sport’s best fighters at 147 pounds colliding at the Barclays Center in New York for an awaited title showdown.
Florida-born Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) is seeking to cement his position as the division’s main man by successfully retaining his crown in Brooklyn, but Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) poses a genuine threat after bouncing back from his defeat to Kell Brook with successive victories over Erick Bone and Adrien Broner.
It’s ‘One Time’ Thurman that enters as the massive favourite to maintain his unbeaten career and defend the WBA belt, entering the ring in Brookyln at 6/4 with Coral for a 23rd career knockout after outpointing Robert Guerrero to clinch the strap in March last year.
Although, ‘Showtime’ Porter is 5/2 to earn a decision over the title holder, having notched up a 3-1 record against current and former world champions in his last five bouts, making him a threat to Thurman’s throne in the early hours of Sunday morning.
‘One Time’ expects tough test from familiar foe
The 27-year-old reigning champion is fully aware of Porter’s credentials ahead of their mega-fight, with the pair having known each other since they were teenagers and being former sparring partners, so there will be familiarity in the ring come Sunday morning.
“We’ll see how long he’ll be able to try to bully me, possibly, or how many counters he’s going to take before he hears a little voice in the back of his head saying, ‘you shouldn’t have jumped in.’” Thurman stated.
“That’s the point of a counter in the first place. Send a message and make your opponent a little timid. I know Shawn’s going to do his best to be ferocious, but we’re prepared. It’s going to be a great fight.”
The duo’s bout was initially set for March 12th but had to be postponed due to Thurman sustaining injuries from a car crash in his hometown of Clearwater, including whiplash and micro-tears along his spine, and he knows what to expect from his challenger in their rescheduled match-up.
“Shawn’s relentless,” added Thurman, who is 9/4 to gain the decision. “We’ve never seen a fighter put Shawn Porter on his back foot. He’s been hit and backs up a little bit, but he always resets and gets right back to moving forward.”
Porter ready to return to world title glory
The 28-year-old challenger secured a unanimous decision triumph over four-weight world champion Broner in last outing in 2015, following a fifth-round KO of Bone, recovering from his loss to Sheffield’s IBF title holder Brook.
Porter now has the opportunity to return to world title winning ways this weekend and is confident of avoiding repeating the same mistakes he made in that maiden career defeat to Brook two years ago, as he enters proceedings at 6/1 to secure a stoppage win.
“This fight will be much better for me [than the Brook fight],” Porter said. “A lot of things I lacked against Kell Brook I won’t lack again.
“The key thing is being intelligent. I wasn’t intelligent through 12 rounds against Kell Brook. I applied pressure, and I think I won, but it wasn’t enough and it was from a mental aspect.
“I don’t want Keith to control anything; that’s not how I fight. I don’t want him to slow the tempo down, not going to allow him to do that, but I’m definitely not going to rush. It’s all about controlled boxing, controlled aggression.”
Porter’s camp have also highlighted the fact Thurman’s last three fights have been with older opponents as a potential upside, with the champion having collided with Luis Collazo, 35, Guerrero, 33, and Leonard Bundu, 41.
Thurman is so far been undefeated in his career spanning 27 bouts and has been destructive throughout, as he aims for further dominance, while Porter looks to continue his resurgence form that disappointing loss at the hands of Britain’s Brook in this WBA welterweight title showdown in New York.