As boxing fans do we have the proper level of appreciation for Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia? Neither are mentioned when it comes to Pound for Pound discussions. Neither duck opponents. Both are in the mentality of taking on all takers.
Thurman needed to move on from trying to chase Floyd out of retirement and focus on the task at hand. He did that when he disposed of good friend, Shawn Porter. The rough and tumble nature of the Thurman-Porter fight showed the general public that Thurman could be in that type of fight and go the distance. That experience should serve him well when he faces Garcia.
Like Thurman, Garcia doesn’t seem to get the love and adulation that other top fighters get. The confusing thing is, when you look at Garcia’s resume you would think he would be a bigger star than he is. He defeated Erik Morales twice, knocked out Amir Khan and won decisions over Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson. What more can he do?
This is what makes this fight intriguing. This fight is like Hagler-Hearns in this sense. You’re going to have two world class fighters fighting for their place in boxing lore. It has all the makings of a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.
Keys for Thurman Jr.: If Thurman wants to win this fight he needs to control distance and pace. He can do this if he pumps his jab early and often but he’ll need to follow it up with something. The man with the “One Time” nickname will need to throw more than one punch at time. He has the gain Garcia’s respect early in the fight by putting combinations together. The more Garcia thinks, the less aggressive he’ll be. Both Porter and Luis Collazo had success landed clean, hard effective punches in their fights with Thurman. With the power Garcia has, that could spell doom for Thurman Did the victories over Porter and Collazo show us that Thurman can win a fight in that style or did it show us vulnerability?
Keys for Garcia: Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. As pointed out earlier, Garcia is very experienced fighting under the bright lights. He must make Thurman feel uncomfortable. Cutting off the ring will be very important. That will help Garcia in two ways: 1) It could cause Thurman to stop punching and 2) put Thurman’s back on the ropes. If Garcia gets him on the ropes, he has to be active without being wild. Thurman has shown he can be hurt and Garcia has the power to do just that. If this is a street fight, smart money is on Garcia.
Prediction: This one is tough. I don’t see it going the distance. Both fighters could win by stoppage but I’m going to lean towards Thurman by stoppage in the 12th round.
Odds: Thurman -200; Garcia +160
Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut. Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook