This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook takes a look at the upcoming welterweight clash between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, and also discusses Canelo Alvarez's decision to fight Liam Smith in September, rather than superstar Gennady Golovkin. Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:
Canelo to face Liam Smith on September 17
In a major disappointment for fight fans, Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) will look to win his third title in the junior middleweight division when he challenges undefeated Liam "Beefy" Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship on Saturday, September 17.
The bout lacks significant intrigue for casual fight fans not only because they do not know much about Smith, but also because they will have to wait until at least May 2017 for a fight between Canelo and Gennady Golovkin.
"This fight will be a slugfest between two heavy hitters, and I have little doubt that it will end with a 10-count," said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Canelo is the biggest star in our sport today, and with a victory on September 17, at the age of just 26 he can add yet another chapter to his already-incredible career."
Canelo's promotional team is spinning this fight as a brawl between two power punchers, but such things can only be marketed so much before they reek of disingenuous Soviet-style propaganda. The only bout fans want to see with Canelo is a clash with Golovkin, and any other matchup, rightly or wrongly, gives the appearance that Alvarez is trying to duck the intimidating Triple G.
Canelo, 25, recently delivered a Knockout of the Year contender in May of this year, flooring Amir Khan in the sixth round of his first middleweight title defense.
"I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world title owner," said Canelo Alvarez. "I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand on 17 September."
Current WBO Junior Middleweight Champion Smith has won his last eight victories by knockout. Defeating Canelo via knockout is now his top priority, as he begins to establish his legacy in becoming the UK's next boxing super-star.
"I am delighted to get the opportunity to defend my world title against the biggest name in world boxing and to headline in the U.S. which is a dream I have had since I started in the sport of boxing," said Liam Smith. "This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that. I thank my team for getting me this opportunity: Frank Warren, BoxNation, Daniel and of course Golden Boy for providing it. I am confident of winning this fight and returning to the great city of Liverpool with my belt still around my waist."
Part of the Famous Fighting Smith Brothers, where brothers Callum, Paul and Stephen have all competed in the boxing elite level as current title holders and world championship title challengers, Liam is the first to hold a world championship title. Smith recently made a successful title defense against Predrag Radosevic in June 2016 with a devastating second round knockout.
Boxing Legends Thomas Hearns and Ray Leonard talk Thurman-Porter
"Sugar" Ray Leonard and Thomas “Hitman’’ Hearns might be uniquely qualified to talk about what WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter are thinking and feeling heading into their battle pitting two men in their primes against each other in a highly-charged battle for supremacy in the talent-laden welterweight division.
The showdown on CBS presented by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will have televised coverage start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The fight was a pitched back-and-forth battle, but Hearns appeared to be in control having won rounds nine through 12 on all three judges’ scorecards.
It was between rounds 12 and 13 that Leonard’s trainer, the late Angelo Dundee, famously screamed at Leonard, “You’re blowing it now, son! You’re blowing it!’’
Leonard, with his left eye badly swollen, turned the tide in the 14th round by staggering Hearns with an overhand right, and then pinning Hearns on the ropes and unleashing a barrage of punches, prompting referee Davey Pearl to stop the fight, and making Leonard the undisputed welterweight champion and king of the division. At the time of the stoppage Hearns was leading on all three scorecards – 124-122, 125-122 and 125-121.
“It was the toughest fight of my life. It took every ounce of will and strength to beat Tommy Hearns. I couldn’t have taken that many of those in my career,’’ Leonard said. “The Tommy Hearns fight was the one that propelled me to the penthouse.’’
Leonard felt like the victory over Hearns launched him into superstardom. He believes the same thing awaits the winner of Thurman-Porter.
Hearns on the fight: “I wanted to show my world my boxing ability. They knew I could knock people out, but they didn’t know that I could box very well.’’
Both Leonard and Hearns said they are anxiously awaiting the match between Thurman and Porter because they believe it will hold just as much drama as their match 35 years ago.
“Yeah, you can make the comparison,’’ Leonard said. “Both guys are at the top of the welterweight division. The only thing that’s different is that me and Tommy were so well known by sports fans. We were on TV a lot, and that’s what built our names and gave people the chance to see us so much. And that’s what they’re doing now with the PBC and the shows being on network TV. This could be a fight like ours. Who knows? But I do know that the fans are waiting on this fight.’’
HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO FACE THE BEST MAN IN YOUR DIVISION?
