Ken Porter, the father and trainer of former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter, has given his pick for the fight that will headline boxing’s return to network television in the US on NBC on March 7th.
Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman(24-0, 21 KO’s) will defend his newly awarded WBA World welterweight title against Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero(32-2-1, 18KO’s) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a noticeable step up for the champion against a man who has experienced combat at the very highest level.
“I think Robert is probably, yeah, he is gonna be Keith’s toughest opponent to this date. Former world champion, two-time champion I believe. I’m gonna give Keith the edge here in this fight but that edge that I’m gonna give him, it’s in inches, it’s just an inch or two here. Maybe because of Keith’s youth, Keith’s power, but you know I believe Robert’s gonna be right there in the fight. I see Keith winning a split decision here.”
Thurman has shown crippling power in all of his fights even when he hasn’t managed to get the stoppage win. But as we saw in Guerrero’s punishing bouts with Andre Berto and Yoshihiro Kamegai on either side of his loss to Floyd Mayweather. The champ will need more than that to get the win in his inaugural title defence. Guerrero went toe-to-toe for twelve punishing rounds in both instances and ate punches to the head and body all night and was never deterred from returning the compliment. Thurman is no one-trick pony though.
What many people don’t mention when assessing ‘One Time’s’ ability is his movement. He has strong legs and co-ordinated feet that carry him around, in and out very quickly and good upper body movement to go with it. He retains a lot of whacks even when up on his toes giving angles, and that is what makes him so very dangerous even if he has shown a tendency to get clipped with the odd wide shot.
He can also be patient as he showed in his last outing, when he won nearly every round against the undefeated Leonard Bundu by pecking away and staying on the move. This is a trait very rare in a fighter so used to vapourising his foes with a single shot.
Guerrero, on the other hand, has become a stationary target since his ascension into the welterweight division. As a super-feather and lightweight the southpaw’s boxing skills were very impressive, and he had good pop. Unfortunately, the power hasn’t carried up and the extra weight he now carries may as well be in the form of cement blocks around his feet. He goes to war when we know he can get on his bike and jab away, and that desire to mix it up may be his undoing on March 7th.