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March 4th, 2017

Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia: Fight preview and prediction

Collin Huguley @CollinHuguley
Thurman-Garcia

Keith Thurman (right) and Danny Garcia (left) will meet on Saturday night to unify their welterweight titles. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hafey/PBC

On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a new king will rise in boxing’s most talent-rich division.

WBA welterweight champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KO’s) will fight WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-0, 19 KO’s) will face off to unify their titles in a fight that is everything one can want from boxing.

Not to mention that it is also a great style match-up.

Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KO’s) vs. Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KO’s)

WBA/WBC welterweight title unification
Thurman-Garcia

Brooklyn will be home to one of the biggest fights of 2017 on Saturday night. Mandatory Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

This is a fight that features two champions in the prime of their careers and each has the tools that could exploit the other’s weaknesses.

Thurman, 28, is an extremely skilled boxer and great puncher that is coming off of the best win of his career. In June, Thurman defeated Shawn Porter by close, unanimous decision in an action-packed battle.

Thurman showed in that fight that he was not only the skilled, big puncher that we knew,  but that he also has a big heart and could dig deep against a great opponent. Thurman excels against come-forward, flat-footed fighters, as they usually play into his hands, and Garcia is one of those.

His great lateral movement and ability to fight on the outside has made him very successful and allowed him to land big power shots at range.

Garcia, however, has a great weapon for which Thurman is vulnerable: the left hook, particularly to the body.

That punch is Garcia’s calling card, as it came to light when he used it to score a heavy knockdown against Amir Khan in 2012 and it led to him knocking Khan out.  He throws that punch very well to the body, where Thurman has been hurt in the past against Porter and, notably, Luis Collazo in their 2015 fight.

What Garcia lacks in elite movement, he makes up for with excellent ring IQ. Garcia is still a very good, smart boxer that throws hard, accurate punches and counters well. When moving forward, he has been able to keep big punchers at bay, as he did with Lucas Matthysse. He has also had success against big punchers in the past due to his granite chin.

When the puncher is on the back foot, their power is lessened. That makes it even easier for the very tough Garcia to absorb big power.

Garcia’s resume is superior to that of Thurman’s. In addition to wins over Khan and Matthysse, Garica also holds wins over names such as Lamont Peterson, Zab Judah, Erik Morales, and Kendall Holt. He also unified titles in the junior welterweight division.

But Thurman is considered the more skilled fighter and has been the more established welterweight, making him the slight favorite to many.

This is a true pick ’em fight. There is a wide range of outcomes and none of them would be all that surprising.

But I have narrowed it down to two most likely results, in my opinion: A late Garcia KO or a Thurman decision victory.

Garcia has been vulnerable to being outboxed in past fights against Peterson and Mauricio Herrera, while Thurman has been able to be hurt in past fights, particularly to the body.

At the end of the day, I believe Garcia’s dedication to doing good body work will allow him to outlast Thurman in the late rounds and stop him with an accumulation of punishment. Garcia’s power has looked very good recently and his resume is superior. I, simply, trust him a little more than I do Thurman.

Prediction: Garcia by late-round TKO

 

 

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