Should Shawn Porter move on from Keith Thurman?
By Hector Franco
This week there have been some disappointing announcements in the combat sports world. The long anticipated welterweight championship bout between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter was postponed for the foreseeable future. Thurman was injured in a car accident and needs time off before resuming his training. Afterwards, it was found out that the entire card would be scrapped for a later date. This leaves Shawn Porter without a fight until Thurman is ready to resume training and get back in shape to step into the ring. Porter hasn’t been inside a boxing ring to compete since June 2015 against Adrien Broner. Porter has wanted to face Thurman since December of last year and was excited when the fight was finalized. The news that Thurman was injured has put Porter in a position where he will need to decide if he wants to wait on Thurman or stay active and move on.
Taking a page out of the book of the UFC, Porter and his team could decide to face another opponent. Shawn is a fighter that stays in shape year round, but he is also a fighter that needs to stay active. Unfortunately for Porter, many of the top fighters at welterweight are already booked for match-ups in the next few months leaving him with few choices.
There is the recently announced bout between Errol Spence and Chris Algieri that will take place on April 16th. Either of these two fighters would have provided a sturdy challenge for Porter. A bout with Spence would be considered by many fans to be a toss up. Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will be meeting the week before in Las Vegas. Neither of these men would be a viable option for Porter due to the current political divide in the sport. Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson all have fights scheduled in the upcoming months. Porter isn’t left with many options if he wants to face a top tier opponent. Even if a bout with Danny Garcia could be negotiated, Garcia is just coming off a bout with Robert Guerrero. Garcia may not want to fight again until the summertime leaving Porter with a year of inactivity. At this point, he may want to just step in the ring with anyone who will sign a contract to face him just to stay active.
A wildcard option for Porter would be to try and pursue a match up a fighter who is having a hard time getting fights himself. Although there are rumors of a potential match-up with Miguel Cotto, Ruslan Provodnikov could be an opponent for Porter. Provodnikov is limited in his boxing skills but more than makes up for it with his toughness. However, stepping in the ring with him has taken a physical toll on most of his opponents. Matthysse, Bradley and Algieri certainly haven’t wanted to get back in the ring with the Russian. This bout is unlikely to actually occur. It is one that could be made, as Provodnikov doesn’t have the same political divisions with his promoter that others like Sadam Ali or Jesse Vargas might have.
In the end, it will be up to Team Porter and his management as to what direction his career will take. Porter here has the opportunity to get in the ring one more time before facing Thurman or keep on playing the waiting game with Thurman. From a fans perspective, Porter comes off as a fighter who will step in the ring with anybody. He is still in his prime, but he is not getting any younger. It may be time for him to forget about Thurman and fight somebody else. The Thurman bout will still be there in the future.