Dan RafaelESPN Senior WriterClose
- 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism
- ESPN.com boxing writer since 2005
- Five years at USA Today
NEW YORK — They’ve been pals since they were teenagers, but Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter did not let their friendship stand in the way of a hellacious battle on Saturday night.
In an old-fashioned fight of the year candidate, Thurman got the job done and eked out a unanimous decision to retain his welterweight world title before a crowd of 12,718 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
All three judges scored the fight 115-113 for Thurman, who successfully defended his 147-pound belt for the third time. ESPN.com also had it 115-113 for Thurman.
The fight was one of the most anticipated of the year, and Thurman and Porter delivered big time, going toe-to-toe for much of an intense fight.
It was the first main event televised by CBS in prime time since Feb. 15, 1978, when Muhammad Ali lost a 15-round split decision and the heavyweight title to Leon Spinks in a massive upset.