NEW YORK: Keith Thurman put his stamp on the deeply talented welterweight division on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), beating challenger Shawn Porter by a unanimous decision to retain his World Boxing Association title.
Thurman kept his undefeated record alive and showed he deserves to be regarded as the kingpin of the welterweight division, which is moving on from the retirements of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The 27-year-old Thurman landed several solid lefts that either wobbled or staggered Porter as he won the close contest at the Barclays Center arena in New York by scores of 115-113 on all three judges scorecards.
“Defense, defense, defense,” said Thurman who improved to 27-0 with 22 knockouts.
The clash between two Americans was supposed to be held earlier this year, but Thurman was involved in a car crash on a rain-slicked Florida street which pushed the bout back three months.
Thurman, who has been on fringes of boxing celebrity, is hoping this is a breakthrough moment for him as the former champion Porter proved to be the biggest test of his career to date.
“Everybody said he was going to be my toughest opponent,” Thurman said. “I was unable to drop him but I did rock him.”
Former IBF welterweight champ Porter lost the first 12-round fight of his career.
Porter figured he had done enough to wrestle the title away and some in the crowd agreed with him, booing the scores when they were announced
“I thought I won the fight. But I am satisfied because the competitor came out. We need that rematch,” Porter said.
Thurman said after the slugfest he is willing to give Porter another chance.
“He’s a great warrior,” Thurman said. “But I knew defense would be key.
“I was able to rock him at least once each round with clear effective blows and I believe that was the key to victory.”
Thurman did most of his damage with his left while Porter had his jab working effectively.
Thurman buckled Porter’s knees with a left hook in the fourth round and landed another left on the button in the 10th when Porter walked into a punch.
Thurman suffered a cut over his left eye in the ninth, the first time he has been cut in his career.
Porter landed more jabs (59-32), but Thurman threw more power punches (203-177).