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Fight Picks: Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Fighters Network
03
Mar

Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia will meet on Saturday night at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, in a WBA/WBC welterweight title unification bout (live on CBS in the U.S. at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT and in the U.K. at 2:00 a.m. on BoxNation).

The 147-pound showdown pits two standout fighters in the thick of their athletic primes, with heavy hands and a solid boxing foundation, each unbeaten in decade-long careers.

Both men enjoyed stellar amateur backgrounds that culminated after both were runners-up in separate weight classes at the 2008 Olympic Trials – Garcia at 141 pounds and Thurman at 152 pounds – before turning pro.

Since making the transition, Thurman (27-0, 22 knockouts), a career welterweight, has left a trail of destruction in his wake. He initially won the interim WBA bauble in 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, when he stopped Diego Chaves. After three defenses, the Floridian was upgraded to full championship status. His last three fights have all been against former champions, besting Robert Guerrero, then stopping Luis Collazo and most recently, in June 2016, he edged Shawn Porter.



While Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) turned pro at junior welterweight, and after serving his apprenticeship, he stepped up to face Erik Morales in March 2012 for the vacant WBC throne. Garcia edged the Mexican warrior to win his first title. That summer, as an outsider, he stunningly stopped Amir Khan to add the WBA title to his collection. A rematch knockout over Morales followed. Garcia struggled with Zab Judah before a career-best win over Lucas Matthysse. Since then, the Philadelphia native has won six fights but flattered to deceive and has been on the receiving end of fans’ and media’s ire. To his credit, he’s dug out the wins and now settled at welterweight, winning the WBC belt last January, outpointing Guerrero.

Here’s part one of a Showtime “All Access Daily” video, leading up to the fight:

 

 

Part Two::

 

 

Last fall, it was announced that, after Garcia fought a non-title bout, he would face Thurman. At the conclusion of Garcia’s latest win, a seventh round stoppage over Samuel Vargas, last November, Thurman entered the ring and both men’s shared enmity reared its head to set the blue touch paper for the biggest fight of 2017 so far.

Online gambling group bet365.com lists Thurman as a 4/9 (-225) favorite while Garcia is priced at 7/4 (+175).

RingTV.com polled 30 boxing insiders for their picks:

 

 

Kenny Adams, trainer of 25 world champions
Danny Garcia to beat Keith Thurman: I see Garcia winning. He has the better boxing ability and setting him up. I think Thurman is a little overrated in his calmness (in the ring) and boxing ability. I think Garcia has shown that he’s very sharp. I think his sharp punches are going to take its toll on Thurman down the line. Thurman has a puncher’s chance but I see Garcia out-boxing him, I think a unanimous decision or a TKO.

Eric Bottjer, Roc Nation Sports matchmaker
Danny Garcia PTS 12 Keith Thurman: I pick Garcia. I think he is a more rounded fighter with no glaring weakness and he also has performed well against his toughest opponents. I think Garcia takes a slight early lead and does just enough to keep it, say 8-4 in rounds at the end.

Cameron Dunkin, boxing manager
Danny Garcia PTS 12 Keith Thurman: I was so big on Garcia and now I’m not so sure. Garcia is a winner and then I saw Thurman almost lose to (Luis) Collazo; he was in trouble (from a bodyshot). Thurman’s not the bravest guy in the world and Danny Garcia’s not afraid of nothing and he’s real. He’s got guts. He’s a Philadelphia guy. I’m going to go with Danny Garcia on points, 115-113. I think it’s going to be nip-and-tuck.

Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine, www.15rounds.com
Keith Thurman UD 12 Danny Garcia: It’s a mistake to underestimate Danny Garcia. Just ask Lucas Matthysse and Amir Khan but Keith Thurman knows that. There’s more to Thurman than punching power. He’s smart and he’ll have to be to nullify Garcia’s counter-punching with careful footwork and a consistent jab throughout a bout that figures to be close and controversial.

Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest/TheSweetScience.com
Danny Garcia SD 12 Keith Thurman: With U.S. boxing viewership in decline, efforts are being made to produce rivalries and lucrative rematches. Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman have an opportunity to build their PBC welterweight title bout into something more valuable than partial ABC unification. In fight dynamics, Thurman is the power and the glory, while Garcia brings elite experience and world-class counter-punching ability to the dance. Thurman will look to keep Garcia at distance, creating from arm’s length, dropping in critical blows “One Time” hopes will hurt Garcia and discourage his attack. Missing more than hitting with wide left hooks, “DSG” will do his best work in-close, clipping Thurman with crafty counters and body blows. Apparently ignoring Thurman’s more effective aggression, I say the judges will award Garcia another controversial decision win at the Barclays, setting up the sequel(s). If Thurman’s fists don’t knock the judges out of the equation, his “0” could be sacrificed to the altar of trilogy.

Sean Gibbons, Zanfer Promotions matchmaker
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: I like bigger, stronger Keith Thurman. He can punch and I think that keeps Danny on his heels and he looks to box more and defense first. It should be a solid fight but Thurman by decision.

