In anticipation of Saturday’s fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, between WBA World welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs), the knockout artist from Clearwater, Florida, and WBA #2 ranked Shawn “Showtime” Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs), the dynamo from Las Vegas by way of Akron, Ohio, the fighters recently met with the press via teleconference call.
Both fighters are articulate. Both men can fight. Thurman is coming off a long layoff due to injury, but says he is as good as ever.
“It’s just the way that the chips fell, man,” said Thurman. “You know, me and Shawn both could have probably put another performance in. But we’re happy to be making, instead of just a normal performance, putting on a great performance, even if we both had to wait for it. We’re both really getting what we wanted out of this fight. It was worth the wait. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had injuries several times throughout my career. My biggest layoff was about 14 months. I’ve had plenty of time to recover from my accident, get back in the camp and do what I need to do to perform for you guys on this 25th.”
Thurman and Porter have known each other since they were kids and consider themselves friends. But when the bell rings to commence hostilities, all bets are off.
“We do know each other very well,” Thurman said. “It has been a little while since we’ve seen each other. And we’ve never seen each other under the bright lights. I expect to see the Shawn Porter I know. To be really honest, there’s an extremely just super-cool factor that, you know, I remember this dude when he was a teenager. He remembers me when I was a teenager. We didn’t change up our game plan from the first training camp into this training camp. We stuck with the same game plan. You know, we gave ourselves enough time to get in shape. That was really the most important thing, to assess with my doctors how quickly I could recover and get back in the conditioning to be prepared for this fight.”
Thurman is a thinking man’s fighter. He relies on brain as much as brawn. He is always looking for the knockout, but he fights within himself and takes chances only when the odds are in his favor.
“If people want to move forward, I’ll move backwards,” he said. “If they want to move backwards, I move forwards. I go with the flow of the match. I do what I think is necessary to win. The key to victory is to not let your opponent have his way, whatever way that is. Don’t let your opponent have his way. But I like to stay open-minded and just see what presents itself in the fight. I’ve been doing this for a long time. But obviously someone is going down and I would like for it not to be left to the judges.”
With Mayweather and Pacquiao no longer fighting, at least until further notice, those with royalty on the brain are eager to crown a new king of the welterweight division.
But Keith Thurman isn’t buying it.
“Everyone is talking about the new king, the new king, the new king, the new king,” said Thurman. “It’s not like there was a successor lined up waiting. There’s work to do. Mayweather is gone. Pacquiao is gone. I’m not a big fan of what I call the Mayweather shadow. Mayweather’s legacy has casted a shadow over the 147-pound division. Mayweather was at the top for over a decade, and you want somebody to replace him but it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s really going to take almost another decade. You need to really see who’s going to be the top dog for the next three to five years. We are the next generation in my opinion. The young generation has got a lot of work to do before there’s a king involved on top of any of our names. But I look forward to the journey and the process.”
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.