NEW YORK: Undefeated Keith Thurman defends his World Boxing Association welterweight crown against Shawn Porter in an all-American showdown Saturday at the Barclays Center.
Thurman, 26-0 with 22 knockouts, took over the title after the retirement of unbeaten champion Floyd Mayweather and decisioned Robert Guerrero 15 months ago, then stopped Luis Collazo last July.
“My goal is to be known as the hardest hitting welterweight in the division,” Thurman said.
“I’ve been throwing power punches for what seems like forever and it’s a little weird. I can’t help but think about how this is my 20th year in boxing and knowing the longevity I’ve had, it has given me a new confidence.”
Porter 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts, suffered his only loss to Britain’s undefeated Kell Brook in 2014, costing him the International Boxing federation crown the Englishman still owns.
Porter has not fought since a unanimous decision over Adrien Broner a year ago, but that is in part because of a car accident in which Thurman was injured, delaying their scheduled March matchup.
“It has been long anticipated and it’s here. I have never been more excited to fight in my life,” Porter said. “I feel like if Floyd Mayweather comes back, he should fight the winner of this matchup.
“I believe that will be me.”
Thurman wants to dispatch Porter, Kell and unbeaten American Danny Garcia, the World Boxing Council champion, to unify the welterweight crown.
“It has always been my dream to be the undisputed champion of the world,” Thurman said. “I’m looking forward to a great performance. There’s a burning desire to have a knockout victory.
“There are real stakes on the line this Saturday night. Our careers are on the line. My title is on the line. My undefeated record is on the line. It’s a great fight and a great matchup.”