Thurman-Garcia: The Next Generation
By Hector Franco
March 1, 2017
BROOKLYN, NY – This weekend fans will be treated to one of the most anticipated fights in boxing. WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) will face off with WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) in a unification bout. The fight will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Since it’s opening in 2012, the arena has become synonymous with the sport of boxing. It’s a perfect venue for the Thurman-Garcia bout as both men have had some of their biggest fights in the building. Garcia faced Zab Judah there in 2013, and just last year Thurman met Shawn Porter in one of the best matches of the year.
Thurman-Garcia is a fight between two of the most well-known fighters in the sport. It's certainly one of the best fights put on by Premier Boxing Champions. Popularity is just one factor that makes the fight intriguing. The bout’s historical implications make it that much more important.
Thurman-Garcia will be the 10th welterweight unification fight in the history of boxing. It will be just the third between two undefeated fighters. The welterweight division is one of boxing’s eight original weight classes, and some of the best fighters in history have fought in the division. The last two undefeated fighters to fight in a unification bout in the division were Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad in 1999. De La Hoya and Trinidad were much more accomplished fighters before facing each other and a few years younger than Thurman and Garcia. These fights are so rare that the last unification welterweight fight between two undefeated fighters before De La Hoya-Trinidad was in 1985 between Donald Curry and Milton McCrory.
Thurman and Garcia hold the same titles that Sugary Ray Leonard (WBC) and Thomas Hearns (WBA) held when they faced off in 1981. That fight is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Putting it into perspective, there is going to be a large amount of pressure on Thurman and Garcia to perform at a high level. The style clash between the two men could provide for an exciting bout. There are factors involved that give both men certain advantages over the other.
Garcia is the former kingpin at 140-pounds where he unified the division with wins over the likes of Erik Morales, Amir Khan, and Lucas Matthysse. In January of 2016, Garcia captured the vacant WBC welterweight title with a win over Robert Guerrero. One could make the argument that Garcia has faced the better competition overall. Going into the fight with Thurman, Garcia has been the more active fighter.
Heading into March 4th Garcia will have last stepped into the ring in November 2016. Thurman, on the other hand, hasn’t stepped inside the ring since June 2016. Before that, he was last in the ring in July 2015 against Luis Collazo.
Garcia didn’t exactly face a top contender in November when he faced Samuel Vargas. But he at least had a full training camp and got some rounds under his belt. It’s possible that this factor of activity may be overblown, as Thurman isn’t known as a fighter who balloons up in weight between fights. Thurman himself has some advantages going into the fight with Garcia regardless of disadvantages in resume and activity.
Thurman has been a welterweight for his entire career and is the bigger puncher going into the fight with Garcia. The one common opponent both men have faced is Roberto Guerrero. Both men got the victory over Guerrero, but Thurman was able to knock Guerrero down and hurt him. Garcia was unable to hurt Guerrero in any part of their fight.
Garcia and his camp have stated multiple times that they will target the body of Thurman due to him being hurt in the past by Luis Collazo to the body. For Thurman, there are some blueprints out there to defeat Garcia. The Philadelphia fighter’s fights with Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson showed that movement could trouble Garcia who is at his best fighting at mid-range. Thurman has shown his ability to fight on the move in the past, particularly in his fight with Leonard Bundu.
Thurman-Garcia for all intents and purposes is an even money fight. Its importance is that it can announce the arrival of a new generation in boxing. The last welterweight unification fight was between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather has made headlines as a promoter as of late while publicly trying to make a fight with UFC champion Conor McGregor. Pacquiao is currently the WBO welterweight champion who may be facing Amir Khan next. These two men dominated headlines for most of the past decade leaving all other fighters in their shadow.
The winner of Thurman-Garcia has the potential to step out of that shadow. The winner can make the claim to be one of the best fighters in the world along with being the number one welterweight. If they produce a memorable fight, it could elevate both fighters.
All eyes will be on Thurman and Garcia this weekend. With the fight taking place on CBS the fight will have more eyes than are usually on the sport of boxing. When the bell rings on March 4th one winner and one loser will step out the ring. For boxing and the start of a new generation hopefully one of them walks out as one of boxing’s newest stars.
Welterweight Unifications (9) In Boxing History
Jackie Fields (NBA) W DQ 2 Joe Dundee (World) 7-25-29
Sugar Ray Leonard (WBC) KO 14 Thomas Hearns (WBA) 9-16-81
Donald Curry (WBA, IBF) KO 3 Milton McCrory (WBA) 12-6-85
Simon Brown (IBF) KO 10 Maurice Blocker (WBC) 3-18-91
Felix Trinidad (IBF) W 12 Oscar De La Hoya (WBC) 9-18-99
Ricardo Mayorga (WBA) KO 3 Vernon Forrest (WBC) 1-25-03
Cory Spinks (IBF) W 12 Ricardo Mayorga (WBA, WBC) 12-13-03
Floyd Mayweather (WBC, WBA Super) W 12 Marcos Maidana (WBA) 5-3-14
Floyd Mayweather (WBC, WBA Super) Manny Pacquiao (WBO) 5-2-15
*Curry-McCrory and Trinidad-DLH were matchups of undefeated fighters.
(Feature Photo: Amanda Westcott/Showtime)