Photo Credit: Ed Diller/ DiBella Entertainment
BROOKLYN — Can you say rematch? Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter lived up to expectations by delivering a fast-paced, action-packed battle last night at the Barclays Center. It was our first big showdown between Top 5 welterweights this year and displayed the division’s potential. What made this matchup so special? Read on…
FIRE AND DESIRE: With both guys coming into last night with one-year layoffs, there was an expectation that the early rounds would be tentative. Not so — both men came out swinging with bad intentions. When there was any space between them, Thurman found success with eye-catching counter left hooks and overhand rights. When Thurman failed to time Porter’s blitzes, the fight then went to the ropes when Thurman found himself mauled by clubbing body shots.
DURABILITY: One of the most impressive things from last night was the punch resistance. Porter ran into several clean shots that would have put most welterweights to sleep. His knees were buckled twice (4th and l0th rounds), but Thurman could never seriously get him in trouble. Porter would clinch, and come right back on offense. When Porter got clocked late in the championship rounds, he clinched and immediately spun Thurman to the ropes to deliver his own shots.
Like the Collazo fight, Thurman was hurt to the body. This came late in the fight courtesy of a Porter left uppercut to the solar plexus. Thurman went into immediate retreat, but didn’t cower the rest of the round. He had to return fire with fire to keep Porter from overwhelming him.
DIVERGENT SCORECARDS: This was one of those fights where your preference heavily influenced the scoring. Personally, I had it a draw (114-114). I had Thurman winning three of the first four rounds by isolating Porter’s ability to get inside, and countering him with harder shots. But in the middle rounds, I thought Porter landed the more effective work (body shots) by getting Thurman pinned to the ropes several times each round. As a result, I gave him rounds 5-9.
But in the championship rounds, it became more of an outside and mid-range battle. Porter could not get inside often and when he did, Thurman either clinched effectively or Porter’s anxiousness caused him to smother his own work. I had Thurman sweeping the last three rounds. During the fight, I counted about 3 rounds that were close and could have gone either way, which justifies a two-point swing for either guy as acceptable.
Thurman said he’s open to a rematch, so let’s hope he keeps his word.
JARRETT HURD TKO10 OSCAR MOLINA: Hurd continued his climb of the 154 pound ranks with a dominating performance over Oscar Molina. The 6’1 Hurd used his size to bully the 5’9 Molina and overwhelm him with a variety of inside uppercuts and hooks. The tone was set at the end of round one when Molina was floored with a counter right uppercut.
The fight was only mired by the finish. The referee stopped the fight prematurely after Molina tried to clinch after absorbing several hooks. At this pace, look for Hurd to be in the title picture next year.