HEARNS: “It’s always hard to get prepared for someone like that because you think about what the outcome is going to be and what are your chances of winning the fight. I never thought about losing, but I thought about what my chances were.
I knew if I went out and boxed the way I knew I could box, I would beat Ray. Just the thought of fighting Ray brought a lot of questions to my mind. Some I had answers to and some I didn’t have. Most other guys I knew I could go out there and knock them out.’’
WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THIS MATCHUP?
LEONARD: “Just the heart of Keith and Shawn. Both of these guys have heart and both have that will. That composure. You can’t teach composure. It’s something that you either have or you don’t. You can’t learn that. That deep, deep composure when your left eye is closed and your liver is busted and you got to get up on the canvas.’’
HEARNS: “I know Thurman and Porter have the ability to get each other out of there. It’s going to be a matter of who gets to who first. I’m definitely watching. I hope to be there in person.’’
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE MENTAL ASPECT OF THIS MATCH?
HEARNS: “I know what it’s like to go against somebody that people don’t think you can beat. You have to prepare for that. It’s a mental stage that you go through, how you prepare your mind. If you can control your mind and tell your body what you’re going to do, then you can do it. You can’t worry about how good the other guy can punch. Just stay out of the way. Keep on laying that stick on him and he won’t be able to punch you.’’
WHAT WAS YOUR MENTALITY GOING INTO THE MATCH AGAINST LEONARD?
HEARNS: “I didn’t come to go 12 or 15 rounds. I came to whip your butt and go home. I had no desire to go 15 rounds. I trained for it, but I was never going 15 rounds.’’
WHAT WAS YOUR MENTALITY GOING INTO THE MATCH AGAINST HEARNS?
LEONARD: “I felt that I could beat anyone. My brother Roger didn’t think I could beat Tommy. He didn’t tell me that until it was over. In training camp I used to box Roger and he would land a lot of right hands. He figured if Tommy’s right hand landed on me it would be over. My brother didn’t have much confidence in me.’’
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter prepare for battle
At their pre-fight weigh-in, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter appeared to be in top shape as they expressed their views on tomorrow's bout:
- “As I think about this fight, these are dreams coming true for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a dream. I think about how I was raised by Ben Getty to this moment. Ben used to say that my moment was ‘right around the corner,’ and now it’s here. He was a wise man and he knew what he was talking about."
- “Everybody kept talking about the sparring video, so I just decided to put it out. Sparring is sparring and fighting is fighting. This fight will be judged and this time I’ll have eight-ounce gloves on."
- “There are real stakes are on the line this Saturday night. Our careers are on the line. My title is on the line. My undefeated record is on the line. It’s a great fight and a great matchup."
- “Just like Ali said, Saturday night, I’m going to show you how great I am.”
- “My hometown Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA title is definitely a motivation. It motivates me to be a winner. I want to bring this belt back to Ohio."
- “This is the fight I wanted. I wanted to have fun training for a fight like this. Keith has made it possible. He’s so good it pushes me to be better."
- “This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time that two friends fight. I’m done talking about us being friends because it’s time for us to start punching each other. My plan is to have great defense, avoid getting hit and win the fight."
- “I feel like if Floyd Mayweather comes back, he should fight the winner of this matchup. I believe that will be me."
WBA Welterweight World Championship – 12 Rounds
Keith Thurman – 146 Pounds
Shawn Porter – 147 Pounds
Referee: STEVE WILLIS; Judges: ERIC MARLINSKI (N.Y.), WALESKA ROLDAN (N.Y.), STEVE WEISFELD (N.J.)
Heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale ready to battle
Undefeated IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) and fellow unbeaten American challenger Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs), participated in the final press conference on Thursday at Sky Sports Studios in London, just two days before their showdown this Saturday.
The British sensation and 2012 Olympic Games Gold Medalist, Joshua will make the first defense of his title against Breazeale, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Upland, Calif., this Saturday, June 25, on Showtime from a sold-out The O2 in London at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT.
Below is what the fighters had to say at the final press conference:
- "You're in my jungle now. There’s no pressure on me."
- “Once that bell goes, you can’t hide the instinct, the instinct that you want to get someone out of there. I hope I can go in there, stay relaxed and do what I planned to do. But once that bell rings something just comes over you and you want to get him out of there ASAP."
