Keith Thurman said former champion Shawn Porter “was there to be hit” in two of his most difficult fights, a loss to Kell Brook and a victory over Adrien Broner.
Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time in nearly a year on June 25 when he defends his 147-pound world title against Porter (26-1-1) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (CBS, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
As part of his pre-fight prep work, Thurman says he has broken down video of his challenger’s bouts against Brook and Broner, and noted some things he believes he’ll be able to use to his advantage.
“Looking at the film, Shawn Porter got hit by one-twos by Kell Brook, and he got caught by left hooks from Adrien Broner,” Keith Thurman said. “So really, what I’ve seen is that Shawn Porter is there to be hit, and if he’s there to be hit by Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, then he’s guaranteed not to be able to go 12 rounds with me.”
A 28-year-old from Akron, Ohio, now living in Las Vegas, Porter lost a majority decision to Brook (now 36-0, 25 KOs) in August 2014. The defeat cost Porter the 147-pound title he won from Devon Alexander by unanimous decision in December 2013 and successfully defended with a fifth-round TKO of former two-time champion Paulie Malignaggi four months later.
“Kell Brook was skillful, whereas Shawn Porter was straight physical,” Thurman said. "I think that Shawn thought he was going to be able to physically beat [Brook] the same way he did Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi, but neither of those fighters were full welterweights, and neither had the size or the strength that Kell Brook has.
“Sometimes a man is physically strong and the other guy can’t do anything about it. But the only reason he can’t do anything about it is that he doesn’t possess the skills to take away [his opponent’s] strength. Shawn fought a very hard, very good fight against Brook, but at the end of the day, as Floyd Mayweather says, skills pay the bills.”
“ Shawn fought a very hard, very good fight against [Kell] Brook, but at the end of the day, as Floyd Mayweather says, skills pay the bills. ” 147-pound world champion Keith Thurman, on upcoming opponent Shawn Porter
Porter bounced back from the Brook defeat and earned a fifth-round stoppage of fill-in fighter Erick Bone in March 2015. Three months later, Porter handed Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) his second career loss at a 144-pound catchweight.
An underdog, Porter dominated Broner for much of that night in Las Vegas, although he got caught and dropped by a left hook early in Round 12 before winning a unanimous decision.
Thurman, who has stopped all but four of his opponents, has been idle since July 11, when he became the second fighter to stop Luis Collazo, finishing off the southpaw from New York in the seventh round. In his previous bout, Thurman dropped former two-division champion Robert Guerrero—who has never been KO’d—in the ninth round en route to earning a wide unanimous decision.
But the 27-year-old Clearwater, Florida, native has shown he’s much more than a knockout artist, and he contends his rare combination of power and impeccable boxing acumen will be the difference-maker against Porter.
“You can be physically strong and tough, which are attributes that a champion needs, but you always need to be skillful in the way that you attack,” Thurman said. “I believe that is what separated Kell Brook from Shawn Porter that night, and it’s the same thing that’s going to separate me from Shawn Porter on June 25.”
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