Photo: Esther Lin/Showtime
Since the long awaited retirements of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao the boxing faithful have waited for a serious matchup in the sports glamour division. Premiere Boxing Champions and its mega manager Al Haymon holds the contracts and career paths of the super majority of interesting names in the division. Finally the PBC produced a matchup that was sold as best vs. best with Keith Thurman 27-0 (22KO’s) squaring off against Shawn Porter 26-2-1 (16KO’s) and it delivered.
Most media predictions prior to the fight were split and for good reason. Thurman’s explosive offense had never faced an elite level opponent like Porter; and Porter had lost to Kell Brook, but looked sensational beating Adrien Broner had the edge in experience. In what many are calling a candidate for fight of the year Thurman and Porter put on a show for the 12,718 standing fans at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.
At the opening bell Porter rushed Thurman mauling him to the ropes with his aggressive smothering style. Thurman would counter with fast, hard combinations and slide out when he could but Porter effectively used feints and head movement to get inside. With both fighters going on the attack the crowd was roaring from the first bell and never stopped.
Thurman would land the heavier shots throughout the night while Porter was the busier of the two and even out landed Thurman by one punch with 236 of 662 (36%) compared to Thurman’s 235 of 539 (44%) according to Compubox.
In the eighth Porter landed a hard left hook to the body that visibly hurt Thurman and slowed him. After a long exchange against the ropes that had the crowd on its feet in the ninth, Thurman rocked Porter with a left hook in the tenth to take control of the championship rounds.
As Jimmy Lennon Jr. stepped center ring with the microphone in his hand the twitterverse was split on who had won, many called it a draw. Lennon Jr. read the cards 115-113 on all three for Keith Thurman by unanimous decision. Instantly calls for a rematch were made and rightfully so after such a close and exciting fight that could have gone either way.
“I would give him a rematch. It was a great fight. He was a great opponent.” Said Thurman in his post-fight interview. Porter echoed the sentiment saying “we need that rematch, I know the fans want that rematch. If he gives me another chance, I’m going to work hard in the ring and leave with his title.”
Available names in the division like WBC titlist Danny Garcia, Errol Spence, and Kell Brook all could be matched with Thurman and have no political roadblocks; the PBC may have just ignited the welterweight blaze that many had hoped would’ve came last year.
A prime time fight that likely drew the largest PBC televised audience thus far, coupled with the attention to boxing garnered from the passing of Muhammad Ali may have been just what the doctor ordered to re-stoke the flames of interest in boxing that has been dormant for so long in the general public.
In the co-main event “Swift” Jarrett Hurd 18-0 (12KO’s) and Oscar Molina 13-1-1 (10KO’s) were moved to the televised card after Abner Mares sustained an injury forcing him to cancel his bout with Jesus Cuellar.
Hurd made the most of his opportunity as he looked sensational in a dominant performance over the tough Mexican Olympian Molina. In the first Hurd landed a thunderous right uppercut write on the button, dropping Molina for the first time in his career.
Throughout the fight Hurd was busier and faster to the punch than the game and very durable Molina as he wore him down over ten rounds of dominance that saw Molina do little more than land one punch at a time. Nearing the end of the fight, in the tenth round Hurd rocked Molina prompting referee Ricky Gonzalez to jump in and waive the fight at 2:02 in the round.
“It was a big uppercut that knocked him down in the first round” said Hurd This fight here puts me up with the top contenders in the division” “I felt like I was getting stronger as the rounds wore on.”
The Junior Middleweight division is another in which manager Al Haymon advises a majority of the stars with exception to the biggest star Saul Alvarez. Hurd should become a regular on PBC shows to build his name and display his ability to excite the crowd with his intelligent but aggressive style.