- "I've got nothing to lose. I've always explained let's get rid of the belts, the atmosphere, because when the bell goes it's just me and him in the ring. Two gladiators, two respectful warriors coming together. We're going to slug it out and put our 0s on the line."
- "I respect you as a fighter, but I'm going to beat you. I've got to beat the best of the best."
- "I can't wait, it's been an opportunity I've been waiting eight years for this. It's an opportunity of a lifetime and I'm ready for this."
- "Expect fireworks. We'll be going round for round, punch for punch and I expect to knock out Joshua."
- “I got a big right hand, I have a big left hook. I stand 6-foot-7, 255 pounds. I’m unorthodox – I’m a guy that can fight on the inside, I’m a guy that can take a punch, I’m a guy that can give a punch. So if any one of those given things show up on Saturday night I’m getting a knockout, for sure."
- “It’s my Super Bowl. Being a former football player, this is my Super Bowl.”
IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Anthony Joshua – 243 ¼ Pounds
Dominic Breazeale – 255 Pounds
Referee: HOWARD FOSTER (UK), Judges: DAVE PARRIS (UK), ROBIN TAYLOR (USA), PASQUALE PROCOPIO (Canada)
Anthony Ogogo ready for Frane Radnic
Anthony Ogogo (9-0, 5 KOs) is aiming for a stoppage victory against Frane Radnic (11-2, 10 KOs) on Saturday night at The O2 in London, as the Olympic Bronze medalist returns to action following an impressive third-round technical knockout victory against Gary Cooper on May 28.
''I'm looking forward to getting back in the ring,'' said the 27 year-old middleweight Ogogo, who looks in fine form having recovered from the shoulder and Achilles injuries that had kept him out of action for much of the last two years. ''Radnic is a good boxer. He's had thirteen fights, he's won eleven and he's knocked out ten of his previous opponents, so obviously he can bang. It's a very good record, and I think he would be a good test for any prospect; particularly one coming off a big injury layoff like me."
Ogogo's fight is part of a massive night of action at The O2 as Joshua defends his IBF World Heavyweight title against unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale.
''He's only loss two fights and both of those have been on points, so I want to be the first person to stop him, that's my objective," said Ogogo. "Some people might look at his record and see someone who can bang, but I look at it and see someone whose never been stopped, and I want to stop him.''
Ogogo already is looking ahead to who he wants next.
''I want to be involved in the big fights and I want the big names in the division," said Ogogo. "My goal has always been to become World Champion and I'm ready to fight anyone to make that happen. Chris Eubank Jr. has the British title, that's something that I want, and that's a fight I would love. He's a big name and that would be a big showpiece for British boxing.''
Chad Dawson to fight on undercard of Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams
On Friday, July 29, from Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada, former world champion "Bad" Chad Dawson (34-4, 19 KOs) will fight against top light heavyweight contender Eleider "Storm" Alvarez (19-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round showdown on the undercard of the Adonis Stevenson versus Thomas Williams main event. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET on Spike.
A former world champion at light heavyweight, Dawson returns to the ring looking to earn another world title shot. The 33-year-old owns victories over former world champions Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, and Tomasz Ademek and is coming off of a victory over Shujaa El Amin. The New Haven, Connecticut-native will be fighting in Canada for the fourth time in his career.
A 2008 Colombian Olympian fighting out of Montreal, Alvarez defeated fellow top contender Isaac Chilemba in November 2015 to solidify his spot amongst the top light heavyweights in the division. The 32-year-old owns victories over previously unbeaten Ryno Liebenberg and Andrew Gardner, plus triumphs over veterans Edison Miranda and Alexander Johnson heading into 2015. Alvarez was impressive in stopping Anatoliy Dudchenko and giving Isidro Ranon Prieto his first loss leading up to the bout with Chilemba.
Some of the recent colorful remarks around the sweet science:
"I do not feel that Viktor is an underdog going into this fight. Why should I? In his two toughest tests -- Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin -- he didn't just knock them out, he took their will to fight away. He broke them down brick by brick. His experience against blue chip opposition has been great preparation for his fight with Terence Crawford. Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for Crawford. He has a lot of talent. But I think this is going to come down to resumes and I think Postol has fought tougher and better opponents than Crawford. Postol even spent an entire training camp with Manny Pacquiao in 2014 when Manny was preparing for Chris Algieri. Viktor more than held his own against Manny. Crawford is going to find out that defending a title against Hank Lundy and Dierry Jean is a lot different than fighting a fellow undefeated world champion like Viktor Postol. A win for Viktor will mean that the U.S. and the world has a new star in boxing. A star as bright as boxing has ever seen."
