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Friendly Enemies – Most fights in Brooklyn take place in back alleys in front of small crowds. The fights are usually short and mean and involve things like baseball bats, knives, broken beer bottles, tire irons, booze and cops.

No one really comes out a winner in these fights. The participants just end up doing jail time after quick visits to the emergency room for stitches, bone settings and a sobriety test.

As far as getting paid, well, barroom brawlers always get stiffed because of a lack of paying spectators. Everything is free when it comes to fighting in the streets. They draw curious crowds, but no one needs a ticket and no one keeps time. There are no rounds, just ugly endings. It’s not a career, it’s a felony.

So when a legitimate fight comes along, the good people of Brooklyn line up to buy tickets. They pick sides, talk trash, call their bookies and they’re pretty sure they won’t have to watch the fight standing next to a garbage can in a dark alley.

When that same legitimate fight could be one of the best fights of the year, you better buy your ticket early or stake out your spot in front of the TV before anyone else grabs it. Because this fight is on regular TV.

Thanks, CBS. Where have you been all these years?

What makes this fight special is that it’s between two of the top welterweights in the world at a time when the division is loaded with talent.  World champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) of Clearwater, Florida faces former welterweight champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter (26-1, 16 KO’s) out of Akron, Ohio. Fight time is June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“Barclays Center makes this a big fight,” said Thurman. “We get to promote in New York City. New York is a fight town. My favorite fighter of all time – Mike Tyson – is from Brooklyn. This just happened to work out for the best.”

One guy from Florida and one from Ohio fighting for a world title in Brooklyn on regular, no-hidden fees on TV? Who said the fight game is dead?

As for the fight itself, you’ve got to tip your hat to Thurman, arguably the best welterweight in the world following the (wink, wink) retirements of  Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

“We’re going for the knockout,” Thurman said at a press conference at his gym in St. Petersburg. “We’ve stated it before. I have no problem saying it again. My hands are itching for a knockout.”

If you’re looking for a little more drama to the fight, how’s this: Thurman and Porter are close friends.

“June 25, my friend is about to become my enemy,” Thurman said. “I’m going to treat him like any other enemy. I love you Shawn, but I’m going to do my best to put you to sleep.”

Ah, friendship.

Thurman was asked why he hadn’t dared the 39-year-old, undefeated (49-0) Mayweather to come out of retirement.

“It’s hard to keep barking up a tree when you know you’re not going to get any action,” he said. “The old man’s old. Let him retire. I’m cool with it. He’s got his own legacy. Let me try to create mine.”

Is there a better place to start than Brooklyn?

Friendly Enemies


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