“One Time” Wins Big Time

By Robert Ecksel on March 4, 2017
“One Time” Wins Big Time
Garcia was as flatfooted and devoid of creativity as usual. (AP Photo: Frank Franklin II)

Thurman took his foot off the gas during the championship rounds, but he didn’t pull an Oscar De La Hoya against Felix Trinidad…

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 1 ND, 22 KOs), the exemplary boxer-puncher from Clearwater, Florida, won a 12-round split decision victory over WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs), from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to unify the titles.

Judges John McKaie and Joseph Pasquale scored it 116-112 and 115-113 for Thurman, while Kevin Morgan had it 115-113 for Garcia.

Fighting out of the red corner in red, white and blue trunks, Thurman relied on his intelligence and elevated skills to outwork and outpunch his one-dimensional opponent. Using the ring, lateral movement, and a sophisticated defense, there was no doubt, except in the mind of one of the judges, that he was the better fighter.

Garcia, fighting out of the blue corner in black and white leopard trunks, was the aggressor, but more often than not it was ineffective aggression, as he followed Thurman around the ring, hoping to land a bomb that would end it.

Thurman brought the fight to Garcia at the opening bell. Garcia was looking to counter, but Thurman was too slick a moving target to be caught, and too smart to stand there and trade. Thurman landed a big left hook a minute into round one, followed by a right that stunned the Philly fighter. He landed another right hand lead to the head. Then he connected with left to the body and a right uppercut. Thurman swept the round and looked terrific doing it.

His superiority was already showing.

There were ebbs and flows during the fight when dominance momentarily changed hands, but Garcia, who peaked when he fought Lucas Matthysse four years ago, was as flatfooted and devoid of creativity as usual. He does not cut off the ring. He does not let his hands go. He not vary his punches or their velocity. He has a limited arsenal. Despite that critique, Garcia is talented, up to a point, but was it not for the gift decisions he received when he fought Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson, he and his “undefeated” record would not have been deemed worthy to fight Keith Thurman.

Thurman took his foot off the gas during the championship rounds, but he didn’t pull an Oscar De La Hoya against Felix Trinidad, where the Golden Boy, thinking he had the fight in the bag, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Thurman fought smart, very smart, from opening to closing bell, and he boxes like a dream.

Of course not everyone agrees. There were some among the 16,533 in attendance who booed lustily as the fight wore on. They must have thought, insofar as thinking had anything to do with it, that if this is New York, this must be MMA. Imagine their disappointment. And then there are those who picked Garcia to win, who are obviously no more skilled at prognosticating than they are at writing.

To the surprise of no one, Angel Garcia, Danny’s father/trainer, saw the fight like the boo birds and dodos. 

“Keith ran half the fight,” he said. “Boxing is about hitting, not running. Danny tried to be the aggressor, but Keith was just moving so much.”

That’s the oldest excuse in the book and it has worn thin. Boxing is called the sweet science, for God’s sake, and for a reason. It’s not called rock ‘em sock ’em robots.

Is it possible that might matter?

“The judges are judges,” said Thurman after the fight. “I thought I 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 wide spread, I knew that it had to go to me.

“You’re not just fighting your opponent sometimes, you’re fighting the judges. They have their own perspective. I know I was backing up and being defensive. I feel like a lot of Danny’s power punches were ineffective. I was controlling the fight from the outside. There were some rounds that I was dominating. I knew that I had pulled ahead. We felt like we definitely earned the victory.

“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.”

Punch stats suggest the fight was closer than it appeared. According to CompuBox, Thurman landed 147 of 570 total punches (26%) to 130 of 434 (30%) for Garcia. Thurman landed more jabs, 45 of 295 (15%) to 41 of 212 (19%) for Garcia. He also landed more power punches, connecting with 102 of 275 (26%) to Danny’s 89 of 222 (40%).

Keith Thurman, as expected, was the better man and won the fight fair and square.

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  1. Moon Man 07:01am, 03/09/2017

    NICOLAS…Read your response. Of course Ali is going to love his grandson, and we can’t control who we fall in love with it. As long as two people love each other, who is anyone to condemn them. However, I don’t know if this affected Ali’s views on race-mixing on a large scale. Face it, mixing the races to create some sort of mocha skinned people devoid of any racial identity or loyalty destroys diversity. As Ali stated in his interview with Mr. Parkinson, anyone who would want to destroy their racial identity through mixing with another race is a hater of his own people. Mixing the races is not natural at all, that is why it has been FORCED through brainwashing and government mandates. I do believe there might be exceptions when it comes to relationships, but those are individual cases. Most people will always choose to self segregate themselves when left to their own will. Look at any workplace breakroom or school cafeteria. Totally natural and healthy. If you read some of Lincoln or Jefferson’s speeches in full and not cherry pick them, you will find that both stated that the black race as well, as the white race don’t benefit at all by living in the same society. The huge differences in each race, was a disadvantage to both people trying to live in the same environment. Seriously, multiculturalism has NEVER worked, it is a destroyer, and has never proven to create unity. Loving your people and wishing to preserve their culture is not a crime or hateful. Choose to think for yourself.

