Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) – Keith Thurman was able to bank enough rounds early on, while effectively using his boxing skills and power to edge Danny Garcia and record a split-decision win and in the process unify welterweight titles before a crowd of 16,533 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Thurman (28-0, 22KO’s) was able to control the action early on, jumping ahead on the scorecards by mixing in his jab and power shots. Thurman, though, let his foot off the gas pedal late, but was still able to get past Garcia in a battle of unbeaten boxers in their prime.
The fight was an entertaining one, as both boxers were very tactical throughout the contest, but Garcia was forced to play catch up late in the fight.
In the end, judge John McKaie (116-112) and Joseph Pasquale (115-113) scored the bout in favor of Thurman, while judge Kevin Morgan had it 115-113 for Garcia. JMB scored the fight 116-112 for Thurman, who was confident he would earn the win afterwards.
“The judges are judges. I thought I outboxed him,” the native of Florida said. “I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was [announced as a] split, and I had that wide spread, I knew it had to go to me.”
“I was not giving the fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead, [and] we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals every round. My defense was effective. He wasn’t landing.”
Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs), a native of Philadelphia, also felt he did enough to win.
“I came up short tonight. I thought I was the aggressor. I thought I pushed the pace, but it didn’t go my way,” said Garcia, a former unified junior welterweight world champion aiming to do the same at welterweight. “I thought I won, and I was pushing the fight, but it is what it is. He was trying to counter. I had to wait to find my spots.”
Thurman and Garcia both came out aggressive in the first round, as Garcia landed some hard shots, but Thurman was able to rock him with a gorgeous right-left combination. He then appeared to buzz him as he delivered a solid right hand that scored.
Garcia, though, was able to jab midway through the bout, while countering Thurman with his left hand.
Thurman, though, started to take over in the fourth round, as he got his jab going again. In the fourth round, Garcia’s right eye was reddened and his long stretches of not throwing, hurt him on the scorecards.
Thurman to his credit kept peppering Garcia with jabs and right hands, but Garcia started to find a home for those lefts to the body around the seventh and eighth rounds.
In the 11th round, Garcia showed some urgency and in the 12th when it was evident that he needed a knockout to win, Thurman let him chase him around the ring.