BOXING

Thurman Triumphs Over Porter, Joshua Pummels Breazeale

Keith Thurman Wins Decision in Fulfilling Battle With Shawn Porter

Sometimes the fights we look forward to turn out to be disappointingly forgettable. Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter was thankfully not one of those fights.

Instead, Thurman-Porter fulfilled expectations. It was a memorable clash between two young welterweights, each trying to make the case that he deserves to be the face of the 147-pound division.

Thurman withstood Porter’s aggressive onslaught, landed plenty of clean, hard shots and heard his name announced as the winner of a close unanimous decision. All three judges had it 115-113, or seven rounds to Thurman and five rounds to Porter.

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Neither man wanted to back down, though Thurman wisely moved away from the pressuring Porter at times, trying to make Porter reset and trying to keep off the ropes, where Porter was able to do his best work. Early on, Thurman sought to use Porter’s aggression against him, landing crisp counters as Porter approached. A good left hook from Thurman had Porter holding for a moment in the fourth. That round ended with Porter bleeding from a cut just outside of his left eye.

But Porter was also getting punches in, digging to the body and coming back upstairs when he had Thurman in close range. A Porter left hook to the body in the eighth round temporarily put Thurman in retreat. In the ninth, a cut opened over Thurman’s left eye, though replays showed it came from a clash of heads.

They continued to exchange for the rest of the fight, as they had done for the entire night. CompuBox had Porter landing 236 shots, while Thurman landed 235. Thurman landed more power punches with 203, while Porter had 177.

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The official scorecards wound up being as close as those unofficial statistics suggested. Two judges had it 76-76 after eighth rounds while the third had it 77-75 for Thurman. The final four rounds proved important. Thurman won three of them in the eyes of two judges, and he won two of them in the eyes of the other, giving him the kind of close win that comes without controversy.

Thurman moved to 27-0 with 22 knockouts. His next fight will likely be against his mandatory challenger, David Avanesyan, whose biggest win to date was the one that landed him the title shot. Avanesyan fought Shane Mosley this past March, picking up a unanimous decision over the faded 44-year-old former champ.

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Thurman’s aiming for bigger things after Avanesyan. There are three other titleholders at 147 right now, all hoping to take over where Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao left off. Kell Brook, who gave Porter his first pro loss two years ago, is expected to have a unification fight with fellow titleholder Jessie Vargas in late August or early September. Danny Garcia, who outpointed Robert Guerrero to win a vacant belt in January, hasn’t scheduled his first defense just yet. Thurman called Garcia out by name both before and after the Porter fight.

Porter fell to 26-2-1 with 16 KOs. His only losses were to Brook and Thurman. While those defeats mean he’s not among the best at 147, he should still be considered a good contender who deserves another significant opportunity. Even if he’s not in with any of the other titleholders any time soon, welterweight is a packed division. The list of names not yet mentioned who Porter could face includes Andre Berto, Tim Bradley, Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson.

 

 

Anthony Joshua Breaks Down Dominic Breazeale Over Seven Rounds

Anthony Joshua’s most recent fight lasted a lot longer than his previous one. But as with April’s two-round knockout of Charles Martin, which earned him a heavyweight title, Joshua didn’t lose a single moment of his first defense, a seventh-round stoppage victory of Dominic Breazeale.

Joshua and Breazeale had a few things in common. They are both quite tall for heavyweights: Joshua is listed at 6-foot-6 while Breazeale is 6-foot-7. They were both undefeated going into Saturday’s bout in London: Joshua was 16-0 with 16 KOs while Breazeale was 17–0 with 15 KOs. And they were both Olympians in 2012.

But while Breazeale, a member of the United States Boxing Team, hadn’t made it past the opening round of the super heavyweight bracket, Joshua won the gold medal while representing the United Kingdom.

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Amateur results don’t always equal success, or a lack thereof, in the pros. But the way each looked while rising up through the paid ranks gave a fair indication for how things would go. Joshua is fast and powerful and able to use his tremendous physical gifts to make up for what flaws there are as he continues to grow. Breazeale has size and heart but appears be much further behind in his own development. Breazeale looks limited, while Joshua seems to have plenty of potential.

Breazeale was successful at dodging some of Joshua’s right hands in the opening minutes. Yet Joshua won the first round easily anyway without ever getting out of first gear. In the second round, Joshua made Breazeale feel his power, landing a right uppercut and a left hook that made his opponent back away. Breazeale’s right eye was already beginning to swell.

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Joshua continued to break Breazeale down, piling on the punishment. Breazeale gamely — and bravely — took it. He wasn’t able to land much at all on Joshua, and Joshua was doing his best not to get caught with anything stupid. Breazeale was successful at bringing blood from Joshua’s nose. That was about it.

In the seventh, Joshua scored with a right hand that had Breazeale looking for a soft place to find a momentarily respite. Breazeale beat the count, only to eat a right hand that backed him to the ropes, then a straight left that came from Joshua while he was in the southpaw position. Breazeale dropped back down in a heap, his resistance beaten out of him.

Joshua, now 17-0 with 17 KOs, may have a much better opponent waiting for him: Joseph Parker, an undefeated contender from New Zealand. He’s also aiming for a unification bout with fellow titleholder Deontay Wilder, who is 6-foot-7, has plenty of power and won bronze in the 2008 Olympics.

 

Jarrett Hurd Steps Up Again, Takes Out Oscar Molina in Final Round

Jarrett Hurd’s fight with Oscar Molina wasn’t originally supposed to be on CBS underneath the welterweight title fight between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. But when Abner Mares had to pull out of his featherweight fight against Jesus Cuellar, that put the two undefeated junior middleweight prospects into a coveted spot on a show that many would be watching for its highly anticipated main event.

Hurd opened up the broadcast with a bang, dropping Molina in the first round with a good counter uppercut, going through a phone-booth battle for several rounds afterward, and then taking over in the final three rounds before taking out Molina in the 10th.

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The stoppage appeared to some as if it came too soon. But Hurd was far ahead on the scorecards. Molina would’ve needed a knockout blow in the final 60 seconds in order to win. Hurd likely would’ve won anyway; it just came a minute sooner than it should’ve.

Hurd is now 18-0 with 12 KOs. He’s still young at 25, but he wants to join the other talented young fighters in the 154-pound division. Hurd said afterward that he’s not in any rush, and that the next phase in his development should bring fights with aging former titleholders such as Cornelius Bundrage or Ishe Smith.

Molina is now 13-1-1 with 10 KOs. After representing Mexico in the 2012 Olympics and then winning his first 13 fights as a pro, he’s now had a draw and this loss.

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman.

David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and “Fighting Words” columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing.”
Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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