Keith Thurman (“One Time”) will defend his 147-pound world championship title against former champ Shawn Porter (“Showtime”) Saturday night. It’s not just his title on the line, he said during Thursday’s final press conference, his career is on the line, as well.
The highly anticipated matchup will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and will air on CBS at 9 p.m. ET. It will be the network’s first televised primetime boxing match in 38 years — since Leon Spinks defeated one of Thurman’s idols, Muhammad Ali.
This fight is a little different than any other for Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs). He is very familiar with his opponent, Shawn Porter ( 26-1-1, 16 KOs). The two consider themselves to be good friends and go way back to their amateur days when they both only dreamed about being where they are now. However, Saturday night, friends will become foes as undefeated Thurman seeks to hold his place at the top and Shawn Porter attempts to take Thurman’s zero along with his title.
Keith Thurman is focused on getting the knockout. “Fans want to see the best fight the best” and they want the knockout, according to Thurman. That’s exactly what he promised his fans after today’s final weigh-in.
“The boy’s going to sleep,” he warned in a Facebook post along with a short video clip of him making his plan very clear.
After almost a year out of the ring, Keith Thurman told the New York Magazine that he’s ready “to put somebody out.” If it has to be his old friend Shawn Porter, then so be it — that’s what happens in boxing.
“You know, I’m kind of itchy to put somebody out. Out cold. Too bad it has to be Shawn, but that’s the way the chips crumble.”
While Keith has nothing personal against Shawn Porter, that’s not quite the case when it comes to his opponent’s dad and trainer, Kenny Porter. Thurman hasn’t forgotten some of the negative comments and accusations Kenny has thrown out leading up to the fight.
The battle between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter was originally scheduled for March 12. Thurman was forced to reschedule after being in a car accident in his hometown of Clearwater, Florida, that resulted in a neck injury requiring six weeks of recovery time.
When Kenny Porter got the news that Keith Thurman had to postpone, he demanded proof of the injury, implying that Keith was faking it. That didn’t sit well with the Thurman camp.
“Kenny has said some things that were disrespectful, so I’ll have to get at him by hurting his son.”
Keith Thurman told Complex Sports there will be love for Shawn Porter outside the ring, but Saturday night friendship won’t mean anything.
“I’m fighting a colleague. A friend. But him, like myself, we are gladiators. And as gladiators, I’m going to have respect for him. Outside of the ring I’m going to have love for him. But June 25th, inside that ring I’m not going to care one thing about him. I’m going to attack him the way he’s going to attack me. I’m going to treat him just like I treated 26 other people before him. That’s why I told him at the press conference that he better be prepared to go to sleep. I’m coming to knock him out. That’s what I do as a fighter and fighting a friend is not going to change that.”
Keith Thurman’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, believes that Thurman “is the most gifted guy in boxing right now,” as he stated at the press conference.
He told the Los Angeles Times, “Keith’s an all-around better fighter [than Porter], a better puncher, more gifted in his attack. He’s going to set [Porter] up and get him out of there.”
“He knows his fans want to see blood, guts, and knockouts and that’s what he creates,” Dan said.
What are your thoughts? Will Keith Thurman deliver the knockout he promised, or will Shawn Porter hand Thurman his first loss?
[Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images]