It’s not often you will see good friends fight against one another for a major belt in a boxing ring, but that’s the case on Saturday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — televised nationally in the United States by CBS as part of the Premier Boxing Champion Series — as Keith Thurman battles Shawn Porter in a scheduled 12-rounder for Thurman’s WBA welterweight title. Thurman is the -200 favorite on boxing betting lines with Porter at +165. The over/under is 11.5 rounds, with the over a slight favorite in the sports betting odds so oddsmakers clearly expect the bout to go to a decision.
Boxing is rarely shown on network TV in the USA these days. This card is the first prime-time one on CBS since Feb. 15, 1978, when Muhammad Ali lost a 15-round split decision and the heavyweight title to Leon Spinks in a massive upset.
In Depth Look at the Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter Boxing Betting Odds
Thurman and Porter, a former champion, have been friendly for years, but as Thurman’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, said: “Sometimes you have to fight your friends.” Thurman and Porter aren’t the only friends in this matchup. So are Birmingham and Kenny Porter, Shawn’s father and trainer.
“Keith Thurman versus Shawn Porter could very well be the fight of the year,” promoter Lou DiBella said. “It’s a fan fight that everybody has anticipated for many years. These are the two most established welterweights in the world battling to see who the successor to Floyd Mayweather’s domination of the division is.”
These two were originally to fight March 12 at the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. However, in mid-February Thurman got in a car accident and was still dealing with some soreness later in the month so it was postponed.
Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) is a 28-year old who won a world title by decision against Devon Alexander in 2013 and successfully defended it in a fourth-round knockout of former champion Paulie Malignaggi in 2014. Then he lost the 147-pound belt by majority decision to England’s Kell Brook in August 2014. Porter has won two fights in a row since, including an unanimous decision upset against Adrien Broner in June.
Although Porter was the clear winner, there was major drama in the 12th and final round when Broner came out fast and leveled Porter with a wide-open left hand in the first minute. Porter was OK but still had more than two minutes to survive. All three judges had it for Porter: 118-108, 115-111 and 114-112. In his only other bout of 2015, “Showtime” Porter scored a fifth-round knockout of Erick Bone.
The 27-year-old Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) had a good year in 2015 in beating Luis Collazo and Robert Guerrero. In 2014, Thurman beat Leonard Bundu and Julio Diaz. Thurman has talked often about wanting to take Mayweather Jr.’s place at the top fighter in the 147-pound division.
Both fighters share many similarities when it comes to age, height, reach and experience, but in reality this is a contrast in styles: Thurman is a heavy-handed knockout artist who has been taken the distance just four times, while Porter is a technically skilled boxer-puncher who succeeds by wearing down opponents and staying out of harm’s way.
Expert Betting Prediction
I give the slight edge to Thurman on boxing betting odds and do believe this goes the distance.