"It is an honor to fight in Las Vegas, especially at the MGM Grand where so many historic fights have taken place and so many great fighters have made their mark. It's the same way I felt when I headlined my first card at Madison Square Garden earlier this year. Many fighters dream of fighting on such a big stage but it's something you have to earn. I have worked very hard to get to this point in my career -- to earn the right to headline my first pay-per-view event. I can't think of a better place to do it than in the Fight Capital of the World. It's very exciting, but I need to keep my eye on the ball. There will be a lot of hard work to do in training camp to make my pay-per-view debut successful. This isn't just opening night for a new phase of my career. I want this to be the beginning of a long run as boxing's next pound for pound star and a worthy successor to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr."
"Fighting in Las Vegas in the main event and headlining a pay-per-view is a tremendous honor. Years ago I never imagined we would get to this point. We are representing Omaha on the biggest stage boxing has to offer and Terence is not about to let his hometown down. He is proud to represent Omaha and he will be carrying that pride in his heart and soul when he enters the ring on July 23rd and beats Viktor Postol. We know we are in this position because of hard work and more hard work. And with hard work came success, success that produced an undefeated record against the best fighters and two world titles in two different divisions. No one has ever been able to outthink or outfight Terence and that's a lesson Postol is going to learn the hard way -- in front of a very big audience."
"I do not consider myself an underdog in this fight. Terence Crawford's fans might consider me as the underdog but that does not bother me. I'm 100% confident in myself and in my victory on July 23rd and the reasons are simple. I work harder in training camp than my opponents because I have to. Because I want to. I have the best trainer working with me and his name his Freddie Roach. He has been named Trainer of the Year a record seven times and he is in the Hall of Fame. Crawford has no one like that on his team. Since I have been training with Freddie I have knocked out two of the three opponents I have faced -- Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin. Both were No. 2 world-rated contenders and both times I was considered the underdog. I have passed every test that I have taken as a professional fighter and with the best teacher in boxing working with me I intend to pass this one on July 23rd with flying colors. This victory will prove to everyone that I am the best fighter at 140 pounds and the king of the division."
Demetrius Andrade looking for big names
A year after he was stripped of his world super welterweight title by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), undefeated super welterweight Demetrius Andrade has repositioned himself off of his sensational June 11 th stoppage of Willie Nelson.
The 28-year-old Andrade (23-0, 16 KOs) decked Nelson (25-3-1, 15 KOs) four times, finishing off his game opponent who'd never been knocked out, in the 12th round of their fight at Turning Stone Casino.
Andrade successfully defended his WBO International title and also gained several valuable options in terms of world title and/or major fights.
He is now the No. 1 mandatory contender in the World Boxing Council (WBC), waiting to challenge the winner of a mandated title fight between new champion Jermell Charlo and WBC Silver title holder Charles Hatley.
The 2008 U.S. Olympian is No. 2 in the WBO, No. 3 in the World Boxing Association (WBA), and Miguel Cotto is No. 1 in both of those sanctioning organizations.
After his sensational, statement-making performance against Nelson, Andrade said he wanted to fight anybody whose name started with "C" and ended in 'O" - the Charlo brothers (IBF champion is Jermall Charlo), Cotto and "Canelo" (Saul Alvarez).
"I am the best fighter in the 154-pound division," Andrade proclaimed. "I'm the No. 1 contender in the WBO. Liam Smith is holding my belt but I don't believe he'll fight me. I'm the WBC mandatory for the Charlo-Hatley winner. Once I get that belt I'll beat Charlo's twin for the IBF title and I've been calling out (WBA champ Erislandy) Lara for a long time. But 'Canelo' is the big money fight out there for me and who I want the most. I can be ready for him in September for his next fight. At the end of the day, we'll see what's up, but I want to get right back in the ring as soon as one of these guys step up to fight me."
During his long layoff, Andrade made a conscious effort to be a more fan-friendly fighter, building up his strength to go along with his superior quickness. Many called his last fight, 'Mayweather-like,' in which Demetrius displayed tremendous power and explosiveness, which complemented his incredible boxing skills and defense.
