Two of boxing’s top welterweights, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, are set to battle it out for the WBA world title in the year’s most anticipated matchup this Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The event will be carried live on CBS starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Jarrett Hurd vs. Oscar Molina will kick off the broadcast.
“This is, without a question, the fight of the year,” said Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) on a recent media conference call. “And I’m humbled and honored to be a part of that. And I know I’m going to do my job. And I’m going to leave that ring as the new WBA champion.”
Read on for the betting odds and favorite to win, a preview, and a prediction.
Odds and Favorite to Win
Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) enters the fight a slight favorite in Vegas and on online sportsbooks (see numbers below), but this match-up is a real pick’em where the fighter who can adjust best and dictate the action will be the one to walk away with the strap and the deed to the top spot of the 147-pound division.
Let’s take a look at the bookies’ numbers before we meet the protagonists and the prediction:
bet365: Keith Thurman -200 Shawn Porter +162
skyBET: Keith Thurman -187 Shawn Porter +150
BoyleSports: Keith Thurman -175 Shawn Porter +137
sportsbetting: Keith Thurman -250 Shawn Porter +190
Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter: Whose Time Is It?
Two hot-shot, forward-moving aggressive boxer/punchers colliding on the grand stage of primetime network television. Are we looking at a shootout this Saturday in Brooklyn? A tactical chess game? Or a plodding clinch-fest? Stakes are high and the boys may take the careful route, but both Thurman and Porter know the importance of putting on a good show .
“This is an opportunity to showcase our talents and our skills to the world,” Thurman said. “The winner will have an opportunity to be the head guy in the sport. I’ve always wanted to have a legacy in the sport of boxing.”
One of boxing’s biggest punchers and fastest rising stars, 27-year-old Thurman was last in action stopping veteran Luis Collazo via cuts in the seventh round of their July, 2014 encounter. Prior to the Collazo fight, Thurman had outpointed Robert Guerrero, Sierra Leonean, and Leoneard Bundu, and retired Julio Diaz.
Thurman is a high pressure, hard hitting puncher with fight-ending power in both hands. Sporting an impressive 81% knockout ratio, the Clearwater, Florida native is, at once, a feared slugger and a strategizing ring technician.
However, as his level of competition has risen in his recent fights, Thurman has found it more difficult to put away his opponents with the same ease as in the past. And what was expected to be a one-sided showcase for him in his last outing ended up a competitive and intriguing matchup, with Collazo turning up the pressure and giving the up-and-comer one of the scariest moments in his career when he almost knocked him down in the fifth round.
Expect Porter to try to bring that same high-intensity game plan into play this Saturday.
Check out this reel of One Time’s greatest hits:
“I think he can do some things,” said Porter at a recent open workout. “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. I think that’s what makes it a great fight.”
Born in Akron, Ohio, but fighting out of Vegas, Shawn Porter has been on many fans’ must-watch lists in recent years. A powerful, come-forward slugger, the former IBF world welterweight champion made his last ring appearance with unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner in June of last year. Going in to that fight, the 28-year-old Porter had stopped Ecuadorian prospect Erick Bone in a comeback fight after suffering his only career loss to undefeated Kell Brook in August of 2014.
Porter is a complete boxer with an athletic style that fans appreciate but he has shown that he can get bogged down in a game plan and stagnate, letting his opponent capitalize and rack up the points on the score cards– Saturday’s melee may come down to who can adjust their tactics best and impose their skills on the other.
Here’s a sample of Mr. Porter’s work:
An intriguing matchup of power, speed, skill, and athleticism as the welterweight division, and the sport, looks to fill the void left by the retirement of pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
I predict a boxing match. I see Thurman and Porter not charging out of their corners, but opening the fight in the center of the ring and looking to taste each other’s handspeed and power before Thurman establishes his pressure and Porter takes to the perimeter and works off the back foot to counter a stalking Thurman.
Expect a close fight that goes the distance, with each fighter alternating in winning rounds. But I predict ‘One Time’ Thurman to edge ‘Showtime’ Porter on the cards thanks to the one or two knockdowns I see him earning by catching Porter as he tries to move in on him.
Guys’ prediction: Thurman by split decision.