By Jake Donovan
Shawn Porter is well aware of the tough challenge that lies ahead. The unbeaten welterweight titlist defends his belt for the second time when he faces England’s Kell Brook (32-0, 22KOs) on August 16 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Any fighter would be foolish to look beyond present business. At the same time, Porter (24-0-1, 15KOs) isn’t one to offer cookie cutter answers or hide behind the ‘I fight who they put in front of me’ cloak that so many fighters choose to wear when presented with an on-the-spot matchup request.
As the undefeated Ohioan prepares for his upcoming Showtime-televised headliner, it’s natural that fans and media inquire about his taking on some of the rest of the best. After all, he and Brook reside in the deepest and most lucrative division in the sport, where any mix of fights among perennial Top 10 contenders would come out as must-see TV.
One name that constantly comes up whenever the welterweight race is discussed is Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. The Florida native has quickly rose to prominence thanks to his all-action style and general disregard for defense in his greatest efforts to deliver crowd-pleasing results. Such was evident in a breakout 2013 campaign, including knockout wins over previously unbeaten Diego Chaves and resurgent Jesus Soto Karass.
Thurman’s lone fight of 2014 was a water-treading 3rd round stoppage of Julio Diaz, which came one week after Porter’s four-round destruction of Paul Malignaggi.
Both fighters are advised by Al Haymon and regularly fight on shows promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. With few welterweights in a hurry to face either unbeaten rising star, matching the two only seems natural.
To his credit – and without looking past Brook – Porter agrees.
“I'll fight ‘One Time’ two times,” Porter exclaimed when posed with the question during a media conference call Monday afternoon. “I don't look past what's in front of me. But we've seen it all over the internet and media wavelengths, everyone wants that fight. I think that it would be an exciting fight, and it’s a fight that I wouldn’t turn down.”
The August 16 bout marks Porter’s second defense of the welterweight title he claimed from Devon Alexander last December. Brook fights in his first major title fight and second bout in the U.S.
Thurman (23-0, 21KOs) hasn’t fought since the aforementioned win over Diaz. The free-swinging welterweight, an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing squad, is tentatively slated to appear on the undercard of the September 13 rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, although no opponent has yet been named.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox