This Saturday night, on March 4th at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, two of boxing’s biggest stars will put their belts, and perhaps more importantly, their undefeated records on the line in a match to decide who will take over the mantle of king of boxing’s prodigious 147lb division. Floridian Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman will put his WBA world title on the line against WBC champ and Philadelphia native, Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia. With neither fighter yet experiencing defeat in the ring, both men are supremely confident of emerging victorious on Saturday night, not only unifying two of the most established belts in boxing, but also being crowned the new welterweight king.
Despite not being a fully established welterweight like his opponent Keith Thurman, former 140lb unified kingpin Danny Garcia comes into this fight with a literal who’s who of former world-class opponents filling up his resume. Hall of fame candidate and all-time great Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales, murderous Argentine puncher Lucas Matthysse, and new Manny Pacquiao opponent Amir Khan have all been among the many casualties of ‘Swift’s’ impressive win column. While Danny’s climb to the top of boxing’s summit might not have been an easy one, his recent 140lb dominance, impressive resume and subsequent successful transition to welterweight have all shown that Danny Garcia is no doubt one of the top fighters currently in the world.
However, despite holding such an impressive resume, Danny Garcia has been on, what many fans believe, to be the fortunate end of some very questionable recent decisions. Razor thin victories over Mauricio Herrera and current WBA champion Lamont Peterson in Puerto Rico and Brooklyn respectively, have continued to hound Garcia’s credibility in the lead up to this fight.
Keith Thurman on the other hand, while not quite having the star studded resume of his opponent, has nonetheless been steadily racking up a series of noteworthy wins over the last few years. Wins against European title holders Jan Zaveck and Leonard Bundu catapulted Thurman into what has no doubt been the most noteworthy win of his career so far, a victory over former IBF world champion ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter.
In what was a thrilling encounter from start to finish, and a potential fight of the year candidate for many observers in 2016, Keith Thurman won a narrow, hard fought points victory over Porter. Thurman, who up to that point had been dominating the majority of his opponents with a remarkable 85% KO ratio, showed tremendous adaptability in that fight, peppering the more aggressive Porter with fast, blistering jabs and uppercuts which rocked the smaller man. Moving constantly throughout the fight and employing a terrific backfoot game, Thurman revealed layers to his game which were previously unseen by many in the boxing community before that night.
While both men have faced legitimate competition in their journey to get to this point, on Saturday night, both Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman will perhaps face the sternest tests of their careers so far when they come face to face in the ring at the Barclays Center in New York City.
The outcome of this fight will likely come down to one of two things, Garcia’s devasting mid-range body attack, or Thurman’s superior ring movement and timing. Danny in the past has feasted off guys who have tasted his power early and backed away just enough from him that they find themselves exposed to his ferocious ambush mid-range hooks. He is a hunter who will focus on his prepared body attack in order to catch opponents in the later rounds and ruthlessly finish them. Thurman however, has power of his own, and apart from Lucas Matthysse, Danny has never been in the ring with someone who hits quite as hard as Keith Thurman. More importantly however, Thurman rarely fights from mid-range, preferring instead to either finish opponents up-close like he has done in the past, or use his superior foot movement, combined with a solid jab to effectively outbox opponents, such as that shown against Shawn Porter. Garcia in the past has been susceptible to this ‘outside’ style, getting continually outmaneuvered by more fluid fighters like Ashley Theophane and Lamont Peterson in their previous fights against the WBC champ.
Overall, while Danny Garcia certainly has the power to make this an early night for Keith Thurman, I believe ‘One Time’s’ more advanced technical skills and keen ring generalship should prove too much for Danny come Saturday.
Pick: Keith Thurman by Decision
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