Thurman-Porter on CBS is like a free PPV

June 21, 2016 3:07 AM
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Keith ThurmanNetwork television is treating fight fans to a pay-per-view worthy title fight this Saturday night when CBS showcases Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Championship (PBC) series. 

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY plays host to the fastest selling fight card ever at the venue. The main event features current WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KO's) who aims to successfully defend his title for the third time against his friend Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KO's). 

The 27 year old Thurman and 28 year old Porter grew up competing in the same circles and have even combined camps to train for other bouts. But both men seem ready to put that friendship aside for a night knowing that the winner will undoubtedly be considered the top guy at 147 lb, a weight class dominated for the longest time by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Oddsmakers installed the champion Thurman as a -200 betting favorite and the market immediately backed “One Time,” forcing bookmakers to raise the line to as high as -260 here on the Vegas Strip.

The take back on Porter should hover around +200 when he enters the ring as the underdog like he did in his win against Adrien Broner last June.

After beating former champion Paulie Malignaggi and capturing a world title in his win against Devon Alexander, Porter took a big step up in competition, and though he lost to Kell Brook, he proved to be elite. 

The champion Thurman has continued to improve on his level of opposition, beating the likes of Soto Karass, Robert Guerrero, and Luis Collazo, remaining perfect thus far. On paper, Porter appears to have faced the stiffer tests but rest assured this fight will be a step up for both fighters.

Thurman has shown to be a technical boxer with a high ring IQ. The champion turned pro at only 18 years old and has always been as cerebral as they come. His ability to adjust within a fight is one of Thurman's greatest assets, along with his accuracy as a puncher.

Although his power was more devastating against lesser competition, his better than 80% knockout ratio supports the “One Time” moniker. Thurman has power in both hands but he tends to keep them too low for my liking at times.

Porter is known as an aggressive fighter who throws a lot of volume, something he'll need to continue being against Thurman. The challenger will need to keep the pressure on for the full 3 minutes of every round.

Porter has always been at his best when able to dictate the pace and though his knock-out percentage doesn't rival Thurman's, he has shown to be extremely strong. That strength is most prominent when he gets inside and smothers opponents, making them ineffective in the process. His ability to overwhelm and swarm fighters is completely by design and affords him to opportunity to bank rounds.

Bottom line, these two fighters know each other well which is why I expect the bout to resemble a chess match early on. I also believe Porter will be the aggressor and though Thurman's punches may be heavier, the challenger's will accumulate. 

The challenger will have a speed advantage and that will make him much harder to land against. A look back at Thurman's past few fights show opponents who stood in front of the champion and were there to be hit. 

Also, I noticed Thurman doesn't throw short punches, he needs space to load up so as long as Porter employs the same style that's gotten him here, it'll pose problems for the champion.

Finally, above all else...the price is right. Other than the fact Porter has a loss on his ledger, I can't justify Thurman being such a heavy favorite. We have two pretty evenly matched fighters who are very familiar with each other, and though they display different skill sets, the level they present them is very similar.

Neither is leaps and bounds ahead of the other, and therefore don’t warrant being better than a 2 to 1 favorite.

Pick: Shawn Porter

Vegas-Runner is a professional sports bettor and handicapper in Las Vegas. He's been featured in NY Times Magazine, ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports, and more. VR was also in CNBC's Crime Inc. on Sports Betting and in the documentary The Best of It. You can follow VR on Twitter @Greek_Gambler. Email: VegasRunner@GamingToday.com.