Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Weight Class: Welterweight: 12 Rounds
Titles: WBC and WBA Welterweight Titles
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Keith Thurman, 27-0 (22 KOs), Clearwater, Florida
Danny Garcia, 33-0 (19 KOs), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Betting Odds: Keith Thurman -260, Danny Garcia +200
Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia will duke it out on March 4 in Brooklyn in a battle of unbeaten welterweight champions. The welterweight division is the deepest one on the sport and the winner of this fight becomes the clearest top welterweight since Floyd Mayweather stepped off the throne. Both men are in their primes at 28 and the stakes don't get any higher than this. The WBA champ Keith Thurman is a 27-0, coming off a win over the excellent Shawn Porter. Garcia, the two-weight champion, is 33-0. After ruling the roost at 140 pounds, he now looks for a signature win at 147 pounds. It's really a fascinating fight between two top guys who each bring a lot to the table.
After a distinguished run at 140 where Garcia beat Amir Khan, Erik Morales (twice), Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, and Lamont Peterson, he moved up to welter in 2015. So far, he has notched good wins against Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, and a tune-up against Samuel Vargas in November. Between the two, Garcia is the more-accomplished fighter, having beaten top opposition. Some may forget he was the underdog against Matthysse and he basically dissected him. There have been some iffy moments, as some thought he lost to cutie Mauricio Herrera in 2014. And he barely beat Peterson. But when fighting as many good fighters as Garcia has faced, a few close calls aren't all that damning at the end of the day. And Thurman bears nearly no stylistic similarity to either of those fighters.
Thurman, like Garcia, came into the pros off a long amateur career. He turned pro at 18 in 2007 and slowly built up, becoming a legitimate prospect in 2012 with wins over Carlos Quintana and Jan Zaveck. Wins over Diego Chaves, Jesus Soto Karass, Julio Diaz, and Leonard Bundu confirmed his contender status. After beating Robert Guerrero in 2015, he became full WBA champ. A stoppage over veteran Luis Collazo and a gritty decision win over a really good welterweight in Shawn Porter were his last two appearances. The win over Porter, where he overcame being hurt to the body to finish the fight strongly to earn the close win showed a lot. Those are the kinds of wins that put a fighter like Thurman in good stead to take this jump, as he is listed as a -260 favorite at press time.
Thurman is exceptionally robust. He's not stocky or squat per se, but just thick. Thurman works well in the ring, though he's probably not the fluid fighter that Garcia is. He's certainly the stronger man between the two. Since rising in class, perhaps he has seen his power have a less-devastating affect, but it has forced him to expand on other aspects of his game. At 28, he's a well-credentialed fighter who has shown he can thrive late in a fight at a high level. Formerly viewed as somewhat of a KO artist, other nuances of his game have unfurled in his last handful of fights. He possesses a clear vision of a fight and seems to maintain a realistic view of where he stands in a bout scoring-wise. The Florida native can think on his toes in the ring. When hearing him break down fights, he has almost an analyst's view of things—a very advanced vision of fighting, himself, and where he stands in the big picture. He maintains a mental route to victory and can adjust on the fly. And when his A-game isn't clicking, he has other paths to victory. He can do other things than just be aggressive, as he can box, move, and mix it up a bit.
If looking for weaknesses, you're going to find them with any fighter. At this level, though, it's only fair to discuss some issues with Thurman. He's certainly not a small welterweight, but at 5'7," he lacks the physical dimensions of some of the other top guys. Not that he's fighting Tommy Hearns here, but he usually operates with a disadvantage in height and reach. While not stiff, he's not terribly fluid, either. His recent fights have shown he has staying power and stamina, but his power was his calling card and at this level, he is without one specific exceptional overall trait. He's just does everything well. We've also seen him react pretty badly to some body shots, as he has raised his caliber of opponent. A good body shot will affect anybody, but usually it's when that fighter has taken punishment and has already been softened-up. Thurman's reaction to some shots is a definite point of concern, however, even if was able to get through it. And a Philly guy like Garcia certainly knows how to go to the body.
Garcia is more of a puncher than a boxer. He's sometimes been capable of nifty boxing where he can showcase his vast background and skills he has honed over a demanding career. He works at his best, however, from mid-range with a forward orientation to his game. He wields a hard left hook, again, shots that are prototypical of a Philly fighter. And he has good power, forcing opponents to account for what Garcia is trying to do. In doing so, you see a lot of opponents not doing very well early in fights against Garcia, as they try to negotiate the power.
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Garcia ran into some trouble in the Peterson and Herrera fights and it showed a few issues. He was wiped out in the second half of the Peterson fight and lost in a lot of people's minds to Herrera. He has shown a level of vulnerability in long stretches, something that Thurman hasn't experienced. In those fights, Garcia's adaptability in the ring was suspect. In other words, if Garcia finds himself not being successful in the Thurman fight, will he have alternate routes to victory at his avail?
Thurman probably hits harder than Garcia, but can he take it as well? There's the trade-off. But for a fighter like Garcia, operating at a strength and punching power deficit is not a good thing. I just think there's greater value with Garcia than it appears. He seems one-dimensional at times and isn't the most robust welterweight, but he still represents a very tough test for Thurman. I see Thurman as being rightfully favored in this fight, but the odds are too wide. There is enough uncertainty surrounding Thurman to make a prime 33-0 two-division champion like Garcia an appealing option at +200 odds.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Danny Garcia at +200. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY and bet the Thurman vs. Garcia fight by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!