“Showtime” Shuts Down “Swift”

By Caryn A. Tate on September 9, 2018
“Showtime” Shuts Down “Swift”
In the end, I scored the bout 10 rounds to two for "Showtime" Shawn Porter. (AP)

Garcia had his moments, but he was never able to get off the way he would have liked, and Porter proved exceptionally hard to time…

Tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Premier Boxing Champions presented a world title fight between former world titleholders Danny “Swift” Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) and “Showtime” Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) for the vacant WBC World welterweight championship. The event was broadcast on Showtime.

In a move of faith, Porter wore green and gold trunks in an obvious claim for the WBC crown. Garcia was clad in his typical flamboyant leopard print in black and white trimmed in gold.

Prior to the bout, the commentators oddly discussed Garcia’s loss to Thurman as a “close loss,” and called out the fact that Porter stated at the last press conference that he felt Garcia was “exposed” by Thurman—yet, commentator Jim Gray said, Garcia “only lost by one point on the scorecards.” It was clear the analysts were making too much of an effort to sell Garcia, as in reality, his loss to Thurman was quite wide and one-sided. Just because one judge had a bizarre and downright bad scorecard (for Garcia) doesn’t make it true. Let’s remember how fights actually go, not what’s on scorecards.

When I spoke with Shawn Porter last week, he told me: “Beating Danny from the outside, making him frustrated, and making him come to me is just as important as being aggressive and allowing him to feel my power, strength, and relentless fortitude throughout the match. I think both are required to beat him.”

It turned out to be a prophetic statement.

The first round was highly technical, with Garcia landing slightly more shots in a close round that I scored for Garcia. Porter boxed from the outside, seeming to frustrate Garcia as early as the second round. Leading up to this fight, some seemed to have forgotten that Porter has excellent footwork and boxing ability (go back and watch Porter vs. Devon Alexander—he outboxed the boxer in that one, and has always displayed very skillful feet even when he fights on the inside), I stated in this week’s What to Watch column that I felt the difference-maker in this bout would be their feet. That did turn out to be a major factor, with Porter using exceptional pivots to keep Garcia from getting off his normally superb counters and cutting the distance with incredible foot speed when Garcia was back peddling. More times than not, Garcia’s feet were in place.

After the first round, Garcia’s nose was bleeding in the corner and appeared to be swollen all the way up.

Many of the Showtime commentators were quite biased for Garcia throughout the telecast, criticizing Porter for “coming in with his head” when he was simply bobbing and weaving to get underneath Garcia’s punches; claiming he was initiating holds and headbutts; and much more. Yet for those in the audience who were watching the action, we could see Porter outworking and outlanding Garcia in the majority of the rounds, perplexing the Philly native and working him over.

That’s not to say Garcia didn’t have his moments. His usual counterpunching was there in spots, but he was never able to get off the way he would have liked, and Porter proved exceptionally hard to time (Garcia’s best asset, in my view, is his timing).

Garcia periodically landed low blows that were not called by the referee Steve Willis. They came more when Garcia was frustrated, so it’s possible they were intentional. Worse, Garcia held excessively, and the ref was reluctant to speak to him about it. Later, when he did say something about it, he warned both fighters not to hold—when anyone could see it was Garcia who was initiating the clinches.

In round five, Porter momentarily switched to southpaw before continuing as orthodox. It appeared to have the desired effect and perplexed Garcia for a bit. As Porter continued to outland Garcia, Danny again landed another low blow that wasn’t called by the referee. Yet he spoke to Porter, seemingly warning him about his head,

As the rounds progressed, Porter focused even more on the body with vicious shots. Garcia landed the occasional hook upstairs or down, but the majority of punches came from Porter. To top it off, Shawn clearly displayed aggression, pressuring Garcia both mentally and physically.

In the championship rounds, Porter’s body work seemed to be paying off as Garcia had a pained look on his face and was bent over periodically. Worse, he landed a nice hook upstairs but there didn’t appear to be much on it.

In the end, I scored the bout 10 rounds to two for Porter. The official judges scored it unanimously: 116-112 and two cards of 115-113 for Shawn Porter.

Following the bout, Showtime’s Jim Gray spoke with Porter. He said, “I don’t make predictions. I made a prediction. I wasn’t leaving New York without this belt.”

IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. got into the ring. Porter said to him, “Hello, sir. This is gonna be the easiest fight in boxing to make right here. Do I look worried?”

Porter vs. Spence will be a phenomenal fight and may take place in 2019.

In the co-main event, Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) faced Cesar Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs) in a welterweight eliminator (the winner should be next to face Porter for the WBC title).

Ugas, a Cuban fighter with tremendous ring IQ, started off by focusing on the body. Barrionuevo, though, made it clear that he didn’t come to lose, and despite not being as technically sound as Ugas, he is a better fighter than perhaps he got credit for by the commentators. He attempted to disrupt Ugas’ range, which is a great idea for such a fighter as Ugas, and was periodically successful with that early on.

But, as the saying goes, class tells over time. Ugas widened the gap further as the rounds progressed, and while Barrionuevo never lacked for heart, he simply seemed unsure of what else to do.

One judge scored it 119-109 and two had it 120-108, all for Ugas. It’ll be satisfying to see this top welterweight finally get a world title shot, as I suspect he’ll do better against the elite in the division than some may think.

In the first bout of the Showtime broadcast, heavyweights Adam Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) and Charles Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs) faced off in a 10-round contest. Martin formerly held the IBF world title before losing it by stoppage to Anthony Joshua two years ago, while Kownacki is an undefeated contender.

Kownacki came out active, throwing a lot of punches as he typically does. Martin appeared to be throwing a lot of arm punches and had difficulty keeping Kownacki off of him, and as the rounds progressed, that issue increased and put further distance between the two fighters.

Kownacki had no such problem and threw his shots with confidence and seemingly a lot of power. His fundamentals also appeared to be more on point than Martin’s, and Kownacki threw often upstairs and down and kept Martin guessing.

In rounds four and five in particular, Kownacki’s pressure and activity were obviously wearing Martin down. Martin, the naturally bigger-framed fighter, held periodically in an effort to recover and buy time.

But surprisingly, Martin hung in there and actually may have won a couple of rounds later in the bout. The tenth and final round was a thrilling one: Martin was hurt, but held and came back to land a couple of clean left hands upstairs on Kownacki that seemed to shake him at the very end of the round.

Still, the result was never in question, with Kownacki landing many more clean shots and controlling the pace of the fight. The judges scored it 96-94 unanimously.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Casanovita de AhomeG 01:03pm, 09/09/2018

    “Swollen all the way up” by the end of the first round?! This is biased reporting and nothing more than cover for the head butts that came later on, more biased in fact than the “quite biased” commentators at ringside. It took at least two really solid head butts to get Danny’s nose “swollen all the way up” and to open up that cut high up in his scalp! Of course he “comes in with his head” and when he dives in head butts are all but guaranteed and yes he initiated as many holds as Danny ....that’s why so many of the tie ups ended with Garcia in a head lock. 10 rounds to 2?! That score tells more about you than what went on in that ring last night!

  2. don from prov 07:19am, 09/09/2018

    Good write-up and a good fight, IMO.
    I agree that Porter won, but wouldn’t agree with how wide you had it.

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