Keith Thurman edges Danny Garcia in welterweight unification fight

  • Keith Thurman edges Danny Garcia in welterweight unification fight

Keith Thurman edges Danny Garcia in welterweight unification fight

Thurman stated. "So, if you can beat me, beat me".

Thurman has won 81 percent of his fights by knockout.

But Thurman strategically was being smart.

Scores at ringside were 116-112 and 115-113 for the victor while a third judge scored it at 115-113 for Garcia. When the bell rang, Garcia hit the back of Thurman's neck and did not protest. It appears Garcia got rattled by what Thurman did in the first round. Over the past six years, Garcia managed to win such a serious contenders Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Erik Morales, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan, Mauricio Herrera, Paul Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero. That role felt comfy to him.

Ahead of their bout Saturday night for the welterweight title, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia discussed things during a press conference.

But Thurman will likely have a good chance to come out on top in Saturday's bout. He's one of my favorite fighters of all time. There was, nearly literally, no action in this "Leonard-Hearns for the new millennium" once Thurman was encouraged to play prevent defense by trainer Dan Birmingham. The Florida native took a unanimous decision over Shawn Porter here in one of the better fights of the year, one that attracted more than 4 million viewers. But a right hook to the side doubled Garcia. Lubin and Cota both weighed in at 153.8 pounds. Both were selective in their shot taking. Thurman was launching missiles of right that missed closely.

Thurman was the aggressor early, trying to work behind his jab. Too much staring. The round was ultra tight. Thurman gave away the sixth round before rallying in the seventh. Danny slipped a bunch but not all.

Thurman wasted no time in starting this match, launching wild power shots with little in the way of setup for the first couple of rounds.

The Brooklyn crowd didn't necessarily see the beauty that Mora was enjoying, letting loose a cascade of boos as the action slowed in the eighth and ninth rounds. Saturday I have an opportunity to unify another division.

The question is, should he get one?

Thurman was barely throwing, spending most of Round 11 circling and moving but seldom putting himself at risk. Danny, too, is an underrated defender.

Yeah, Thurman won and remained undefeated. He had the distance he wanted, mostly, when he wanted it.

By the 11th, Thurman had to realize he was ahead.

To round 12... Danny needed a KO, in my mind. He won this unification bout, though, by getting tactical and going somewhat conservative.

"The judges are judges".

"The judges are judges", Thurman said. "I thought out-boxed him". We had a nice lead, I could cool down. "I felt like we were controlling the 3-minute intervals in each and every round". My defense was effective.

"I came up short tonight", he said. "I thought I came back strong". But it didn't go my way.

This was a crossroads fight of sorts for both men as each needed a big win to get back in the high rent district of the 175-pound division. But it is what it is.