You better not sleep on Errol Spence.
We’re more than two weeks away from a big boxing clash between WBA Welterweight Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and “Showtime” Shawn Porter. The fight will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in what stands to define the careers of each pugilist to this point of their respective careers. Both Thurman and Porter are friends, but they are putting that aside for a payday along with the chance to move up the ladder in the stacked welterweight division. Thurman comes in with a record of 26-0 with one no contest, while Porter will climb into the ring on June 25 with a mark of 26-1-1. And Porter’s one loss was a controversial one as he lost a majority decision to Kell Brook in August 2014 which resulted in the Brook taking the IBF Welterweight Title back to the United Kingdom with him. Each fighter will bring sparkling records to Brooklyn with them, but pretty soon it will be time to put the women and children to bed and get it on.
Both fighters will have to shake off some rust when they square off as this marks Thurman’s first boxing match in 11 months while it will be 370 days from Porter’s last encounter. This contest was scheduled to take place earlier this year until Thurman was involved in a car accident that pushed the fight back, but it will be well worth the wait.
Of Thurman’s 26 victories, 22 have come via the knockout with the last coming in December 2013 against Jesus Soto Karass. Since then the level of competition has increased and Thurman has continued to get his hand raised, but they have not been convincing victories. On March 7, 2015, Thurman scored a unanimous decision against Robert Guerrero. But Guerrero is a seasoned vet who made Thurman work for it as he simply was unable to put him away. However Thurman was dealt some punishment in the fight as well as he took Guerrero’s best combos and was able to stay on his feet.
On July 11, 2015, Thurman fought veteran Luis Collazo in what was expected to be a tuneup for a potential meeting with Porter. However where Thurman was looking to “show off” in front of his family and friends in Tampa, Florida, Collazo came to fight. And when Collazo caught Thurman with a vicious body shot that literally to the wind out of his sail, he was on his bicycle for the remainder of the contest. But Thurman would be bailed out when Collazo claimed to have developed a mysterious cut above his eye which forced him to not answer the bell for the eighth round, and subsequently the bout would be awarded to Thurman.
Overall Thurman has looked a bit lackluster in his last few contests, and if he does that against Porter, he could get his feelings hurt while waving farewell to his title.
At 5’7″, Porter might be slight in stature, but make no mistake about it that he has a brawler’s mentality. Of Porter’s 26 wins as a professional boxer, 16 have come by knockout with the last one coming in April 2014 which all but ended the career of Paulie Malignaggi. Thurman is the fighter who is nicknamed “One Punch”, but Porter is the boxer with more punching power who is looking to inflict punishment on his opponent.
Along with Malignaggi, Porter has victories under his belt against Devon Alexander and Adrien Broner as his punching power is always on the mind of his opponent.
What Thurman must do is find a way to use the ring to his advantage. Porter loves to crowd his opponent and cut off their ability to use the ring. And when Porter does that, he knows that he can unleash with a barrage of power punches. Thurman must find a way to frustrate Porter in the mode that Brook did as he simply grabbed and held Porter as much as possible which took away from his rhythm. Porter isn’t an unblemished fighter as he was knocked down by Broner as his aggressiveness can be used against him, but it is just a matter of Thurman harnessing it. Thurman might have to take some hits against Porter in order to get the effective punches that he’ll need to be victorious, but is he willing to take Porter’s punishment?
To me this contests will be reminiscent of a fight in 2006 between Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah. Each fighter was at the point of his respective career where he would take the next step with a victory. And as Mayweather scored the unanimous decision over Judah, he would go on to make more money that any other fighter in the history of boxing, while Judah developed a reputation of never being able to win the big fight. So only time will tell what paths that Thurman and Porter will take after June 25, but the winner will definitely have the inside track to being the new king of the welterweight division.