  2. Koolz 07:33am, 03/07/2017

    I watched this fight again with the sound off and well…I didn’t not think it was a close fight after all.  Thurman out foxed Garcia.  It looked like Garcia had not plan.  Thurman was in control from the front foot to the back foot.
    His so called Running was pretty damn Good movement.
    I think Garcia hits harder then Thurman though.  I could be wrong they might be about even on that.

  3. nicolas 01:46am, 03/07/2017

    MOONMAN: I was not surprised by the split decision. I had it 7-5 for Thurman. First being that I felt Garcia was the box office fighter in this match. There was only some 19 to 17 punches difference. I did as some others suggest felt that the match was kind of dull. Garcia’s big mistake was for me is that he did not really seem to want to win. I think his father was aware of that. If you read this, I also would like to know if you read by response to about Ali in the situation about his son, thank you.

  4. Michael Margolies 09:26pm, 03/06/2017

    In hockey when a guy doesn’t want to engage in a fight he “turtles” grabbing his opponent, and himself going into a shell.  When Keith Thurman didn’t want to fight, he didn’t run, he “gazelled.” Round and round he goes, where he stops? in his corner.  and when he stops? everybody knew, as soon as soon as the bell ended many rounds. To carry the analogies further, he resembled more a merry go round then a fighter, more a plane circling an airstrip waiting for clearance to land then a fighter.  I love a crafty defensive fighter, look at Joey Giardello, or Floyd Mayweather, who both made defense into art forms. What does it say when Thurman punched twice as much as Garcia but landed 1/2 as much?  In this fight it said, he threw a lot of punches outside of the zone he could hit Garcia.  Mr. Ecksel is right about the first round.  It was Thurman’s best, but really there wasn’t much more than that and maybe 1/2 of the second round.  I thought he used up too much energy for a first round.  Surely I thought as he came out for round two and then round three he must be one of these guys who could do that for a lot of the time, but sorry his energy was used on doing the gazelle. 
    You now what, it was a difficult to score rounds and the reason was that since Thurman was away for about 1/2 the fight and he threw all those impossible to land punches cause he was so far away from Garcia, - or is Mr. Ecksel making a point that Danny Garcia is a great defensive fighter with Thurman finding it incredibly hard to hit Swift Danny - in which case by the way, maybe Garcia should have gained the decision for exemplary defensive skills.
    It seemed not such a nice shot at Barclays boxing fans comparing them to MMA fans (who truth to tell I don’t know much about in person).  No I think we had expectations about Keith Thurman, who seems like a fine fellow but can you compare this to many well known welter weight fights which were top notch?  I don’t think you could name any.

  5. Koolz 12:50pm, 03/06/2017

    I just got caught up my boxing…both guys impressed me.  Thurman started to show every trick in the book.  Danny really can hit hard and it is very dangerous but who cares about him and his dad.

    It was a really close fight.  Who is the king at 147?

  6. Lennon Wards 09:03am, 03/05/2017

    The fight is so dull. Hit and not get hit is OK. But hit a little and run most of the time is killing boxing. Like it or not, most boxing fans want an entertaining fight. Forget those hardcore fans. They’re boring.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:57am, 03/05/2017

    Just pray that Spence doesn’t land anything….anything at all…. to the body on Keith! He fought the last two that way because he just had enough in the tank to move but not enough to really engage and….that body shot at the end of the tenth. One big problem when you’re in the other guy’s hometown is that the judges are always looking to reward the local guy. in Danny’s case with his iron chin the judges were obviously giving extra credit because he was taking Keith’s punches so well. 116-112 was the only straight score.

  8. Moon Man 06:53am, 03/05/2017

    Workmanlike performance by Thurman. While not the most exciting fight to watch, it was a clear victory for Thurman. How the judges had it that close, and even one moron scored it for Garcia, is amazing.

  9. raxman 12:06am, 03/05/2017

    Robert - youre continued one eyed support and praise for Keith Thurman baffles me.
    Keith Thurman is like a 147 pound Vlad Klit - he’ll do just enough to win with a safety first mentality that outright disgraces his level of talent
    The only pleasure I get out of his victory here is the knowledge that he is one fight closer to having to fight the real talent of the division ie the winner of Brook vs ( the still unproven) Spence jnr
    That lateral movement of Thurman you praise is almost running. IMO it falls just inside the line between boxing and running. That is its closer to Mayweather’s movement than it is to Lara ‘s. (I can accept those who deny that Floyd’s movement was actually part of his offence but no one can deny the stat of near 50% punch connection that went with it - compare that to Thurman’s 26% in this fight) The skill, speed and power that Thurman possesses is criminally under utilised by him.
    This fight did prove one thing… that neither guy is going to keep this division the glamour division of boxing.

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