WBA welterweight champion discusses his victories over Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter and how he thinks Saturday night's WBC title fight on Showtime breaks down.
Unbeaten welterweight champion Keith Thurman plans to be ringside when former welterweight champions Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter meet Saturday night on a Showtime-televised card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It will be bittersweet for Thurman. While he enjoys the atmosphere at Barclays Center for a big welterweight championship fight, he won’t be in the ring this time.
Instead, he will be watching two men that he has already vanquished as they fight for a world title belt that he once wrapped around his waist. Thurman defeated Porter by a close unanimous decision in 2016. He narrowly defeated Garcia by split decision in March 2017. Inactivity brought on by a laundry list of injuries forced Thurman to give up the WBC title, which he won against Garcia.
Thurman hasn’t fought since.
Though he remains undefeated and still has the WBA crown, Thurman has watched his status as the top man in the welterweight division slip. That distinction now belongs to Errol Spence Jr., the IBF champion. And the winner of Garcia-Porter will probably slip in behind Spence. That means Thurman, who is training for a comeback fight, will have two major challenges to overcome if he wants to get that No. 1 spot in the welterweight division again.
Don’t expect Thurman to give a concession speech to Spence regarding the top spot in the welterweight division.
“Errol’s willing to compete with the best, and I believe he’s a tremendous fighter who is ranked No. 2 for good reason, and I know he wants to have that No. 1 position,” Thurman said. “Does Errol Spence deserve the No. 1 spot because Keith Thurman’s inactive? There’s a part of me that feels a little bit bad about that. But Keith Thurman has accomplished more than any other welterweight has when it comes to this new generation of welterweight champions. I fought for this position, but if they wanted to kick me out of it and make me fight for it again, you know that I would. I can care less about the rankings or what people are saying.”
Not only has Thurman experienced physical difficulties due to his injuries but the inactivity has had an effect on him mentally as well. Thurman had surgery on his right elbow and then he injured his hand in training.
“This has been very devastating for me. I’ve had moments of depression during this interval. It’s been a heartache at times,” Thurman said. “I’ve accomplished a lot in the sport, yet, we’re at a standstill. It can be very frustrating but I have a lot of love and support and a great team.
“Everybody just wants me to be healthy. I just wanna be injury free and get back to work and have a few more good years at the top and let that be it. I love the sport of boxing, and I miss it very much. I look forward to being in action and when I do get back, I look forward to reminding and showing the world why Keith Thurman is the No. 1 welterweight.”
“ I honestly love this fight, and I consider it one of the best matchups of the year. Having fought both of them, I do believe that each of them is capable of hurting the other and getting one another out of there. ” Welterweight Champ Keith Thurman
Thurman is working out at his St. Petersburg, Florida gym, but there hasn’t been an official announcement of his comeback fight. Until then he is just like other boxing fans. But unlike other boxing fans, he has special insight into the Garcia-Porter fight.
“I honestly love this fight, and I consider it a tremendous battle and one of the best matchups of the year,” he said. “For me, having fought both of them, I do believe that each of them is capable of hurting the other and getting one another out of there.
“I know most fans are going to lean toward Danny Garcia with his knockout power and the potential for that, but I’m taking Shawn Porter by decision. Shawn’s got a decent punch, even though he focuses on his output more than his one-punch solid blow and has it in his arsenal to hurt Danny Garcia.”
Thurman doesn’t see a scenario where Garcia knocks out Porter. He thinks size will be a factor in that.
“Going back to the amateurs, Shawn has always competed as and against bigger fighters, basically middleweights,” Thurman said.
“Danny’s always been smaller than Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. I just think that, being a pressure fighter and his athleticism and with Danny moving backwards, like he did against Brandon Rios, a performance I didn’t like, minus the knockout, Shawn Porter’s not a Brandon Rios. Shawn is much more intense.”
There are a lot of variables to a fight between two highly-skilled welterweights in a championship match and one of the intangibles that Thurman looks at is confidence. He believes there are moments in the fight that Garcia might lack in.
“I think Danny has a small confidence issue. I noticed it in my fight and the Lucas Matthysse fight,” Thurman said. “Danny’s confidence came when Lucas Matthysse was bleeding. Once that happened, he was like, ‘Oh, I can hurt this guy.’ But he didn’t have that emotion at the start of the fight.
“When I hit Danny Garcia from the start of the fight, it took him many rounds before he started listening to his Dad and taking chances and trying to win a world title. But from round one, between Shawn and I, you could tell that both of us were trying to win the title and be the champion of the world that day. In our fight, Danny Garcia and I were both champions, but I felt like I was trying to win a title. I didn’t see that same kind of intensity from Danny Garcia.”
To see more on Keith "One Time" Thurman, check out his fighter page.
- Keith Thurman