Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter & Jarrett Hurd vs Oscar Molina
BY KID HERSH
From the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, came Showtime boxing on CBS.
First up was Jarrett Hurd (17-0, 11ko's) vs Oscar Molina (13-0-1, 10ko's) taking the stage for Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares that ended up falling off the card. In the first round both men were going to the body effectively while Molina was counter punching while moving around the ring and Hurd was pressing lightly (as expected per their styles). Just over two minutes into the round Hurd landed his signature punch flush; the right uppercut. The punch crumpled Molina to the canvas and had the crowd roaring as it came out of nowhere - even surprising me! Molina got up and finished the round but did take a bit more damage - again taking another uppercut near the end of the round as Hurd is vastly becoming the best uppercut puncher in the sport. Molina brought the fight to the inside in the second round, looking for chinks in Hurds armor. he would find none there though as Hurd is just as comfortable on the inside as he is on the outside. In the third round Molina was really looking to fight back and not just answer Hurds offense but get off first. The problem is that he is trying to outfight a much larger man who actually has better upper body movement than himself. Hurd is hard to hit flush to the head because he protects it well and also has that great head movement. So Molina started going to the body quite a bit - loading up on his punches to the body - in the third and fourth rounds with success. For the coming rounds the fight would fall into a rhythm with both fighters continuing the same tactics. Molina looked the worse for wear as he was breathing heavy. Molina found a home for the overhand right but it did not have enough pop to do any damage to Hurd. Hurd, on the other hand, was coming forward and fighting on the inside for the entire fight - reminding me of having a very similar style to the late great Diego "Chico" Corrales. Molina would fight his heart out but was simply getting beaten up as the later rounds rolled on, with his eyes swelling up and body taking a pounding. He was in supreme condition for the fight though and was about the finish when the referee stopped the bout prematurely with a minute left to go. Molina had next to no hope of winning but he was trying to either win or go out on his shield, pounding his chest for more right when the bout was stopped. In any case - one does not want to take the spotlight away from Hurd despite the premature stoppage. He would win the UD.
Main event time featuring Keith "One Time" Thurman (26-0, 22ko's) vs "Showtime" Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16ko's). The bout we have been waiting for! The first round was very tense and Thurman was ablee to time his man out as Porter was trying to track him down and jump inside with punches as is his usual style. Porter was looking confused as he got caught with right hands and uppercuts when Thurman would plant his feet and throw after running around the ring. In the second round Porter had it all his way though as he trapped Thurman on the ropes and pounded away to the body and head - showing great defense himself as he covered up well and didn't get caught with any bombs from Thurman off the ropes. The third round was very back and forth, with Porter not trapping Thurman on the ropes again until the second half of the round. Near the end of the third Thurman caught Porter with his first very flush right hand - with the shot buckling Porters legs momentarily. He held on though and made it through the round, even ending the round throwing shots hitting Thurman in return. The fourth round was a barn-burner for Thurman, as he seemed to time out Porters rushes and just movement in general. He beat Porter to the punch as he threw hooks whenever Porter jabbed. Porter even traded hooks with him in the middle of the ring a little over two minutes into the round and got his legs buckled again. Thurman has shown that he can hurt Porter but he is not discouraging him at all. The fifth round was more back and forth action as both men are landing right hand bombs and hooks but it's all in spurts with good ebb and flow action back and forth. In the sixth round Thurman started out coming forward as usual but the majority of the round was fought this way - with Porter backing up and actually out boxing Thurman. Thurman was really trying to find his way in the seventh, not finding it, and then getting back into a rhythm finally in the final minute of the eighth round. Porter got sloppy in the final minute of the eighth as he was jumping around with jittery footwork but getting too sloppy and timed out by Thurman as he planted his feet and bombed away. In the ninth round Thurman finally started to tire and Porter was taking over the fight with his superior stamina and conditioning. Thurman was bleeding over the left eye from a punch and breathing very heavy by the end of the ninth. In the tenth round we saw a Floyd Patterson gazelle punch from Porter that didn't land but once again we had an amazing round as both fighters slugged it out for the final minute of the round. Fight of the year!! The eleventh round was a good one for Thurman as he stayed on the outside more and picked his punches but really both the eleventh and the twelfth rounds were tough ones to score. They could have swung either way. I was surprised that Porter let off the gas, seemingly, in the championship rounds when he really needed them to keep momentum going. I believe that was because he was getting caught with huge shots when he was pressing harder. The cards came in 115-113 UD for Thurman as the fans booed but really this is the type of fight where you could swing it either way for either man.