When Premier Boxing Champions debuted on March 7, Keith “One Time” Thurman delivered an impressive unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero to retain his world title. A week later, “Showtime” Shawn Porter got in the game with a savage fifth-round knockout of Erick Bone.
Porter went on to win a 12-round decision over Adrien Broner in June. Thurman followed a couple of weeks later by stopping Luis Collazo in his second title defense.
Now these two top talents in the 147-pound division are set to face each other March 12, when Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) puts his world title on the line against former champ Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut in a fight airing live on CBS (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).
“I’ve never had a fight where we know someone this well,” Thurman said. “You know your enemy. You know exactly what you’re going up against. I knew Shawn was coming up around the same time as me. He got that opportunity to fight [for a title], and he won it.
"I’m the kind of guy who’s supposed to fight everybody, every champion out there. So eventually me and Shawn were getting into the ring.”
In a weight class with Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired and Manny Pacquiao reportedly calling it quits after one more fight, the top spot in the division is clearly up for grabs.
Danny Garcia asserted himself as a possible heir to the throne Saturday night with his title-winning unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero on Saturday night. Now both Thurman and Porter are ready to stake their claim as the division's kingpin.
They’re both coming off fights in which they had to overcome adversity. Porter was comfortably ahead of Broner in the 12th round of their battle, but Broner landed a big left that put Porter on the canvas for the first time in his career.
Similarly, Thurman absorbed a liver shot from Collazo in the fifth round that might have sent many other men reeling. Thurman may have been damaged, but he stayed on his feet and gutted it out through the round, only to come roaring back to gain a seventh-round stoppage.
“I really don’t know what happened with that shot with Adrien Broner,” Porter said. “I still can’t understand for the life of me why I wasn’t hurt at all, but I was knocked down.
"But you look at Keith taking the punch he took—yes, we saw someone give Keith a good punch, but we also saw Keith take a good punch and do what he needed to do not only to survive, but to continue to fight and win. That’s what I took away from that shot. Yes, he can be hit hard, but he’s going to continue to fight.”
This certainly won’t be the first time these two boxers have crossed paths. When they were both still amateurs in 2006, Porter and Thurman represented the United States against Ukraine in an international dual meet, when Thurman was at 152 pounds and Porter was competing at 165.
The meet, held in Harvey, Illinois, saw Thurman receive coaching from Porter’s father and trainer, Kenny.
Now, these former 18- and 19-year-old teammates are finally going to square off against each other. In so doing, Thurman’s theory of what “One Time” means will be put to the staunchest test of either man’s career.
“’One Time’ represents the sport of boxing,” Thurman said. “Anybody can be hit one time and go down. The human body can only endure so much damage.
"What some of us professional fighters can do, and the way God made strong men to be, we can produce a lot of force, a lot of power and do a lot of damage to anybody’s cranium.”
For complete coverage of Thurman vs Porter, visit our fight page.