This Saturday will serve either as a coronation or a comeuppance.
Many have been privately and publicly hoping for a downfall of WBC champion Danny Garcia while at the same time hoping to truly embrace WBA champion Keith Thurman as the face that runs the place in the wake of Floyd Mayweather’s retirement and Manny Pacquiao’s decline. Both are set on a collision course, neither man like each other and the tension is at an all-time high ahead of the biggest fight of the year.
Of course, much of the bravado has come from Angel Garcia’s overly racist and genuinely stupid comments which has done Danny no favors, but the spotlight remains on Garcia nonetheless. Though Garcia has faced off with the likes of Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson and Robert Guerrero, many are quick to say that he hasn’t fought anybody like Thurman.
Thurman embodies the kind of fighter that gets over well with the public. He’s strong, aggressive-minded and willing to fight through taking punishment. While he is exciting and very well skilled, dynamic he is not.
While saying Thurman is one-dimensional may be stretching it a bit, he is pretty robotic with his offense. He has struggled mightily against opponents who can bypass his range and make it a close quarters fight, but they would have to take a horrific amount of punishment to get there and they often cannot stay there. Luis Collazo nearly stopped him cold with a body shot when they fought and Shawn Porter had very little difficulty finding Thurman at any range.
Seek and destroy means the game plan is going to be pretty straightforward, and that plays right into Garcia’s heavy hands. We’ve seen Garcia troubled against fighters who can crowd him and disrupt his rhythm while excelling against foes that are right there for him, giving him opportunities to counter and operate behind his jab. Thurman falls more into the secondary category than the first, and it will play out as the fight goes on unless he makes a big splash early.
Expect the first few rounds of the fight to be a tactical one with Garcia feeling Thurman out while Thurman tries to bank the early rounds and do enough damage to keep Garcia slow. The critical moment of the bout will come right around the halfway point when Garcia begins to operate, targeting Thurman’s body with clubbing hooks and looking to time his jab with an overhand right once he gets his timing down.
If Thurman can play to his own weaknesses, inside fighting and mauling, to confuse Garcia’s timing and delay his initial adjustments until later in the fight, Thurman can come on strong and win this fight going away. Garcia is going to land and will be trying to take Thurman the distance, but whether or not he’s active enough to outwork him may make things very close late in the fight.
At the end of the day, there’s too much of Lucas Matthysse in Thurman and it’s the kind of fighter Garcia has been in front of more than enough times at this stage of his career. This fight could be a bruising contest, but unless Thurman is pouncing on an already winded or damaged Garcia, we may see Garcia take over the fight around the seventh or eighth round and may not lose a round in the closing quarter.
It may be close, but expect Danny Garcia to prove the doubters wrong once against by removing Keith Thurman’s WBA title and undefeated record over the 12 round distance Saturday night.