In one corner is a 27-year-old champion who stands 5-foot-7½, has a 69-inch reach and boasts 26 professional victories. His nickname: “One Time.”
In the other corner is a 28-year-old challenger who stands 5-foot-7, has a 69½-inch reach and boasts 26 professional victories. His nickname: “Showtime.”
Now throw in the fact both men compete in the glamorous—and ultra-competitive—147-pound division, and you’ve got what boxing fans would call a dream matchup. Well, the dream comes true—albeit a bit later than expected—when Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) puts his unbeaten record and world title on the line June 25 against “Showtime” Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs).
The highly anticipated 12-round showdown, originally scheduled for March 12, had to be postponed after Thurman suffered injuries in an automobile accident in February. Although the venue and start time have yet to be announced, one thing is certain: The card will be part of a prime-time CBS broadcast.
Both men will be returning to the ring following lengthy layoffs. Thurman last defended his crown July 7, when he stopped Luis Collazo after seven rounds. That came on the heels of a 12-round beatdown of Robert Guerrero on March 7 in the debut PBC event.
Porter is coming off the biggest—and arguably most impressive—victory of his career, a decisive 12-round unanimous decision over former champion Adrien Broner on June 20. In his only other bout of 2015, the Akron, Ohio, native scored a fifth-round knockout of Erick Bone on March 13.
The latter victory followed Porter’s lone professional defeat, that being a 12-round majority-decision setback to still-undefeated Kell Brook in August 2014. Not only did the loss cost Porter his perfect record, but also a 147-pound title that he was attempting to defend for a second time.
While both fighters share a lot of similarities when it comes to age, height, reach and experience, this bout is actually a classic contrast in styles: Thurman is a heavy-handed knockout artist who has been taken the distance just four times, while Porter is a technically skilled boxer-puncher who succeeds by wearing down opponents and staying out of harm’s way.
Which style will win the day come June 25? Not surprisingly, both fighters have different answers to that question.
“I’m excited to be getting ready to take out Shawn Porter,” says Thurman, a lifelong resident of Clearwater, Florida. “I am ready to get back in the ring and bring boxing fans what they’ve been looking for: the top true welterweight champion of the world, the one who is going to take out all competitors one by one. I’m going to show you what a champion looks like.”
Says Porter: “I’m very confident in my ability. That’s why I’ve been looking forward to this fight, because I’m someone who can beat Keith Thurman. Nothing about Keith really makes me nervous.
“I do know that he’s going to be ready for this fight. He’s a fighter who has the heart of a lion just like I do. I expect this to be a fight to the finish. A win over Keith Thurman is what we’ve been waiting for.”