By Jason Gonzalez
Brooklyn, NY--- The highly-anticipated matchup between the WBA champion Keith Thurman and the WBC title holder Danny Garcia was one that was too close to call, or so it seemed on paper. Prevailing wisdom suggested that the welterweight [147lb.] clash would boil down to the intangibles. Obviously both combatants brought a lot to the table, however, it was deemed that the victor would be the one that possessed that “it factor”.
Unfortunately the crowd of 16,533 that witnessed the two best welterweights in the world left the Barclays Center yearning for more.
Boos cascaded through the venue. Thurman-Garcia saw minimal exchanges that occurred at the end of every round.
At the end of their 12 round affair both Thurman and Garcia left a lot to be desired.
Thurman improved to 28-0, (22) after he was announced the winner by split decision. With the victory, the native of Clearwater, Florida added the WBC strap to his already growing belt collection in the process.
Two of the judges had Thurman winning by scores of 116-112, while the third gave the nod to Garcia with a score of 115-113. Maxboxing scored it the same for Garcia.
Fight fans alike can rejoice that there wasn’t a rematch clause in the contract. Even if there was one, there wouldn’t be a demand for one.
“I out-boxed him,” Thurman said. “I thought it was a clear victory. I wasn’t going to give the fight way. I felt like I had a nice little lead. I felt like we were controlling him.”
Regardless of the fact that Thurman entered the contest a slight favorite, the pundits saw it as a 50-50 type of fight that could have gone either way.
“I thought I was the aggressor,” said Garcia, 33-1, (19) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “I thought I pushed the pace. But it didn’t go my way.”
Thurman started strong, working his offense behind his jab. The counterpunching Garcia responded by going to Thurman’s body. Towards the conclusion of the first round, Thurman landed an overhand right on the temple of Garcia that badly staggered him.
Smelling blood, Thurman attacked in which he was swinging wildly. To Garcia’s credit he managed to finish the round on his feet.
This would be the most excitement that was seen or heard throughout the entire night. Garcia was able to counter Thurman to the body. However, he wasn’t inflicting sufficient damage on his counterpart. Garcia was able to work his way back into the fight, landing a solid counter right to the head of Thurman in the sixth. But Thurman utilized his underrated ring intelligence, to stay on his toes and backpedal for the remainder of the night.
“Keith ran for half the fight,” said Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer. “Boxing is about hitting. It’s not about running. Danny tried to be the aggressor. But Keith was moving around so much.”
Thurman pulled a page out of Erislandy Lara’s book, from a few years ago when he fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Lara retreated while Canelo pressed the fight. While most will say that Lara used constant lateral movement to stay out of harm’s way. Some will say that it greatly resembled a figure skating contest.
Thurman was no different, it just so happened to work for him, when it back fired against Lara. Angel drew comparisons to the same fight during the post-fight press conference. He mentioned that Thurman did the same thing as Lara but won. He questioned the difference.
But as Andy Murray once said, “You know a win’s a win. Yeah, I obviously would have liked to have finished it off the right way.”
Thurman would concur, it proved good for him, and that’s what matters. His undefeated record is intact, and now has two belts to show for it.
In the co-feature bout of the evening, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Erickson Lubin scored [154lb.] a fourth-round knockout of Jorge Cota of Mexico. With the victory, the junior middleweight prospect improved to 18-0, (13). A Lubin left hook spelled the end for Cota, who failed to beat the 10 count.