Brad Goodman, Top Rank Promotions matchmaker
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: Great fight! It’s so hard to call. Thurman is a stud and Garcia is underrated and a winner and feeds off his dad’s antics. I lean towards Thurman, just from his fight with porter. That win is equivalent to Garcia’s last three fights, in which he looked ordinary and, before that, had a questionable win vs. (Lamont) Peterson. Thurman hasn’t fought anyone besides Porter, for that matter, as well. People knock Thurman about getting hurt to body by Collazo but, at the end of day, he was able to survive it and adjust. That body shot would’ve doubled anyone over. I just feel Thurman controls his emotions a little bit better and his confidence is high now from win with porter, so I lean slightly towards him but that doesn’t mean tomorrow I’ll lean towards Garcia. It’s a great fight and can’t wait to see it.

Tom Gray, RingTV.com
Keith Thurman SD 12 Danny Garcia: I came very close to picking Danny Garcia here because, in both of his defining fights, against Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse, I picked against him. Why break the habit of a lifetime, right? The difference on this occasion, though, is that the fight is at 147 pounds and I believe that Thurman is the bigger, stronger man. Garcia, if he’s on the top of his game, will be a serious problem technically and Thurman is sure to be tested. With that said, I just think Garcia is due to run out of luck. I won’t be surprised if it’s a controversial decision in favor of Thurman but I do think he’ll get the win.

Lee Groves, RingTV.com
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: The Porter fight proved that “One Time” can defeat a highly-motivated and high-grade opponent in his physical prime, something Garcia hasn’t faced since fighting Lucas Matthysse nearly three-and-a-half years ago. Thus, I believe Thurman is better prepared to face this kind of challenge than Garcia simply because of the level of opposition each has faced of late. Based on recent history, this fight should go the entire 12 rounds and I believe Thurman’s all-around game, better accuracy and superior shot-for-shot power at the weight will result in a points victory.

Robert Guerrero, former world champion who has faced both Thurman and Garcia
Keith Thurman UD 12 Danny Garcia: I see Thurman winning a close flight. Danny Garcia will have his moments but Thurman will find a way to win. Thurman by unanimous decision.

Andreas Hale, KnockoutNation.com
Keith Thurman UD12 Danny Garcia: This fight feels like it is long overdue but the result has never changed for me, despite what they have done in their previous fights. Thurman is an underrated boxer and Garcia has struggled a bit with opponents who can box. With Garcia’s over-reliance on the counter hook, I fully expect that Thurman will start off quickly and take a few rounds before Garcia realizes that he’s behind and needs to ramp up the action. By then, there will likely be a firefight in the middle rounds and Thurman may put Garcia on his backside or simply force him to respect his power. Either way, Thurman will keep things exciting because he does have a penchant to get hit too often by punches he should see coming but will walk away with a unanimous decision in a fight that heats up late.

Ricky Hatton, former two-division world champion
Danny Garcia KO Keith Thurman: Great fight. Both unbeaten, both decent punchers – a genuine 50/50 fight. I lean slightly to Garcia by knockout.

Rocky Juarez, former world title challenger
Danny Garcia KO 8 Keith Thurman: For me, I like Keith Thurman’s style better but I believe Garcia will win the fight. It’s just a hunch, just because of styles, as I say I like his style better, but he does fight with his hands down and Garcia has perfect timing. He catches these guys at the same time as they throw. I just believe he’s gonna catch Thurman with the left hook and win the fight by, I wanna say, the eighth round by stoppage.

Gary Lockett, trainer of up-and-coming Liam Williams
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: Garcia has had a good run but I just think that Thurman is the better all-around fighter and that’ll show on the night.

Duke McKenzie, former three-division world champion
Keith Thurman UD 12 Danny Garcia: I can’t make a case for Garcia winning. Garcia is a good a puncher but one-dimensional. Thurman has it all, a highly accomplished boxer-fighter, who won’t be drawn into a punching match, a crafty ring general. I see a UD Thurman.

Jolene Mizzone, Main Events matchmaker
Danny Garcia UD 12 Keith Thurman: This is a great pick ’em fight but I have to go for Danny. He performs much better when he is in with better competition. He also had two fights last year, where Thurman only had one fight.

Diego M. Morilla, TheSweetScience.com, ThePrizefighters.com
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: Let’s face it: Danny is due to lose. And not only because his father’s big mouth makes us wish for him to finally learn a lesson in the form of a humiliating defeat. But rather because he has grown accustomed to fighting barely at the level of his opponent and getting away with it, and that’s no way to convince anyone that he’ll be able to defeat a strong, powerful and motivated champion like Thurman. Sure, Thurman has all the vulnerabilities that Garcia could easily exploit in his favor to earn another win but it’s hard to envision Danny surviving the kind of back-and-forth action that Thurman endured and overcame against Shawn Porter and others. It will be a tough, fast-paced fight in which Thurman will probably allow Garcia to steal a few rounds with his great counter-punching skills. But in the end, “One Time” will put the pressure on the right moments, during the fight, to earn a solid victory by unanimous decision.

