The fight world is still waiting for a new date regarding the postponement of the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter welterweight title fight. The fight was scheduled for this weekend, March 12th, but a few weeks ago it was announced that Thurman had been in a car accident and sustained injuries that would prevent him from making the fight. The injuries were not of the serious variety in that they would only serve to derail the fight long enough so that Thurman could get back to the gym at 100%.
It was reported that Thurman would likely be able to resume training a few weeks after the accident. However, a date hasn’t been announced and we don’t even have a general timeline. What’s worse, the Thurman camp, which has been noticeably and uncharacteristically silent when it comes to expressing Keith’s situation in the media, has only vaguely spoken out and was unable to give any sort of concrete details on anything that would syphon empathy from fans.
The frustration from fans anxious to get a confirmed date is mostly based on the fact that it took so long to make Thurman-Porter in the first place. It was the worst kept secret in boxing and at the height of the negations is exactly the time frame in which Thurman decided to adopt his newfound reticence with the media. Thurman was no longer the outspoken fighter with an ability to intellectually articulate himself on cue. Instead, Thurman was only willing to address the public through mandated PBC events in which he was receiving an award.
So it can be understood why certain fans are both demanding and skeptical of the fight being rescheduled at all. Actually, it is Team Porter that has every right to start worrying. It isn’t clear whether or not Shawn and his father-trainer Ken are worried about Keith’s intentions to set a date, but they sure are bracing themselves in multiple facets.
In a recent interview with RingTV.com, Ken Porter said, “If we can’t make this Thurman fight, hey, let’s make that Danny Garcia fight.”
Some would argue that the better match would be Porter-Garcia, but that is certainly debatable. That said, Porter wants a top welterweight and preferably one that possesses star power. While Thurman is plenty credible, arguably viewed as the toughest assignment in the welterweight division, it’s actually Garcia that is the more significant name.
Ken Porter made it clear in the RING interview that they won’t wait forever. In fact, they have a rough sell-by date.
“Late May, early June is what I’d be hoping for,” Ken said regarding his expectations of securing the Thurman fight. “We don’t want to be into the summer; we don’t want to be into July. No, we got to really take a look at if he’s not healthy enough to go we have to look at fighting someone else at this point. I think we have to, at some point look, at the dynamics of sitting out that long. Even though the process that we’re doing right now is going to keep (us sharp). We have to look at some point in time, ‘OK, it becomes a diminishing return.’ So hopefully, we hear something this week and we can make a decision based on that.”
For now, Shawn Porter is intending on making the original March 12th date and is prepared to fight this Saturday. However, he will not be fighting Thurman and he will not actually be fighting in a professional sense of the word.
Instead, Ken has an exhibition planned for Shawn with Lanardo Tyner (30-10-2, 19KOs) this Saturday. The glorified sparring match will be scheduled for 12 rounds or so and the fighters will wear headgear and 16-ounce gloves. Taking place at the Porter’s Las Vegas gym, the exhibition will be hosted on Facebook with a 30-minute stream complete with a fan Q&A.
I’m all for experimental boxing ventures, at least to a degree. However, this has FAIL written all over it. Team Porter is being setup for failure regardless of how this goes. The majority of the fans tuned in will only be watching in a TROLL capacity, and any genuine fans hoping to gain some entertainment from the exhibition will quickly turn their back as internet anonymity will cause an uprise.
With the exhibition only serving to remind fans that this could’ve been the day that Porter and Thurman fought to settle a major question mark in the Mayweather-less era of the welterweight division. Keeping that in mind certainly sparks consideration for why go through with this exhibition at all?
No one will appreciate this exhibition being televised, and it could create hostility in fans. The media won’t get behind it, not in a positive way, at least. Because a great performance against Tyner proves nothing and the hint of struggles will sap Porter momentum, the media will take the safe route and choose to be critical whether it is warranted or not (it probably is).
No, the only reason to have an exhibition is for Shawn’s sake. For Shawn to do his best at preventing any rust ahead of any major showdown with Thurman — or another top welterweight for that matter – Shawn must compete in the realest of scenarios. Ideally, Porter would actually take a pro fight to keep ring rust from being a problem, but that isn’t possible at this juncture and the powers that be don’t want to risk the fight in any way.
In the sense of having Porter battle rust by battling Tyner in terms that are the nearest to authentic, then this exhibition is a great idea, if not incredibly unnecessary to promote, stream, and authenticate any further than what it is truly for.
If Team Porter wanted to make a real move—one that shows they don’t need Thurman as much as Thurman believes and makes it seem, a move that steals the power from all parties involved, and a move that furthers Shawn’s career in the very next outing, then Shawn should be the one to pull out of the Thurman fight and pursue Danny Garcia, like, for real.
It doesn’t have to be Danny, but that is the only fighter I know for sure Team Porter has admitted they’d settle for, although it isn’t settling on so many levels. If it is Danny, then they hit an even richer jackpot than the Thurman one. If it is any other top welterweight, even one with slightly less value than Keith, then it will create a shift in the guard.
Porter can eventually come back to the Thurman fight with the odds closer and the need completely reversed as Porter remains the only fighter of the two with a major win under his cap. If he loses in the attempt to forgo the Thurman fight in lieu of another top name then it would be difficult to say he would’ve defeated Thurman, the presumed stiffer test, anyway.
I’m not Al Haymon, meaning I’m not super smart when it comes to managing fighters, but I’m also not offering advice with Thurman’s best interest obviously hindering my ability to create the best path for Shawn. To do the right thing by Porter the word neutral must not be a factor, but if you’re Al Haymon then you have to remain neutral in the public eye. But what’s worse for Porter is that behind closed doors Al does not have to be neutral and he likely isn’t. However, you got to ask yourself, what fighter is he really backing?