It’s not yet official, but it’s starting to sound likely that former IBF welterweight champion and WBA champ Keith Thurman will face off on the Premier Boxing Champions series, possibly in March. Boxing fans have to hope this is true.
With Floyd Mayweather officially retired, it’s time to move on in the always talent-rich welterweight division. A Porter-Thurman bout would be ideal for kicking off what could be a new golden age.
Porter is 28 and Thurman 27, both in their athletic prime. Together, they sport a combined record of 52-1-1 with 38 KOs.
With a record that now stands at 26-1-1 with 16 KOs, Porter jumped into the spotlight in December 2013, when he beat up a very good fighter in Devon Alexander, to capture the IBF title. He followed that win with a brutal Round 4 TKO of Paulie Malignaggi.
Porter dropped the belt to Britain’s Kell Brook in August 2014 by majority decision, although the fight was not as close as the score cards made it out to be. Still, Porter is undeniably a top talent in the division. Last June, he simply out-worked Adrien Broner, to win by unanimous decision.
Keith Thurman is still unbeaten, at 26-0 with 22 KOs. His win over Robert Guerrero a year ago was by wider margins than Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Guerrero in May 2013. He stopped veteran contender Luis Collazo last July, only 14 months after Collazo went the distance with Amir Khan.
My feeling is that Thurman has better power and better all-around boxing skill than Porter. I think he’d win a competitive, but clear-cut, decision. But Porter sure wouldn’t make it easy for him.
This is the kind of class between young lions that the sport depends upon to thrive. But for a fight like this to have true historical value, the winner will need to step outside of the PBC/Al Haymon stable and face other top fighters in the division like Brook.
It will be a shame if that doesn’t happen. Boxing needs more unification fights, especially in the glamor divisions like welterweight.
But for now, Thurman vs. Porter could be a terrific step in the right direction. At the very least, it’s a compelling matchup.