When the dust settled this past Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Mayweather Jr. left the ring the same way that he entered; as an undefeated fighter who most people don’t like. And just like the majority of Mayweather’s recent fights, his opponent was the fan favorite. For some people, Manny Pacquiao represented everything that is good and wholesome. And after the fight this past Saturday between the two best welterweights of this era that had been put on the back burner for the past six years, we were able to see them in the same ring as Mayweather emerged with his hand raised in victory. And for those folks that expected to see a slugfest between Pacquiao and Mayweather, they must’ve not paid attention to the previous 47 professional fights that Mayweather participated in.
The MGM Grand was electric at the start of the fight as the crowd oohed and awed at every punch that was delivered from Pacquiao. Everytime that Pacquiao landed a flurry, Mayweather would grab, hold, and kill his momentum like he generally does when he is trouble. Each time that Mayweather would grab Pacquiao, the crowd would show their disdain for the undefeated welterweight. Pacquiao did have moments in the fight where he did have Mayweather in trouble, but nothing that was setup to do real damage. And when it was all over, it appeared to be another boring fight and a waste of money for the folks who watched it in person or bought the pay-per-view. But for Mayweather it was just a typical day at the office.
Mayweather has never and will never be a fighter that stands in the middle of the ring and trades punches with his opponent. If Mayweather was a National Football League team, he would be extremely boring to watch because he would consistently win games by the score of 16-10. Scores like that won’t sell tickets in the NFL, but it does in boxing because of the character that is Mayweather. Mayweather is good at what he does and he doesn’t have a problem telling people about it whether they want to hear it or not. Mayweather doesn’t have a problem being the villain as he knows that most people want to see him taste defeat which is a good reason why the atmosphere tends to be crazy around his bouts.
In 2005, Mayweather would defeat fan favorite Arturo Gatti to win the WBC Junior Welterweight Championship. And when Mayweather fought Zab Judah in 2006 for the vacant IBF and IBO Welterweight Titles, you knew that the winner of that bout would see their boxing career take off as Mayweather was the one that would emerge victorious. When Mayweather defeated the “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, it marked a changing of the guard as far as who was now boxing’s biggest box-office attraction and Mayweather hasn’t looked back since. In the aftermath of not fighting Pacquiao, Mayweather would take the time to meet Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the ring in September 2013. Alvarez was De La Hoya’s protege and he carried the mantle for everyone that wanted to see Mayweather fall. But Alvarez’s hopes just like the previous 44 opponents that touched gloves with Mayweather before him were dashed as the cagey veteran was too much for the young lion.
Mayweather promotes his own fights as he only answers to Al Haymon and he doesn’t have a problem in letting the world know that he has the juice as it is all about “The Money Team”.
Leading up to the fight with Pacquiao, Mayweather wasn’t talking as much as he normally does and to some people he looked “scared”. But when the judges rendered the unanimous decision in Mayweather’s favor over Pacquiao, the outspoken one didn’t have any problem letting everyone in attendance at the MGM Grand know that he won in spite of the fact that they wanted him to lose.
Now, Mayweather has let it be known that he intends to relinquish all of his belts and he only has one more bout in the works for this September before he intends to call it a career. Recently Mayweather has begun to talk like a man that is onto the next chapter of his life. And in the sport of boxing, it is tough to remain the king of the mountain when you begin to focus on things outside of the ring. Mayweather will never be the people’s champion as some folks feel that he handpicks his opponents along with the fact that he isn’t a toe-to-toe brawler. The criticism doesn’t hurt Mayweather one bit as he has laughed all the way to the bank as he’ll easily clear $100 million for this past Saturday’s meeting with Pacquiao. One more victory on the part of Mayweather will tie him with Rocky Marciano to the greatest start to a professional boxing career and whether it is voluntary or involuntary, he won’t surpass the former Heavyweight Champion with a 50th victory. Mayweather’s last 13 professional fights have all taken place on the Vegas strip and just like any good show there, it is time for the curtain to come down. However the star of this show has turned into the ultimate villain and for Mayweather, he wouldn’t like it any other way.