On Saturday, March 4th, Keith Thurman will fight Danny Garcia in Brooklyn, New York. This fight will be televised on FREE TV with CBS. The stature of this fight has many talking about the last time Welterweight battles were this anticipated. Many talk about Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns. Others mention Oscar De La Hoya against Felix Trinidad. Leonard / Hearns turned out to be a legendary fight. De La Hoya / Trinidad, well does anybody really remember this fight – B O R I N G! If we can get something in between, I think we will all enjoy this Saturday night.
There are a lot of similarities with these fighters. Both fighters are World Champions. Both fighters come into the ring with undefeated professional records. Both fighters had impressive amateur boxing backgrounds, including national championships held by each.
This fight is much anticipated, and I hope it can live up to its expectations. I believe it can. Keith Thurman comes in with a 27 win, 0 no losses, and 20 KO’s. Garcia holds a 33 Win, 0 Losses and 19 KO’s. Among Thurman’s big name wins are Shawn Porter, Luis Collazo & Robert Guerrero. Garcia has big name wins against Guerrero, Lacas Matthysee and Paulie Malignaggi.
I don’t find much value in comparing results against common opponents, because styles make fights. Guerrero is the biggest name common opponent, in which Thurman knocked out, and Garcia beat by decision. I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from it.
Keith “One-time Thurman is a charismatic personality, and from all accounts, a good guy who is passionate about earning is place in boxing history. Since I met Keith Thurman, several years ago he has impressed me. One trait that I admire are his loyalty to his roots. When the man who taught him to fight at the age of 7, Ben Getty, passed away, Thurman stayed at the same gym and kept grounded with the focus to become a great fighter.
I first met Thurman at an amateur boxing show. He had recently been ranked as a top rated Welterweight. I asked him why he was there, and he responded, “I am here to support the gym I came from and give the kids encouragement.” Pretty impressive.
Thurman is a good boxer / ring generalist, with speed and power. He is also a student of the game. He moves laterally very well, and he ducks punches. The lateral movement is a much larger part of his arsenal. He throws a good jab and it often serves as a set up to his power punches.
Thurman has a good crew around him with his trainer Dan Birmingham from Tampa. If there is one thing I would critique of Thurman, it is when he throws combinations of power punches he tends to throw longer punches, and at times leaves himself open for counter-punching.
Danny Garcia is a boxer / puncher, from Philly, and is more aggressive in nature, and doesn’t use a lot of lateral movement. He has decent power, though I would say it is not overwhelming, like a Gannady Golevkin, or Canelo Alvarez. Garcia is patient and often wears down his opponents. He is not going to take unnecessary risks which could open himself up to counter-punching.
Garcia’s father is a former boxer and the lead trainer for him. He is not a class act in the public, often putting his foot in his mouth and even embarrassing his son. In the kickoff to the promotion of Thurman – Garcia the father made distasteful comments that had many wondering if boxing would revoke his license.
Garcia does not have many weaknesses in his game either. The area where I think Thurman can really expose is that while Garcia is a good counter-puncher, he is not great. An effective counter-puncher is able to transition from defense to offense in a fraction of a second. Taking one full second to block or duck a punch and counter with your own punch is far too slow in professional boxing.
In predicting this fight I would say the weakness I mention of Garcia is going to cost him the fight. It will allow Thurman to score points and win rounds. Thurman is too fast and once he throws his punches, Thurman will be long gone, moving laterally, before Garcia has a chance to counter. That same concept impacts the fight with Thurman’s weakness, which is leaving himself open when throwing combinations. Garcia doesn’t transition from defense to offense as fast as he will need to.
Now boxing training is fight to fight and the evaluation is always correctable. However, I don’t think the same camp is going to adjust Garcia enough to alter that dynamic, and as such I see Thurman winning by a large margin by decision, 116-112.