By John J. Raspanti
On June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman and former champion Shawn Porter are set to let their fists prove who is the better fighter.
Thurman, 27, is undefeated in 26 fights, scoring 22 knockouts. He was last seen in the ring 11 months ago notching a difficult win over Luis Collazo. Many remember not the fight itself but the vicious body blow that Thurman survived.
Porter, 28, easily defeated garrulous Adrien Broner last year by unanimous decision. Broner was heavily favored to win (not this writer) but Porter’s aggressiveness and strength were to much
for Broner to overcome.
Thurman’s most impressive victory to date is his points win over gutsy Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Thurman, combining speed and power, sent Guerrero to the canvas with a tremendous shot to the noggin in Round eight. Guerrero rallied late in the fight, but Thurman cruised to victory. Thurman sparred with Porter a few years ago. He senses that experience alone well help him in the ring.
"The fact that I even know how Shawn’s punches feel like, I know what it’s like to go up against his speed, his timing, his athletic abilities, the fact that we are already familiar with one another and we’re bringing that into the ring - it should actually make both of us feel more confident because there’s not a lack of not knowing,” Thurman told www.badlefthook.com a few days ago.
Porter defeated Devon Alexander to win the IBF strap in 2013. He knocked out Paulie Maligning a year later and then faced talented Kell Brook in Carson, CA. Porter pushed Brook as hard as he could, eventually losing the match by a few points. Porter respects Thurman, but feels he has the tools to defeat him.
”I think he can do some things,” said Porter in an article last week by Zachery Alapi of the living daylights.co. “He can box very well. He throws good off balanced shots. I can box as well, but I have the pressure, quickness, foot speed and hand speed that it takes to not only outbox him, but to pressure him and hurt him.”
This is a classic 50-50 fight. Thurman hits harder and has faster hands. Porter is stronger and very determined. Thurman’s defensive flaws could be a problem if Porter gets inside. Thurman is a good athlete, but Porter, a former star running back in high school, has quick feet.
I predict a see-saw battle with Thurman edging Porter-- and bragging all the way home to Florida.
This highly anticipated showdown headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® on CBS presented by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) with televised coverage starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
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