Ahead of his clash with ex-US amateur team-mate Shawn Porter, WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman took time out of training to go through his upcoming opponent’s recent form.
The undefeated 27 year-old, who holds an 80% KO ratio through 26 wins, battles Porter, 28, in a highly-anticipated contest on March 12 in Connecticut, which could eventually lead to a massive unification fight in the summer.
Porter himself has held the world title briefly when defeating Devon Alexander in December 2013, before making a successful defence against Paulie Malignaggi four months later. ‘Showtime’ then lost his IBF belt when running into tough Briton Kell Brook in August 2014, suffering the only defeat of his career thus far.
The Ohio favourite has since returned to form with victories over Erick Bone and Adrien Broner, although Thurman pointed out to WBN that Porter’s run against top level opponents can be categorized by those who are fully-fledged welterweights and those who are not.
“Obviously, it doesn’t look like a 140 pound fighter can beat ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter, let’s be honest,” Thurman exclusively told World Boxing News from his base in Florida.
“Let’s look at it, he was IBF welterweight champion of the world, but he never fought at 140. He got the IBF championship of the world from Devon Alexander, who did compete at 140 pounds. You take Devon Alexander, you take Paulie Malignaggi, you take Adrien Broner and none of these boys were actual welterweights. What do they have in common? – None of them were able to defeat Shawn Porter.
“Shawn Porter is a legitimate welterweight, however you want to view it and he deserves to be ranked high at 147 pounds, in my opinion, but all these little guys trying to compete with him…they failed.
“Now, what is Kell Brook? (the man to defeat him) He’s not a little guy. He’s got great height and he’s got great reach for 147 pounds. He was able to hold his ground in the Shawn Porter fight, so eventually he was able to land his punches and start to take over.
“I look at myself a little like Kell Brook. I’m a legitimate welterweight and Shawn Porter is not going to be able to bully me into victory.
“He’s not going to be able to bully the title out of my hands and he’ll have to skilfully achieve it,” he added.
You could probably count on one hand the amount of rounds Keith Thurman has given up during his career, which is the reason why – along with the weight issue, the current welterweight ruler goes into this match-up as the favorite to prevail.
Since the departure of Floyd Mayweather, and now with the imminent retirement of Manny Pacquiao, Thurman is looked upon as someone that can take over their mantle in the division and potentially become the major 147 pound star.
Victory over Porter would go some way to help achieve that goal, although a stunning knockout next month would be an even bigger statement and potentially crown Thurman as the best welterweight on the planet right now.