Videos by David P. Greisman
BROOKLYN - Prizefighting returned to CBS on Saturday with a Fight of the Year candidate as undefeated welterweight world champion Keith Thurman edged former world champion Shawn Porter in a close but unanimous decision scored 115-113 by all three ringside judges.
The 12,718 fans in attendance at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the viewers across the U.S. watching the first primetime boxing event on CBS since Muhammed Ali-Leon Spinks in 1978 were treated to a slugfest between two of the brightest stars in boxing's glamour division.
Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) and Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) combined to throw over 1200 punches in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS event, presented by Premier Boxing Champions. The marquee showdown was a story of accuracy vs. activity, as Thurman landed 50 percent of his power shots, compared to 38 percent for Porter, and 44 percent of his total punches compared to just 36 percent for the challenger. While Thurman landed at a higher percentage, Porter was the busier fighter, throwing over 100 more punches across 12 rounds.
"One Time" and "Showtime" delivered as advertised, with the powerful sharpshooter buckling Porter multiple times, while the swarming and smothering Porter barreled forward to bully Thurman into the ropes. And while there were no knockdowns, the back-and-forth blockbuster never lacked action and culminated in a standing ovation in the second-highest attended boxing event in Barclays Center history.
"I want to thank Shawn Porter for a tremendous fight. He's a great warrior," said Thurman. "Defense is the key to victory. He smothers his punches a lot and makes it difficult for the judges to score. I was able to rock him with clear, effective blows and I believe that was the difference today.
"I would give him a rematch. It was great fight. He was a great opponent. Everyone was saying would he be my toughest opponent to date. I wasn't able to drop him but I did buckle him a few times."
The former world champion Porter, a perennial underdog but consummate gentleman, didn't complain about being on the losing end of his second close decision in a title bout.
"We worked hard, Keith is a great champion," Porter said. "My dad says to keep your head up. I think I won the fight, but I'm satisfied because the competitor came out tonight.
"We need that rematch. I know the fans want that rematch. If he gives me another chance, I'm going to work hard in the ring and leave with his title."