Boxing fans can look forward to seeing some up ‘n comers and established faves gloving up in the next few weeks, but the weekend that is most vehemently circled on their To Watch list is the June 25 promotion to unfold in Brooklyn.
Keith Thurman moves a step closer to taking his rep to where he believes it should be, atop the ladder at 147. His nickname is “One Time” but I dare say most pundits are looking at this Barclays Center title defense against Shawn Porter as an occasion where he'd need more than one or two launches struck to get the W. Porter is not untalented, pesky and rugged, and Thurman I believe knows the degree of difficulty of his task.
Yes, Porter hasn't been stopped and people are quite curious to see this one. Porter (26-1-1) is the best on paper the 27-0 Floridian has met, while Thurman is now lumped in the same general talent class as Kell Brook. Porter lost a decision to Brook and the IBF 147 title when they rumbled in August 2014.
Lou Dibella promotes the June 25 slate, portions of which will screen on a PBC on CBS primetime showcase. “The Thurman vs Porter fight is one of the most marquee fights you can make in all of boxing,” he told me. “The co feature is strong, the undercard is strong, the off TV undercard is strong, one of the best you'll see. That you can only see in the arena, there is no Showtime Extreme or anything. You know you have Terence Crawford versus Viktor Postol coming up, on pay per view, and this fight is on CBS, so that's great for fans. The Abner Mares (28-2-1) versus WBA 126 champ Jesus Cuellar (28-1) has a good storyline, too.”
Back to that Thurman v Porter tangle… Dibella says 147 is stupid strong, and this starts basically a round robin. Errol Spence is now an XL player, and you will be seeing meaningful tangles involving Danny Garcia and also Adrien Broner, and maybe Floyd Mayweather, soon. Toss in Kell Brook and Amir Khan into the stew mix, too. “There's tremendous star power there,” Dibella said, “all within the PBC sphere. These fights are very make able. And yes, Mayweather is lurking. I think maybe one guy emerges out of all this, potentially, to take on Floyd if he decides to come back. Floyd is not the type to shy away from a challenge. I don't think you can expect him to move to 160, and he's earned the right to not do that.”
Back to Mares…he came up second best in a runoff last year against Leo Santa Cruz so professional pride and standing needs restoring. Dibella says that Mares loves the throw down, is always in a good fight, and Cuellar is sometimes streaky but is often explosive. “Mares will bring out his aggressive style,” Dibella said. “I expect it to be an all action match. Cuellar is maybe stronger, and Abner is used to being on bigger stages.”
Tix are moving briskly, the promoter reports. “If someone wants the best sections, they better move quickly,” he told me. “I think people will want to be part of the experience, to be in the room.”
The room will see on the cusp guys Jared Hurd, and Regis Prograis and David Benavidez, “a beast,” according to Dibella. They seek to soon graduate to higher card status. 9-0 Jon Alonso, a 140, is taking on TBD, and Dibella raves about his upside. Let no one forget, as well, Brooklyner Heather Hardy wants to go to 17-0 on this night.
“From the moment you walk in the building, the fights will be of such high quality,” finished Dibella.
Tickets for the event start at $49 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.