Who is better? Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter?

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Updated: February 21, 2016

A pair of welterweights will collide in what should be one step closer toward finding out just who is the best welterweight on the planet in the post-Floyd Mayweather era.

Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) and Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) will have their chance to prove why they belong in the same conversation as boxing’s best welterweight. Thurman-Porter will collide for the WBA welterweight title on Saturday, March 12, at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. The bout will headline a Premier Boxing of Champions event to be televised live on CBS beginning at 8:30 PM/ET.

During a recent training session at the Porter Hy-Performance Center in Las Vegas, NV, Porter openly discussed his outlook on training camp, as well as, his history with Thurman that extends back to their amateur days.

“Training camp is going great,” Porter said. “It’s been hard work as always and nothing really different specifically for this fight. Obviously it is always a different game plan for a different fighter but that’s about it. I’m not making too many adjustments from my previous fight, just taking what I learn from each fight and take those learning experiences with you. Going into this fight we will definitely have some of our past experiences show up.”

Porter, a former IBF welterweight champion, last fought more than six months ago. Porter, in perhaps the biggest fight of his career, took Adrien Broner apart for a unanimous decision victory. Porter, who has won two consecutive fights since losing the IBF title to Kell Brook in August 2014, has embraced his underdog status and is using that as motivation for his world title challenge of Thurman.

“I do not feel like I am coming in as the underdog,” Porter said. “In order to be the champion, you have to beat the champion. That is my outlook on this fight, not only to outpoint him but to make it very decisive and dominate the fight.”

Highly motivated to defeat Thurman, Porter is out to prove his doubters wrong just like he did when he fought Devon Alexander at the Barclays Center in December 2013. Porter took the fight to Alexander from the opening bell and aggressively pressured Alexander into surrendering the IBF welterweight title.

Porter is inspired by his motivation to defeat the best.

“My motivation is to prove the doubters wrong,” Porter said. “I have faced a tougher opposition than Keith Thurman. I feel like that may work most to my advantage. I think that there will come points in this fight where I will put him up against things that he has never been up against. It is all about how he reacts to what I throw at him.”

Porter believes that he will win by knockout.

“My plan is to go in there and shake him up, make him uncomfortable and carry the fight just like that,” Porter said. “I am ready and whatever Thurman has to bring. I’m ready for 12 rounds, I’m ready to knock him out. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to win. I’m ready.”

Porter and Thurman were both amateur boxing standouts. Porter won more than 275 amateur fights that included a World Golden Gloves Championship. Thurman won a total of 101 amateur fights, winning 76 of them by knockout. Thurman is also six-time amateur boxing national champion. However, despite their successful amateur boxing careers, both Porter and Thurman came up short of qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.

Thurman turned professional in 2007, while Porter made his pro debut in 2008 as a middleweight who worked his way down to 147 pounds. During their boxing lives, Porter and Thurman have already crossed paths as former sparring partners.

“We expect what we saw in sparring with him to show up in the fight,” Porter said. “He moved around a lot when we sparred. There weren’t very many clean shots landed by either of us, but I know from sparring with him that I have to be aggressive and that I have to cutoff the ring.”

Porter added: “I would say that for the majority of this fight it is probably going to be me as the aggressor. He likes to bully guys at the beginning of the fight to wear them down to feel himself out.. We’re expecting him to move a lot more against me. We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to be smart.”

Porter is trained by his father Ken, who also reflected more about the Porter’s history with Thurman.

“I know him very well,” Ken Porter stated. “I’ve had opportunities to work with him in the amateurs. I’ve had opportunities to work with him in the pros. I’ve worked in his corner in an amateur fight before, I’ve worked in his corner in a pro fight. Keith knows Shawn, they’ve sparred about 30 rounds. He knows speed and won’t come in the ring trying to land a significant shot from the beginning. If he’s throwing that punch, he’s probably running the other direction at the same time.”

Ken added: “I would challenge [Thurman] to come in the ring and fight, but I know he’s going to fight. I know he will try to outbox us and try to land a slick and unexpected punch. Anyone can land a shot on you, that happens, but it’s what you do after the punch that counts. We’re looking forward to trading punches, boxing with him, slugging with him. We’re looking for a fight.”

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, are priced at $300, $150, $75 and $35 (plus applicable fees) and are on sale now through Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster customers may log on to ticketmaster.com; call (800) 745 3000; or visit any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets are also available at the Mohegan Sun Box Office.

Thurman-Porter should be an explosive fight. The winner could be on a collision course to fight WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia to unify the WBC/WBA welterweight titles.

 

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