Marty Mulcahey, UCNlive.com
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: My gut keeps telling me Danny Garcia will edge this fight and maybe my disdain for Garcia’s father is blurring that judgement as well However, I think this fight fall into the “good big man beats good little man” category, with Thurman wearing down Garcia for a decision victory. Garcia has been engaging in too many tough fights lately and getting away with it against more ordinary opposition and not boxing, as he did in his prime win against Lucas Matthysse. Garcia takes early lead but Thurman starts to time and find the distance in middle rounds, scores a knockdown in championship rounds to seal a victory.

Colin Nathan, South African-based trainer
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: I think it will be tight for the first six rounds. Thereafter the naturally bigger and stronger guy in Thurman will take over. Garcia has proved to have a decent chin. He has been given some gift decisions but he is up against a champion who keeps getting better and better with each fight and has shown improvements.

Shawn Porter, former welterweight titlist
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: I think it’s going to be a great fight. I think Thurman’s going to pull it out. I look for him to win a decision. I think he’s just a little better than Garcia is, in every aspect of boxing. Foot movement, I think, is very key for Keith Thurman in this fight, as you could see – with me even – he moved a lot and was able to set up his offense through his movement. I think it will be even better against Danny Garcia because he’s not as agile as Keith Thurman is. You can’t put anything past Danny Garcia. He’s a winner. I think Keith is gonna win this fight.

John J. Raspanti, Maxboxing.com, Ringside Boxing Show, Doghouseboxing.com
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: This is what boxing is supposed to be about. Two champions fighting each other. 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. His edge in speed is important. Garcia will began 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-round unanimous decision over a hard-charging Garcia.

Salvador Rodríguez, ESPN Desportes
Danny Garcia PTS 12 Keith Thurman: This fight is the best with the best, the kind of battles that everybody wants to see and (end with a) standing ovation. I expect Danny Garcia, as I always do, to take the win for his career. He has a good skills, is smart, has God-given punching power, speed and body punches to affect a terrific Keith Thurman, that has never faced anyone like “Swift.” Should be a great fight and Garcia will win on points.

Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com
Danny Garcia PTS 12 Keith Thurman: Garcia seems to come up biggest in big moments, underachieving when the lights are dimmer. Thurman has a power advantage but Garcia may be the better boxer, his left hand counter being a tonic to a Thurman, who sometimes lunges. In what could be a messy fight at times, I’ll go with Garcia by the skin of his teeth.

Michael Rosenthal, THE RING magazine editor
Danny Garcia UD 12 Keith Thurman: This is one of the most difficult predictions in a while. I think Thurman is the more complete fighter but Garcia is the kind of guy who finds ways to win fights. My brain says Thurman; my gut says Garcia. I’m going with my gut. I’m going with the winner. Garcia by unanimous decision.

Joseph Santoliquito, Ring/RingTV.com/CBS Philly/Sherdog/BWAA President
Keith Thurman PTS 12 Danny Garcia: Thurman, I think, has too much firepower for Garcia. Thurman has taken on much tougher opponents over the last two years, and that can only make a fighter sharper and better. Garcia, on the other hand, I don’t think has pushed himself the way he could. It should be a great fight.

Jessie Vargas, former two-division world champion
Danny Garcia to bt Keith Thurman: I think Garcia may get caught with a few punches but ultimately I think he wins. He could hit the canvas but I still think he wins.

Dominic Verdin, RingTV.com
Danny Garcia SD 12 Keith Thurman: Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman simply do not know how lose. Well, come March 4th, somebody will have to taste defeat and it will not be pretty. Garcia has a potent left hook and digs well to the body; Thurman is not very fond of being punched to the body (but who is?). Thurman has the speed and can be awkward, at times, with his approach. It’s a very tough fight to break down.I keep going back and forth with this matchup. I don’t have a clear winner but my mind and gut tells me Garcia may very well take a close split decision over “One Time.”

Pernell Whitaker, former four-division world champion
Danny Garcia to beat Keith Thurman: I gotta go with Danny; his boxing abilities gives him the edge, I think. Great fight though.

Michael Woods, NYFights.com, RingTV.com, Everlast podcast “TalkBOX”
Keith Thurman D 12 Danny Garcia: Ain’t this a tough one! And ain’t that a good thing! We need these, as fans, as folks who adore the sport, these pick ’em fights, to remain relevant and pick up some lost momentum (*cough #MayPac cough*). Garcia is right when he states that he is underrated, doesn’t get deserved respect. Part of that is on him; he could have said no to, say, the Rod Salka fight…but the kid wins. He doesn’t look at all flashy doing it but he could use that feet-planted style and connect with showy hooks and get the “W.” Or Thurman could show that the increasing elusiveness and mobility he’s shown, the last two years now, pay heavier dividends in this mini-super-fight. I predict a 1-1-1. One judge sees it for Thurman. One judge sees it for Garcia. One sees it tied: A draw.

Hector Zapari, trainer of super middleweight titlist Gilberto Ramirez
Keith Thurman to beat Danny Garcia: Thurman will win. He has better ability and good power and his difficult to hit. I think Thurman will win on points but he could get the KO in the late rounds.

 

 

 

 

Final tally: 16-13-1 in favor of Keith Thurman to win Saturday’s welterweight unification match against Danny Garcia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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