By John J. Raspanti
Undefeated welterweight kingpins Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia will settle their differences in the ring this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Thurman has won all 27 of his fights, with 22 knockouts.
Garcia has 19 stoppages in his 33 victories.
Thurman is speed and power.
Garcia is counterpunching and sneaky quickness.
Thurman was last seen in the ring nine months ago going toe-to-toe with Shawn Porter. The fight was close and hard to judge. His versatility won him the fight. He eked out a unanimous decision and called out Garcia.
A few months later, Garcia dismantled Samuel Vargas in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Garcia looked good. He almost always does, except when he fought Mauricio Herrera in 2014. Thurman was there to witness the fight. He got in the ring and jawed with Garcia.
Thurman punches real hard. His nickname, “One Time,” means that if he connects with one punch, his opponent goes night-night. Maybe a few years ago, but not so much lately. In three of his last four bouts, Thurman has been forced to go the distance.
He does punch harder than Garcia.
Garcia does a lot of things really well. His nickname, “Swift,” is self-explanatory, but he’s not really that quick. Thurman is faster. “Sneaky” fits him better. His left hook can be nasty (just ask Erik Morales)
Since Thurman’s defense is suspect at times, he could get caught with a Garcia counter.
Thurman can be cerebral in and out of the ring. He changed his style against Porter, and a few years ago, did the same when Luis Collazo nailed him with a wicked hook to the ribs. He adjusted his approach against Diego Chavez as well, turning more boxer than slugger.
Garcia doesn’t seem as brainy in the squared circle as Thurman, but all he does is win. He’s something of an overachiever. Garcia is boxing’s equivalent of the Oakland Raiders. (Just win, Baby!) His most impressive victory was stopping favored Lucas Matthysee. Garcia might be the toughest welterweight in the division.
So, who gets it done in the Big Apple?
I say Thurman.
I see this as a tale of two sets of rounds.
Thurman will likely use his superior boxing skills to get off to a lead on the scorecards.
Garcia will begin to rally in the second half of the contest. He’s gritty as hell, but so is Thurman.
Thurman will do just enough down the stretch to capture a hard-fought 12 unanimous decision over a hard-charging Garcia.
But you know what? Everybody wins.
This is what boxing is supposed to be about.
Two champions putting it all on the line.
PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS THURMAN VS. GARCIA
CBS, Sat. March 4, 9:00 p.m. ET