What time is it in the welterweight division?
By Joseph Correa
Will it be "One Time" or "Showtime" on March 12?
WBA welterweight champion Keith 'One Time' Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) will be facing one tough customer on March 12, in former IBF welterweight champion 'Showtime' Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs.) live on CBS from the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
This is sure to be an action-packed affair between two of the best young welterweights in the world. Shawn Porter presents a big challenge to the champion with his pressure intense "Bully" like offensive style, and relentless work rate. On the other hand, Thurman is one of the most athletic and talented fighters in the sport. He has big-time punching power, a great jab and possesses excellent movement which he uses well to get in and out setting up those big power shots. Both fighter's are strong with Porter having the edge in physical strength and Thurman holding the advantage in punching power.
What makes Thurman so dangerous is his uncanny ability to move and still punch with tremendous leverage. He will have to use this ability and work the jab against Shawn to neutralize Porter's aggressive advances. It's no secret that Porter will look to impose his will and physical strength on Thurman and try to outwork and break him down, particularly to the body where he and many feel Keith may have displayed some weakness. Porter will press the action early attempting to wear down and slow the movement of Thurman and will likely try to smother Thurman's offense preventing him from landing those big shots. I see Porter having some early success on the inside and landing some big shots to the body and head of Thurman. If Porter can sustain a fast pace and mix up his attack he could make it a long night for Thurman. One thing Porter must be careful not to do is lunge in off balanced as he has shown to do in the past making him very susceptible to step back left hooks and step back uppercuts seen in the Adrien Broner fight. This could spell big trouble for him against 'One Time' who is is aware of this trait and may look to exploit this advantage often should he find Porter leaning in after him recklessly. This would be a bad thing for Porter because Keith has the power to end it all with one shot!
As mentioned before, Porter will look to test the body early and often after seeing veteran Luis Collazo hurt Thurman with a perfectly placed liver shot that left him wincing in pain and on his bicycle. In fairness to Thurman, a shot like this would have not only hurt just about anyone but would have likely dropped and/or stopped most (Think of Oscar De La Hoya vs. Hopkins). Thurman not only survived the shot without going down, he came back stronger stopping Collazo two rounds later. Porter is a completely different animal however and if he has equal success to the body it may be disastrous for Thurman because unlike Collazo, Porter has a ton of killer instinct and will jump on Thurman trying to close the show early. Porter's physical strength will be a big part of his game plan and I expect him to introduce some wrinkles in this fight to try and gain an edge.
It's great they are finally set to fight and I look forward to an exciting welterweight showdown between two of the best young fighter's in the game. There is a lot at stake in this battle as the winner will likely take a front row seat to an eventual showdown with Danny Garcia or Kell Brook to unify the belts. The winner will also state his case for being named the alpha in the division. This is a great fight for boxing fans and a step in the right direction for the Premier Boxing Champions series (PBC).
My early prediction: Thurman by stoppage
Porter will have success early applying pressure and landing some to the body and will look to step up the intensity and his punch output as the fight progresses. Thurman will adjust to the pressure as the fight goes on and will start to utilize his jab and movement better and start to land those hard right hands and will capitalize on openings in Porter's defense.
Ultimately, I think Porter's aggression will work against him late in the fight and Thurman will catch him walking into a big shot and a stoppage win for Keith "One Time" Thurman.