Shawn Porter thinks it is high time for Keith Thurman to leave the welterweight division—the only division he has ever fought in—behind. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Porter, the former 147-pound titlist and now media personality, weighed in on the current absence of his one-time opponent on the current boxing scene. Porter, who retired shortly after getting stopped by Terence Crawford in November of 2021, recently recommended that Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) should permanently move up to the junior middleweight ranks, citing his age. Thurman turns 35 in November.
“I’m an advocate for my dude, I want to see him come back,” Porter said on his eponymous podcast The Porter Way Podcast. “You got to let go of ’47. Gotta let it go. You gotta move up to 154. Think about it. He’s 35, at the least 34, but we’re the same age, so he’s 35 years old, probably going on 36, that’s just too long and you’re not a little man. You’re not Manny Pacquiao coming up to ’47. You’re bringing yourself down to ’47. You can’t do it no more. Move up to ’54 and get back in the ring. That’s all I got to say.”
“And he wants to get back in the ring,” Porter noted. “That’s my guy. We talked before he got out here (in Las Vegas for Errol Spence Jr. vs Crawford).”
A former unified 147-pound champion, Thurman, of Clearwater, Florida, has not fought since outpointing Mario Barrios in February of 2022. That fight was preceded by an even longer hiatus, nearly three years, or July of 2019 when he lost to Manny Pacquiao by split decision. Thurman was also out of the ring for nearly two years between his title unification victory over Danny Garcia in 2017 and his majority decision over Josesito Lopez in 2019. Thurman was expected to face Errol Spence Jr. earlier this year but Spence opted to revisit talks to face Crawford instead. Crawford stopped Spence in nine rounds in their undisputed welterweight championship last month.
And Thurman’s absence from the ring persists. There was some talk that he would appear in a fight with fellow former titlist Yordenis Ugas in the summer but those plans have apparently been scuttled; Ugas is taking on Barrios instead, on Sept. 30, on the undercard of the undisputed 168-pound championship between champion Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo.
Porter then spoke about a potential fight between Thurman and rising welterweight contender Jaron “Boots” Ennis, saying that he would give Thurman “a shot” in that matchup. Porter then added that he believes Thurman’s best attribute, his power, has eroded in recent years due to the rigors of making the 147-pound limit.
“I’ve always believed in Keith’s power, but I do question his power now,” Porter said. “I’m not even gonna front. The only reason being when you get older, you get bigger. And if anything you’re cutting into muscle trying to stay down at ’47. I will say this, he’s always had natural power. I mean, leaning guys when he’s 14. But if you’re not doing anything to sustain that, how long is that natural ability there? I don’t know.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.