On this day, June 25, 2016 two young guns face off to what most are hoping will be the start of a series of challenging match ups at the 147 pound division. Keith “One Time” Thurman, a knockout artist with the potential to end a fight with one punch versus Shawn “Showtime” Porter, a gritty blue collar fighter. The records of both men are impressive given their young careers as Thurman is 26-0 and Porter is 26-1-1 but how will they match up inside the ring?
Thurman is a very athletic fighter with strong hands. I would say after watching both fighters for a while that he’s the more fundamentally sound fighter. He keeps his guard high and works behind quick feet and hands. Rare is it that we find a combination of both speed and power but in Thurman’s case there has been flashes of that throughout his career. Thurman has shown a wide array of punches in his repertoire all with ko potential as he’s managed to stop fights with hooks, jabs, uppercuts both to the body and head. Defensively Thurman is no slouch as he fully utilizes his athletic ability able to slip the majority of hard punches thrown back at him. He has a more traditional guard with his chin tucked and ,thanks to his quick hands, has shown the potential to be an effective counter puncher which makes him extremely dangerous in the ring. For a young fighter Thurman seems to be fully aware of his capabilities as both a knockout puncher and effective counter puncher however if there is one flaw in his attack it’s his reluctance to build behind the jab. With his quick hands he is more than capable of firing off jabs that can be effective due to his strength. Unfortunately with a name like “one time” he gets caught looking for that “one punch” and it can lead to fights being made a lot harder than what they should be, especially if his opponent has a strong chin and good stamina. I personally worry about Thurman’s love for power punching, in the fight before last versus former champion Robert ” Ghost” Guerrero, Thurman landed 211 punches the entire fight. Out of that 211 a 172 were power punches. In his last fight according to compubox Thurman landed just 13 of his 137 jabs thrown for a 9% connect rating. Words can’t really describe how bad that is and if there isn’t any improvement in this area from Thurman he will be in for a tough fight tonight.
Porter does not possess the athleticism of Thurman inside the ring. He’s not as slick or fluent in his movement with his offense or defense as a matter of fact in contrast to Thurman he’s far more rugged. But what he lacks in the skill department he makes up for in tenacity and grit. Porter is an in your face type of fighter, he loves to make fights ugly and uncomfortable for opponents. When I say he likes to make fights ugly it’s rare that Porter allows opponents to box by staying on the outside. He seems very comfortable in fighting throwing wild punches and pushing his opponent around. I hate to say it so bluntly but there’s just not much special about Porters offensive or defensive attributes. He’s a solid fighter and has come a long way with his father as his trainer but I don’t think he does anything better than Thurman. However, with that being said the one thing that has always kept him in the fights and allowed him to become a champion is his will. In my opinion Porter has gotten this far by outworking his opponents more so than relying on any type of skill. In the loss to Kell Brooks a few fights ago I think we got a glimpse of what Porter can do when placed in the ring with someone who possesses a little boxing IQ and skill. Porter did not look good in that fight and was beat to the punch by a cleaner and smarter attack. Brooks effectively countered Porter’s aggression with sharp counter punches and footwork. He also dictated the spacing in the ring due to Porter’s inability to walk him down. The fight was close but in the end the victory went to the sharper fighter in Brooks. Many people like to point to the victory over Broner when they talk about Porter but honestly Broner isn’t that skilled of a fighter.
Keys To Victory
For Thurman to win I believe he has to utilize his quick feet and counter punching ability. If he falls in love with the power punches and gets himself tired that’s when Porter can capitalize. Thurman possesses all the tools to dispose of Porter in 7-8 rounds max but he’s yet to fully tap into that potential. He loves knock outs and hasn’t realized that they don’t come so easily when you step up in competition. All the skills like power, speed, and footwork favor Thurman so I think he just needs rely on those things inside the ring in unison. Not just speed or power and sometimes his footwork, but rather everything that he possesses at his disposal.
Porter on the other hand has to be the intelligent fighter. This is also something that I worry about a little as I have not seen Porter and his camp execute any other game plan besides out lasting his opponent and overwhelming them with pressure. This tactic will not work this fight. Porter can try it but I honestly would not recommend walking into Thurman punches as a gameplan. It’s not talked about much but the early portion of Porter’s career was at 154 pounds and I believe as an amateur he has fought as high as 160 so it is not like he can’t take a punch. The combination of the speed and power of a clean Thurman punch however can lead to flash knockdowns and if that happens Porter will find himself in an uphill battle that he does not want to participate in. Porter will need to box to score points but also make it the typical ugly Porter fight. I have noted Thurman’s lack of jab accuracy and that can come into play with a guy who likes to come forward and crowd. If Porter can avoid the one timer he shouldn’t have much of a problem in the later rounds from Thurman much like Robert Guerrero did.
Fight and Prediction
Thurman has all the tools and in all honesty a guy like Porter should not be hanging around after rounds 8 and 9 with someone of Thurman’s caliber. Porter to me is just a tough kid and Thurman is the real rising star in the sport of boxing. With that being said, Thurman does not fully utilize all his tools in his fights. He’s been somewhat of a dud for the last year and Porter always gives his best effort and that could be enough. I have the fight starting a little slow with both fighters feeling each other out. I do not expect a display of high skill as these are still two guys finding their way in the game. Thurman always goes for the knockout but he will find himself in his third consecutive fight where quite honestly “one time” will not be enough. This fight will go to the cards with a unanimous decision for Keith “One Time” Thurman
….who will call out Floyd Mayweather and say Pacquiao retired to avoid fighting him!