"When I first turned pro," Andrade explained, "I was getting in the ring with some good fighters, so I was cautious and settled in on just getting a victory. I learned that I needed to change in order to put butts in seats. I don't get hit and I also showed that I could go 12 rounds, good for experience, and still takeout a tough fighter like Nelson who had never been stopped. I wasn't going for the knockout but, after I caught him early with a right hook, I knew that it would come if I was patient and kept up the pressure. I think Willie can give any of the other top guys at 154 a good fight. He has a big heart and came to win. It wasn't as easy as it may have looked on the scorecards. Willie pushed me to look good. During my layoff, I worked hard on my craft to be better, concentrating on strength and conditioning, and it really showed in my last fight. I worked on my fundamentals and had a lot of success going to the body. I believe fans saw improvement in my performance and appreciated it."
More comfortable knowing his promotional issues are now in the past (his A Team Promotions owns 50% of his rights to go along with 25% each for Banner Promotions (Artie Pelullo) and Star Boxing (Joe DeGuardia), Andrade is prepared to clean out the 154-division before eventually moving up in weight to take on Gennady Golovkin in what Andrade believes can be a mega-fight in due time.
Andrade, in fact, hasn't lost inside the ring in nearly eight years, when he was ripped off against Korean boxer Kim Jung-Joo, 11-9, in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. The boxer named - as a kid with cuts, bumps and bruises - doesn't plan on changing his unbeaten script.
"I'm still untouchable," Andrade concluded. "I've shown my continued commitment to boxing. It's 'Boo Boo' time!"
Meet and greet with Sugar Ray Leonard
Former five-division boxing world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard will be on hand for an electric night of boxing at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on July 15. Fans with tickets to the event will get a chance to meet the former undisputed welterweight champion and former Olympic gold medalist at the Special Events Center prior to the televised fights from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Leonard will join viewers in the Coachella Valley for what is sure to be an exciting card, as Mexican warrior Pablo Cesar "El Demoledor" Cano (29-5- 1, 21 KOs) will square off against top welterweight contender KeAndre "The Truth" Gibson (15-0-1, 7 KOs) in an explosive 10-round main event broadcast live on Estrella TV's Boxeo Estelar. In the televised 10-round co-feature of the night, former world title challenger Jayson "La Maravilla" Velez (23-2- 1, 16 KOs) will battle former WBC Silver Featherweight Champion Rene "Gemelo" Alvarado (23-7, 16 KOs).
In 2009, Leonard and his wife Bernadette started the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and have been supporting the life-changing programs at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
WBC Champ Deontay Wilder discusses Joshua Breazeale bout
Unbeaten WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) can’t pick a clear winner for this Saturday night’s Anthony Joshua-Dominic Breazeale world title clash.
The undefeated IBF Heavyweight World Champion Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against fellow unbeaten Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) of Upland, Calif., from The O2 in London, live on Showtime at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT.
Wilder, who will be part of the in-studio announcing team covering the fight from New York City, is torn on who will triumph when Joshua makes the first defense of the world title he landed in April with a devastating second-round KO win over Charles Martin.
“I definitely see the fight as a 50-50,” said Wilder. “You’ve got two big heavyweights, and the challenger wants what the champion has, and the champion wants to keep what he has."
“It’s going to be interesting because we’ve seen Breazeale in a lot of wars. He’s almost been taken out by some of the smaller heavyweights. He’s been punched around, but he has always survived."
“We’ve seen Joshua (get) busted up as well, but he has kept his composure, and this fight is in his backyard amongst his people."
“I don’t put anything past Breazeale because he’s coming in hustlers’ territory. I think that it’ll be a good fight because of Breazeale – I think he really wants it.”
Wilder makes the fourth defense of his WBC strap on July 16 against Chris Arreola in his hometown of Alabama. The 30-year-old says that Joshua will feel like a different fighter as he goes into his first fight as world champion – but that there’s now an even bigger target on his back.
“Once you’ve got that belt, you feel like ‘I’m the man,’ ” said Wilder. “After the first fight, that’s when you really feel confident. You really feel you’re the man, you’re the champ. You’re the ruler once you’ve had your first defense."
“For Joshua, this is his first title defense, so he should feel some kind of security about himself and confidence about himself. But he’s going to find out that to continue his career and defend that title, these guys aren’t going to lay down after one punch or after two punches."
“They’re going to keep taking punches, they’re going to keep getting knocked down and they’re going to keep getting up. This is for a world title. This can bring you out of poverty, you know what I mean? For that reason, these challengers are hungry. That’s one of the things that I had to realize."
