By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Adrian Granados too often fought Shawn Porter’s fight Saturday night and paid accordingly.
A stronger, sharper Porter landed the more effective punches, often with Granados’ back against the ropes, and defeated Granados by unanimous decision in their 12-round welterweight bout on the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne undercard at Barclays Center. All three judges – Julie Lederman, Kevin Morgan and John Stewart – credited Porter with a convincing victory by the same score, 117-111, in a fight that included some entertaining moments.
Porter, of Akron, Ohio, improved to 28-2-1. Granados, of Cicero, Illinois, dropped to 18-6-2 and lost by unanimous decision for the first time in his nine-year pro career.
Porter, a former IBF welterweight champion, told Showtime’s Jim Grey after the fight that he broke his left hand in the sixth round and couldn’t use it as much as he wanted thereafter.
“He gave me a little trouble here and there,” Porter said. “I hurt my left hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it. I had to use my jab. It took a toll on me and by the 10th round, I just couldn’t throw it anymore.
“The strategy was to keep working the jab. I knew he’d come at me periodically. I was prepared and dug deep to get the win.”
The win in this WBC elimination match keeps Porter in position to get a rematch with Keith Thurman, the unbeaten WBA/WBC welterweight champion. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) topped Porter by unanimous decision in one of the best action fights of 2016, also at Barclays Center.
Granados dropped a split decision to Adrien Broner in his last fight, a 10-rounder February 18 in Cincinnati, Broner’s hometown. Prior to Saturday, he had lost only by split decision (three times) and majority decision (twice).
There was little doubt about who won Saturday night, despite Granados’ contention.
“I thought that I was controlling the fight and keeping up with him the whole time,” Granados said. “He was just trying to use his normal tricks. I rocked him multiple times and he never had me in any trouble.
“He’s a brute. I thought the referee [Gary Rosato] did a good job breaking up the fight at the right times. It was rough, but I definitely thought I did better than the scorecards said.”
Granados and Porter produced an exciting exchange just after the midway point of the 10th round. Porter’s combination snapped back Granados’ head with a straight right-left hook combination late in the ninth round.
An aggressive Porter trapped Granados against the ropes multiple times in the eighth round and made Granados pay for it with right hands and left hooks.
Porter landed a jarring jab early in the seventh round that moved Granados toward the ropes. A right hand by Porter later in the seventh made Granados move away from him.
Porter also battered Granados near the ropes in a seventh round Porter dominated.
Granados landed a hard right hand to the side of Porter’s head approximately 30 seconds into the sixth round. Porter took that shot well, however, and made the rest of the round competitive.
Porter snapped back Granados’ head about 20 seconds into the fifth round. Later in the fifth, Porter landed a clean combination that only prompted Granados to move toward the ropes and waive him forward for more.
Porter clipped Granados with a left hook at about the one-minute mark of the fourth round, again when Granados’ back was against the ropes.
Porter and Grandos engaged in two entertaining exchanges in the third round, both against the ropes, but on opposite sides of the ring. Neither fighter appeared hurt, but Porter appeared to get the better of those mini-slugfests.
Granados landed separate right hands in the second half of the second round. Porter came back to trap Granados against the ropes toward the end of the second round and connected with a flush right hand just before it ended.
Porter blasted Granados with an overhand right toward the end of a first round full of action. Porter drilled Granados with a right hand to the side of his head a little less than a minute into the fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.