KEITH THURMAN has expressed his affection for welterweight rival Shawn Porter, but has vowed to knock him out when they meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 25.
The unbeaten 27-year-old was scheduled to defend his WBA welterweight title against Porter on March 13, but the fight was postponed after Thurman suffered minor injuries in a car crash.
The pair go way back, to their amateur days – and even their respective trainers Dan Birmingham and Kenny Porter are friends – but Thurman insists all that will be put to one side come fight night.
“Get your tickets. Get your seats. Get your popcorn. Whatever you need to do. This is going to be a fight you don’t want to miss,” he said.
“This is going to be a knockout you don’t want to miss. I love you Shawn, but I’m doing my best to put you to sleep.
“Our two teams go way back. This is the most beautiful moment of my professional career and I’m about to compete with somebody I grew up with. I’m happy for my success and I’m happy for Shawn’s success. We come from the same boat. When you’re a young kid in the gym training and then you’re here today, that takes a special kind of person. Shawn and I are both that kind of person.
“June 25, my friend is about to become my enemy. I’m going to treat him like any other enemy.”
With Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao having retired from the sport, top welterweights like Thurman and Porter are now vying for supremacy at 147lbs.
Thurman anticipates an eye-catching win over Porter before seeking out the other welterweight world champions Danny Garcia (WBC), Kell Brook (IBF) and Jessie Vargas (WBO).
“I anticipate most of the welterweight division being in attendance on June 25. The situation that division is in right now is that we’re all in a frenzy,” he opined.
“Everyone wants the spotlight and everyone wants to be the top dog. We all have that opportunity.
“I want to have two titles by the end of this year. People talk about replacing Floyd Mayweather, but you can’t become the man without beating all the people in front of you. One fight at a time.
“I want to stay at the top by grabbing another belt. I’m going to show that I’m the big dog at 147lbs.”