SAN DIEGO, June 25, 2016 – Casual fans and boxing heads alike enjoyed the return of boxing to prime time on CBS with two action-packed bouts from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn including a Fight of the Year candidate in the main event.
Keith Thurman (27-0-1, 22 KOs) remained undefeated and kept his WBA welterweight title with a narrow unanimous decision over a rugged Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs). All three judges saw it the same, 115-113 in Thurman’s favor.
In the early rounds and for significant portions of the fight, Porter did exactly what he needed to do. He kept right on top of Thurman, and worked on him inside to the body and to the head with upper cuts. He leaned on Thurman, a tactic which can tire an opponent out over the course of a fight. Thurman was prevented from using his excellent jab to keep Porter at bay and set him up.
Thurman finally struck with an overhand right counterpunch at the end of the third round. Did it signal that Porter was getting a little too reckless given his quick start? Thurman’s success with counterpunches continued, striking with a counter left hook. Thurman kept looking for opportunities to land it as Porter came in with his lead right jab. Thurman was successful and buckled Porter’s knees with a minute left in the round. Porter hung on and got out of the round. He went to his corner with a cut over the left eye.
Midway through the fight, Thurman had more success walking Porter down. Porter isn’t at his best backing up; the last time he was knocked down by Adrien Broner, Porter was moving back. Nevertheless, Porter landed a counter shot and started digging at Thurman’s body, using whatever tools he could to wear him out.
Porter landed a solid left hook body shot just short of game changing early in the eighth round. This is where Thurman is vulnerable. Porter tried to get back there but couldn’t quite do it. Porter poured on the pressure trying to catch Thurman making a mistake again.
Thurman suffered the first cut of his career over the left eyebrow in the ninth round. His corner tells him to box. Referee Steve Willis ruled the cut was caused by a punch. Cutman Carlos Vargas got to work on the cut in Thurman’s corner and did a superb job.
From the tenth round through the end of the fight, both men dug in and did their best to inflict damage. Thurman caught Porter; Porter fired right back. Both men got out of the round on their feet, and the Barclays Center crowd of 12,718 was on its feet too.
“He’s a great warrior,” Thurman said of Porter after the decision. “Shawn brought it today, he was on me. I knew that defense would be the key to victory. I was able to rock him with clear effective blows … I was unable to drop him, but I was able to rock him. He’s a good athlete.”
The crowd believed Porter had won and booed the decision. Porter said after the loss, “At the end of the day, I’m blessed to have these fans right now. We worked hard. He’s (Thurman) a great champion. My dad said ‘Keep your head up.’ I’m satisfied because the competitor came out tonight.”
Porter was the busier fighter; Thurman landed several shots that would have dropped anyone less rugged than Porter. ShoStats show Thurman landed 235 of 539 punches (44 percent); Porter 236 of 662 punches (36 percent). Porter landed 59 jabs to Thurman’s 32. Thurman landed 203 power punches to Porter’s 177.
It was a tremendously exciting fight, just the kind of fight that belongs on prime time broadcast TV. Two appealing fighters with power and aggression, two never say die opponents who nevertheless have tremendous respect for each other as people. This fight did wonders for the sport.
Who wants to see it again? Porter is all for it. “We need that rematch, I think the fans want that rematch. He got his one, if he gives me another chance, I’ll get that WBA title,” said Porter. Thurman said he’d be game. “I would give him a rematch, man. It was a great fight, he was a great opponent.”
Swift Jarrett Hurd (18-0, 12 KOs) made his case for facing the top competition in the 154 pound super welterweight division with a late stoppage win over Oscar Molina (13-1-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico.
Hurd, a tall fighter with plenty of range, employed one of his no-so-secret weapons, a marvelous upper cut delivered inside as a counterpunch. It was just such a punch that dropped Moina in the first round. Molina survived, and gave Hurd as much of a challenge as he possibly could. Molina is a classically rugged Mexican warrior and scored some of his own punches against Hurd.
But it wasn’t enough. Hurd wore Molina down little by little and by the tenth and final round, Molina needed a knockout to win. When it became clear he wasn’t going to get one, the referee stopped the fight at 2:02 of the round. While you could argue in favor of letting Moilna walk away from the fight under his own power, he was suffering a lot of damage and there was no point to it.
Hurd landed 275 of 744 total punches (37 percent), Molina 116 of 376 punches (34 percent); 220 of Hurd’s punches were power shots.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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