“I put myself in their position. When I was a challenger, I was hungry and I already had the mentality that ‘you’re going to really have to kill me or hurt me bad to get me out of this ring.’ So that’s the mentality that these challengers have."
“It’s going to be interesting when you have a guy with a big heart that really, really wants it and I think Breazeale really wants it. We’re going to see where his heart is. I can’t say what kind of heart he has, but we’re going to see.”
Breazeale is following compatriot Charles Martin into Joshua’s Greenwich home area. “It takes a lot of courage, will and heart to fight in someone’s backyard,” said Wilder. “It takes someone that has confidence in themselves. And not to mention going to someone else’s country, because then the environment has completely changed. It’s a big difference and not a lot of guys are willing to travel outside of their country where they would be uncomfortable."
“Only a very few that really want to build their legacy, such as myself, will travel and have no problem. I don’t like to worry about judges or nothing. You go do what you have to do. That’s just my philosophy and mentality as a champion now. When you say the Heavyweight Champion of the World, that’s why this is tough, we travel all over the world.”
Boxers make predictions on Thurman-Porter bout
Their peers in the welterweight division – world champions, former champions, contenders and top prospects – can’t pick a definitive winner between defending WBA 147-pound king Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) and former world champion Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs).
The majority of the fighters polled – some of whom are potential opponents down the line for the winner – lean toward Thurman, but most all concede that Saturday’s bout is going to be an intense, exciting, tight fight from start to finish that could go either way.
Here’s are the predictions:
Danny Garcia (WBC Welterweight Champion): “I think this is a great matchup. Thurman has the boxing ability and the movement while Shawn Porter is the aggressor and he’s going to bring the heat. To be honest with you it’s a 50-50 fight, but I would give the edge to Keith Thurman by a very close decision.”
Kell Brook (IBF Welterweight Champion): “This is a great fight, one I can’t wait to watch. If Shawn can stick to his boxing I think he can become world champion again on points, but Keith is heavy-handed and he could walk Shawn onto one – it’s really a pick ’em fight for me.”
Errol Spence Jr. (Undefeated Welterweight Contender): “I think this is a great fight between young fighters with good skill. Shawn throws a lot of punches while Thurman is a boxer who can punch too. I know Shawn will be aggressive and it should make for a great fight. If Keith can box and keep Shawn Porter on the outside I see Keith Thurman winning. If Shawn stays on the inside and stays in the chest of Keith, I see him winning.”
Andre Berto (Former Welterweight Champion): “Shawn is going to come, but I think Keith will be on his toes and box but also drop hard shots as well when Shawn comes in. Keith can be very versatile in there and has a lot of great skills, while Shawn is more like a bull. Keith will hurt or knock Shawn down but will keep coming all night.’’
Sammy Vazquez (Undefeated Welterweight Contender): “Shawn is a pressure fighter and Thurman used to be a pressure fighter but now he boxes. It’s really hard for me to decide who is going to come out on top. Thurman has good power. It all depends on how Shawn is able to take Thurman’s punches. I think Thurman because of the power but Shawn will bring it for 12 rounds.”
Robert Guerrero (Former Welterweight Champion): “This is a fight the fans are going to love watching. Both Thurman and Porter bring exciting styles to the ring. I think if Porter can keep the fight on the inside he’ll have a better chance to come out victorious. But Keith Thurman is a very smart and powerful fighter and will make the right adjustments. I just think Thurman is going to outbox Porter. I’m picking Thurman to win by decision in a very tough fight.”
Luis Collazo (Former Welterweight Champion): “I’m not sure who the favorite is, but I’m going with Porter. I like his style and I think it’s going to be interesting to see how Thurman holds up with the pressure Porter is going to bring.”
Devon Alexander (Former Welterweight Champion): “It’s a very exciting fight. Both fighters are come forward type fighters and they swing for the fences when they throw. I don’t know who will come out on top because they have similar styles. Shawn Porter has decent power, but out of the two Keith has the more power. We’ll see. This is boxing.”
Local boxer Oscar Molina featured on Thurman-Porter undercard
An intriguing matchup between undefeated super welterweights Jarrett Hurd and Oscar Molina will open this Saturday’s Primetime CBS broadcast from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The broadcast airs live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, and is headlined by a welterweight blockbuster between undefeated champion Keith Thurman and once-beaten former titlist Shawn Porter.
