Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on CBS, WBA World welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs), the knockout artist from Clearwater, Florida, retained his title by unanimous decision over former IBF World welterweight champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) the whirlwind from Akron, Ohio.
The final scores were 115-113 across the board in favor of Thurman.
Fighting out of the blue corner in red, white and blue trunks, Thurman was disciplined. Patient and skilled, he picked his shots like a sharpshooter. He controlled the distance. He used the ring. He fought within himself.
Thurman fought as he always fights, only harder.
Porter, fighting out of red corner in black trunks with yellow and red trim, also fought as he always fights. More athlete than sweet scientist, Porter relies less on method than inspiration. He is determined. He is relentless. He throws punches at anything that moves. Using blinding speed and odd angles, he’s a formidable fighting machine.
Win, lose, or draw, he has nothing to be ashamed of. The only thing Shawn Porter lacks is fundamentals.
Both fighters promised a war and they were as good as their word. The challenger crowded the champion. He used his physicality to upset Thurman’s rhythm. But Thurman is fast, fast hands, fast legs, and he is clever. And yet Porter did what Porter does best. He brought it. He made Thurman fight.
With 12,718 in attendance and millions watching at home, Keith Thurman took care of business. An old pro at the age of 27, he’s not fighting creampuffs. Thurman is fighting and winning tough fights.
After the scorecards were read, both men thanked the other for a good fight.
“I want to thank Shawn Porter for a tremendous fight,” said Thurman. “He’s a great warrior. Shawn brought it today. He was on me. But I knew that defense would be the key to victory. He smothers his punches a lot and it’s very difficult for the judges to give him clear scoring.”
Thurman is the most analytical of champions and his analyses always ring true.
“I was able to rock him with clear, effective blows,” added Thurman,” and I believe that was the key to victory today. He’s in tremendous shape and is a tremendous athlete, and I would love to see him in the ring again if he wanted it.”
Porter gave it his all; Porter always gives it his all, but his all was not enough.
“At the end of the day, I’m blessed,” said a beaming Porter after the fight. “We worked hard. Keith is a great champion. My dad (trainer Ken Porter) says to keep your head up. I think I won the fight, but I’m satisfied, because the competitor came out tonight.”
The numbers don’t tell the whole story, but the part they tell is revealing.
Thurman landed 235 of 359 punches thrown (44%) to Porter’s 236 of 662 (36%). Porter was busier. Thurman was more accurate and threw with authority.
It was a close fight, an action-packed fight, and a rematch seems inevitable.
“I would give him a rematch,” said Thurman. “It was a great fight. He was a great opponent. Everyone was saying would he be my toughest opponent to date. I was unable to drop him. I did rock him. He’s a good athlete.”
That was music to Porter’s ears.
“We need that rematch,” he said. “I know the fans want that rematch. If he gives me another chance, I’m going to work hard in the ring and leave with his title.”
The best fighting the best is the lifeblood of the sport and Saturday’s fight was worth the price of admission.
Photos Sumio Yamada
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.