By Sam Constantinou Coulter
Come March 4th at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn two of the world’s very best welterweights will collide in a hotly anticipated unification bout.
Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia will put their WBA and WBC titles on the line in a fascinating clash of two undefeated fighters looking to prove themselves as the best in their respective weight class.
Aged 28 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Garcia holds a 33-0 professional record with 19 wins by way of knockout having fought a host of top fighters including the likes of Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero.
He is a very experienced fighter who knows what it takes to operate and win at world level. He really rose to prominence on a world level with his win over Amir Khan in 2012. Garcia displayed great timing and power to knockout the Brit in truly emphatic fashion.
Perhaps his most impressive victory to date was the dangerous puncher Lucas Matthysse in 2013. Matthysse is a vicious puncher who was fresh from knocking out Lamont Peterson when he took on Garcia.
Many (myself included) underrated Garcia’s technical skill and discipline and thought that Matthysse’s power and work rate would prove too much. Garcia was fantastic on the night rendering the Argentine completely ineffective from an offensive viewpoint.
Following the win, Garcia was expected to go on and solidify himself as one of the biggest names in the sport but since come under considerable criticism with many spectators feeling he is very lucky to still hold an undefeated record.
The likes of Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson can consider themselves extremely hard-done-by not to have claimed victories over Garcia. Unfortunately for Herrera and Peterson, they didn’t get what they deserved and instead Garcia has gone on to move up in weight and claim another world title.
Aged 28 from Clearwater, Florida Thurman holds a 27-0 professional record containing 22 wins by way of knockout. He is a natural welterweight with good power and huge confidence in his ability to beat anyone in the world at 147lbs.
Whilst Thurman does not possess the long list of top opponents that Garcia does he has been in wth some good fighters in his career including the likes of Diego Chaves, Jesus Soto Karass, Leonard Bundu, Luis Collazo and most recently Shawn Porter.
The victory over Porter is, without a doubt, the standout name on Thurman’s record. Porter is a former world champion who poses a serious threat to any welterweight and is not a man defeated easily.
The fight itself was a close one with both men standing and trading shots at times but the general consensus was that Thurman was the worthy winner on the night.
Thurman is a technically underrated fighter who is more of a boxer than a brawler but is capable of having a scrap when it is necessary. He has been regarded as a potential star of the sport for many years now and this fight presents him with the opportunity to go some way to validating such thoughts.
In terms of the fight itself, it would seem that the styles of the two men gel perfectly to create a fan-friendly contest. Both men are generally involved in entertaining fights and this should be no different when they meet one another.
There are question marks surrounding Garcia’s power at welterweight and if he will have enough to keep Thurman honest but likewise the knockout power showcased by Thurman earlier in his career hasn’t seemed quite as effective in recent times.
Thurman’s punches may have more of an impact on Garcia than Garcia’s will have on Thurman and that could prove the crucial element in the fight. Thurman has been hurt in his career though and seems vulnerable to body attacks. He likes to throw single shots and then get back out of range but at times will stand and trade.
Garcia will likely look to time his left hook when Thurman comes forward and will be confident of proving the doubters wrong once more with Thurman regarded as the favourite.
When it comes to predicting a winner for the fight it is extremely difficult as both men are world class boxers but the natural size and power of Thurman may well tip the odds in his favour.
For the winner, there are hopes of another unification battle with the winner of the equally intriguing Kell Brook versus Errol Spence fight.
Despite the retirement of Floyd Mayweather the welterweight division is full of talent and great fights with the likes of Thurman versus Garcia and Kell Brook versus Errol Spence leading the way.
There are also mentions of Manny Pacquiao versus Amir Khan and Shawn Porter against Andre Berto looking to be made for the near future. For so long the 147lb weight class has involved some of the biggest fights in boxing and that looks set to continue for some time yet.