The 10-round showdown between the 25-year-old Hurd (17-0, 11 KOs) and 26-year-old Molina (13-0-10 KOs) is a rare matchup between young undefeated prospects in one of boxing’s hottest divisions. The winner graduates to contender status in the stacked 154-pound class, a division featuring Erislandy Lara, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, Demetrius Andrade and Julian Williams.
“I’m excited for this fight and I’m grateful that it’s even bigger now that it’s on CBS,” said Molina. “I’ve seen Hurd fight. I know what he does well and what his weaknesses are and I’ll be looking to capitalize on them. It’s important for me to defeat the top guys and this is someone I have to beat to become a world champion one day. I’m excited about fighting in Brooklyn on the big stage, but my focus will be on my trainer’s game plan and coming out victorious.”
Molina, of Norwalk, Calif., just east of Los Angeles, was a 2012 Mexican Olympian. He tore through his opposition after turning professional in 2013, registering knockouts in 10 of his 14 fights. Molina, who has also never been down, is coming off a 10-round draw with fellow unbeaten highly regarded prospect Dominque Dolton last September. He returns to the ring this Saturday against another undefeated opponent as he looks to make a statement in the 154-pound division.
Hurd, of Accokeek, Md., just south of Washington, D.C., has an unblemished record since turning professional in 2012. He is coming off a career-best performance last November with a six-round destruction of previously undefeated Frank Galarza on ShoBox: The New Generation. Hurd, who has never been down or cut as a professional, will be facing his third consecutive unbeaten opponent.
"The dictionary definition of ‘Swift’ is to happen quickly or promptly," said Hurd. "So just like my ring name, that's exactly what you'll see on Saturday night. I'm so grateful that this fight was made and that the whole world will be able to see my boxing skills on this highly anticipated card."
Super Welterweights – 10 Rounds
Jarrett Hurd – 153 ¾ Pounds
Oscar Molina – 154 ¾ Pounds
Referee: RICKY GONZALEZ; Judges: GLENN FELDMAN (Conn.), JOHN MCKAIE (N.Y.), RON MCNAIR (N.Y.)
Thurman-Porter undercard to feature Brooklyn fighters
The undercard for the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter welterweight showdown is complete and will feature a pair of popular Brooklyn fighters, as heavyweight Adam Kownacki (13-0, 10 KOs) battles hard-hitting Jesse Barboza (11-1-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round bout, while crowd-pleasing featherweight Heather Hardy (16-0, 4 KOs) takes on Colorado’s Kirstie Simmons (8-1, 2 KOs) in an eight-round contest on Saturday, June 25, from Barclays Center.
A popular Brooklyn fighter who competed in Barclays Center’s first-ever professional female boxing match, Hardy has become a staple at the arena since. On June 25, she will be making her seventh appearance at Barclays Center.
A little over two years after her pro debut, Hardy won an international title belt in the super bantamweight division in October 2014. In 2015, she defeated Noemi Bosques and Renata Domsodi twice. In her lone 2016 fight, she stopped Anna Donatella Hultin in the fourth round. She will be opposed by Aurora, Colorado’s Simmons who has won nine fights in a row after losing her pro debut.
A two-time New York Golden Gloves champion, Kownacki had a big 2015, notching four victories including knockouts of Maurenzo Smith and Randy Easton. Born in Poland, the 26-year-old now calls Brooklyn home. His 2016 campaign began in January at Barclays Center when he defeated Danny Kelly in front of a raucous Polish crowd. He will take on Barboza out of Hyannis, Massachusetts. The 29-year-old Barboza was a three-time New England Heavyweight Golden Gloves champion.
The live CBS telecast with open with with an exciting battle between undefeated super welterweight prospects Jarrett Hurd and Oscar Molina.
Additional undercard action features unbeaten prospect Jonathan Alonso (9-0, 4 KOs) taking on Los Angeles native Brian Jones (13-5, 7 KOs) in a junior welterweight match; Bronx native Josue Vargas (4-0, 3 KOs) opposing Oklahoma’s David Nelson (3-5, 1 KO) in a four-round welterweight bout; and a recent addition to the card, Puerto Rico’s Nicklaus Flaz (2-0, 2 KOs), in a four-round junior middleweight battle against Brooklyn’s Mack Babb (1-6).
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services