Rare has been the occasion when a boxer has legitimately hurt Keith Thurman in any of the undefeated 147-pound champion’s 26 professional bouts.
One such instance? In his most recent fight against former 147-pound champion Luis Collazo.
In the fifth round of that contest last July, Collazo countered a Thurman right hand with a perfectly placed left cross to the liver. The shot buckled Thurman’s knees, made him bend at the waist and drove him to the ropes.
As brutal as the punch was—and the 27-year-old from Clearwater, Florida, admitted after the fight he “felt pain”—Thurman managed to say on his feet, regain his composure and go on to a seventh-round stoppage victory, forcing Collazo to quit on his stool after the New York native’s vision was severely hampered by a nasty gash over his left eye.
Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) acknowledged the next day that it took an incredible amount of fortitude to stay upright after absorbing Collazo’s vicious body shot.
“One voice said, ‘You might want to take a knee.’ Another voice told me to rise up,” he said. “That body shot took a lot out of me, but it didn’t take everything. I was able to stand against it, survive, endure and recover enough to fight on and perform in the next round.”
As he heads into Saturday’s long-awaited showdown against former 147-pound titleholder Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (CBS, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), Thurman says he expects his longtime friend to steal a page from Collazo and attempt to attack his body.
Porter—who has as many victories as Thurman but six fewer knockouts—is known as more of a boxer-puncher than a heavy hitter. That said, he’s frequently the more aggressive fighter who bulls his way inside and goes after the midsection in an attempt to open things up upstairs.
Thurman, who claims he went into the Collazo fight “with no game plan,” says he’ll be prepared for whatever Porter throws at him, be it his usual come-forward style or any new tricks.
“The keys to victory some would say would be to keep him on the outside,” said the 5-foot-7½ Thurman, who owns a half-inch height advantage over Porter but whose 69-inch reach is a half-inch shorter. “But if Shawn wants to move forward, I’ll move backward; if [he goes] backward, I’ll move forward.
“I like to stay open-minded [and] go with the flow of the match.”
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