Thurman vs. Porter – The guys who like to stand over the fight game and count to ten, claiming the sport has been knocked out by octagons, leg kicks, and the MMA, probably missed Saturday night’s fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
I’m guessing that if they had watched it, they might have seen a glimmer of what boxing once was and what it can still be.
The fight game is dead? Hardly.
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter single-handedly gave it new life this weekend. The two welterweights combined to throw over 1,200 punches over 12 hard, busy rounds. And they were still throwing haymakers at the final bell.
Dead? Better check for a pulse.
How good was their fight? Thurman won the fight by close decision, all three judges giving it to him by two points. When is the last time three judges scored a fight exactly the same? Who are these guys and maybe we should start booking them now for all future title fights.
And it wasn’t an easy fight to score. Both fighters appeared to be rocked a few times, and both had their moments. Close fights are always tough to call.
In the final analysis, it wasn’t a fight as much as it was a resurrection, a well-timed comeback, a reminder that the sweet science is still alive despite all the ugly rumors.
The fight was shown live on CBS, which must have left the CBS network honchos doing a lot of back-slapping when the fight was over. It was the first main event televised by CBS in prime time since Muhammad Ali lost a 15-round split-decision to Leon Spinks on Feb. 15, 1978.
It was like a scratch golfer who puts his golf clubs away for 40 years and when he finally pulls them out of the closet again, he hits a hole-in-one on his first swing.
CBS tore up the course.
Dead? Look again.
And if the fight itself and the close, accurate scoring by the judges and the free TV exposure weren’t enough, both fighters – who were and still are close friends – showed class in what they had to say after the fight was over.
“I want to thank Shawn Porter for a tremendous fight,” Thurman said. “He’s a great warrior.”
“We worked hard and 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 competition came out tonight.”
Promoter Lou DiBella was almost giddy after the fight, saying it lived up to all expectations.
“Boxing needed a night like tonight,” DiBella said. “Tonight, boxing put its best foot forward. A fight that lived up to expectations and you didn’t have to pay $75 bucks for it? I love boxing tonight.”
As far as the fight game being counted out, according to “TV by the Numbers,” the fight drew 2.12 million viewers, beating out major-league baseball on FOX, which drew 2.02 viewers.
If a fight ever begged for a rematch, this is it. They should already plan for a trilogy.
Better put the elegies away.
Thurman vs. Porter