First off, I’ll put it out there. I’m a Keith Thurman fan. I remember writing a piece for another site a few years ago where I said he was the future, and while I don’t think my expectations have fully been justified as of yet, he does hold a world title and his upcoming fight against Danny Garcia could further cement his legacy. Garcia is an explosive fighter, 33 wins and 0 defeats certainly is a record to be proud of, and when you look at the company he fought against to earn those statistics you begin to see why he is so respected in the ring.
So how is this fight going to pan out? Both fighters are unbeaten and both are known for knockout power, though Thurman is often referred to as the best KO artist on the current welterweight scene, while Garcia is perhaps more widely known for great ring intelligence. Both fighters have been hurt in the past and with Garcia fighting at 147 lbs a lot less frequently than ‘One-Time’ could it be that Danny feels the full force against one of the division’s best punchers?
Looking at their most recent fights the knockout hasn’t been the preferred method of victory for either, with decisions sealing the W in three of Thurman’s last four bouts and Garcia forcing a TKO victory over Samuel Vargas and going the distance with Robert Guerrero. With two hard-hitting warriors going toe to toe here, I see it being much the same. Thurman has been rocked several times and had to fight through the pain against Luis Collazo, Diego Chaves and Jesus Soto-Karass. All three hurt him and none of those fighters are on the same level as Garcia. On the other hand, Garcia didn’t seem to show his best when up against Guerrero or Lamont Peterson and neither of those men are really in the same league as Thurman.
When it comes to fight night the past no longer matters however and all of the effort poured out during training camp will hopefully come to fruition. I see a cagey opening, with both trying to suss out the other’s fight plan. Thurman has only gone the distance 4 times compared to Garcia hearing the final bell on 18 occasions. Could the extra experience benefit Danny in the later rounds? I don’t think so. Both will spend 1-4 working out how to get the upper hand, Thurman sending in the jab to good effect and scoring points whilst Garcia looks to use his extra ring craft to avoid the single punch technique that his opponent prefers and land with a big shot.
As the fight approaches the middle stages, Thurman will try and step-up the intensity as he looks to put Garcia away and retain his belt, but Danny will keep up the approach of drawing the champ into a brawl, where he restricts Thurman’s movement and aims to hurt him often. Thurman will keep scoring however and move into a lead, meaning that Garcia will have to go for the explosive finish but it’s that recklessness that I believe will end up determining the outcome of the fight. By sticking to a single-shot game plan, Thurman will have maintained enough stamina to outlast Garcia and wear his opponent down, making the last few rounds a points scoring formality. As the 12th comes to a close and both fighters raise their hands claiming to be victorious, I can only see Thurman coming out on top.
What next for Thurman? Perhaps a fight against the winner of Brook v Spence? A chance for Amir Khan? I would favour the Brook/Spence option, while a bout against Timothy Bradley would be a great one, for fans and the fighters themselves.