Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman both entered the building Saturday night unaccustomed as professionals to feeling the sting of loss in combat. And it was Thurman who left able to boast that he's unbeaten.
His smart pugilism, relying on superior mobility, gave him a split points win after 12 rounds of focused boxing, though not enough fighting for many, arguably.
In many rounds at Barclays Center, boo-birds hooted at the lack of throwing, but Thurman was being smart, if not offering up massive action. The judges saw it thusly; 116-112 Thurman, 115-113 Garcia and 115-113 Thurman.
Thurman came to the ring to “My way” and that was it. He did what he needed to do to get the W.
I had Thurman winning maybe 9-2-1.
Garcia came with the WBC 147 strap; he was 33-0 with 19 KOs, and told all that leading in that he was again fine with being the underdog. That role felt comfy to him. The Floridian Thurman was 27-0, and said leading in that his nickname “One Time” would be appropriate, and that Garcia hadn’t yet been tested by a true blue welterweight such as he.
Danny was 146.5 on Friday, while Keith weighed 146.2.
In the first, Thurman came out strng and hard and fast. A right buzzed Danny big time and Garcia was feeling it a few times. Great Thurman round…
In the second, Thurman wasn’t as good with his right but he landed. A Garcia right was his best punch yet. Danny was jabbing to the body, setting the table, while One Time wanted to land a nasty shot.
In the third, Garcia was timing the left hook better. They took turns stalking and agin, the action was tight.
In the fourth, we saw Thurman land a nasty left. The crowd saw it and awwwed. The round was slowish and tactical, but the crowd was into it. Both were selective in their shot taking. Danny had missed very obviously a few times, to the credit of Thurman’s defense.
In the fifth, Thurman was the more effective aggressor. His right was dialed in. He moved a good deal, but didn’t run, and got engagement when he wanted it. Garcia wasn’t perhaps as busy as his corner would like.
In the sixth, the crowd hooted at the lack of action. Too much staring. The round was ultra tight. Maybe Thurman won it with a power right in the last couple seconds.
In the seventh, Thurman moved a bunch and to his advantage. He slid and then engaged with power cracks when he chose to. Danny slipped a bunch but not all. Again, late, Keith landed a showy power punch. Good timing from the Floridian, closing strong.
In the eighth, more boos. Thurman had that mobility edge but the crowd said they’d like less of that. Danny was missing wide, obviously, and not throwing heavy volume. Both were staying focused defensively, and thus, this one didn’t get crazy, into trading territory.
In the ninth, Danny was plodding. More boos…Thurman was making Danny miss, often. Danny, too, is an underrated defender. They tried to trade late but both mostly missed.
To 10; the feet of Thurman won him the round. He had the distance he wanted, mostly, when he wanted it.
In the 11th, the crowd booed Thurman’s movement. Danny couldn’t catch the guy.
To round 12…Danny needed a KO, in my mind. He didn't get it. Keith stuck to the plan, he moved, and Danny was a step or two behind. To the cards we'd go after a solid bout that featured more strategy and tactical efforts than action.
HERE ARE QUOTES:
“The judges are judges. I thought out-boxed him. I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was split and I had that widespread, I knew it had to go to me.
“I was not giving the fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead, we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals every round. My defense was effective – he wasn’t landing.”
Thoughts on split decision:
“I came up short tonight. I thought I was the aggressor. I thought I pushed the pace. But it didn’t go my way.
“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.”