Exclusive: Keith Thurman discusses facing ‘friend’ Shawn Porter, previous sparring sessions
WBA champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman will have a familiar foe opposing him on March 12 when the American makes the latest defense of his welterweight title in Connecticut.
The 27 year-old puts his belt on the line for the third time against former amateur team-mate and IBF title holder ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter at Mohegan Sun Casino and recently spoke to WBN on how the mouth-watering fight came about.
“In reality, we want to fight everybody. Al Haymon knows where my heart is and Al knows every welterweight fighter I have asked to be put in the ring with,” Thurman told World Boxing News in an exclusive interview this week.
“Shawn Porter was someone that I asked for over a year ago. I wanted to fight Shawn Porter as soon as he won the IBF title – before I was ever considered for the WBA title.
“It’s such a good fight to put together that it’s a fight that’s just been waiting to happen. We’ve been waiting on it and the time is now.”
Thurman explained that he and Porter have spent time training together on more than one occasion in the past, dating back to when they were both teenagers on Team USA before turning professional.
“We sparred before as we have stated many times. Shawn Porter came into a camp of mine when I was scheduled to fight Marcos Maidana on my first ever HBO appearance. Maidana pulled out and I had to face a replacement in Orlando Lora. At that time, Shawn Porter was training with me side by side for three weeks, sparring each other three times a week,” he pointed out.
“We also sparred way back when we were amateurs when I had Ben Getty in my corner. On two occasions if my memory serves me well, so Shawn Porter and I go way back. That’s what I tell everybody – he’s a friend of mine, we are like family with one another, but this fight is definitely about business and both of our careers are on the line. It should be competitive.”
Despite going into the fight as favorite, Thurman has full respect for his upcoming opponent as Porter, 28, has lost just once in 28 contests and holds eye-catching victories over Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi to his credit.
“I believe I have the skills to make the difference between me and Shawn, especially when we put on the eight ounce gloves. Shawn has a nice punch himself even though he tends to jump into his punches, but you can ask Paulie Malignaggi what it feels like to get hit by those big left hooks of his.
“It’s a good fight and we are both going to respect each other. We both know what we have to threaten one another and we are both in camp no training for it.
“I know how hard he trains. I know the way his father pushes him as I had his father train me for a week when we were fighting in an international competition (amateur). It was USA against the Ukraine and out of eleven fighters, me and Shawn Porter were the only two Americans to win.
“I can say I’ve never known a fighter the way I know Shawn Porter. I’ve never had to compete, especially on the world stage, against somebody I know so very well,” added Thurman.