Keith “One Time” Thurman and Danny “Swift” Garcia. There’s been fightin’ words, insults, and lots of hype. Finally, Saturday these guys are gonna square off and slug it out at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, on CBS prime time. As with any major fight, opinions are plenty, but it takes an expert to break it down, and “Iceman” John Scully, trainer, world title challenger and commentator gives his analysis on the battle.
Both fighters pack a punch, but Scully advises onlookers not to dismiss their boxing skills.
“I think both are similar in that they are both known as punchers and fans expect a really violent shoot-out,” Scully said, “but I think both of these guys have shown at least above-average boxing skills in past fights.” Don’t assume smart boxing by Thurman or Garcia will lead to a boring event- both have the ability to explode at any second, as Scully explained. “They are both patient and thinking in there, but at the same time when it comes time to let the bombs fly they are ready to get it done. I would label both of them as boxer-punchers who are known more as punchers.”
Thurman’s boxer/puncher style is accompanied by his power, which Garcia must also figure out how to handle.
From his early boxing days, Thurman’s power has been deemed formidable. “His power is legendary from the time he was a young kid,” Scully recalled. “I remember several years ago a friend of mine from Florida telling me how even when he was a teenager, Keith was hurting people in the gym every week. Even dropping professionals on several occasions.” With that power, comes confidence, and Thurman is certainly not lacking in that department. “I believe an extension of that (power) is his confidence in himself and that power and in his mentality,” Scully continued. “Keith seems to be a seriously focused guy in the ring and he showed me his exceptional fortitude when he recovered from that body shot Luis Collazzo put on him when they fought. Mental strength, power and self confidence are huge attributes for him.”
Going against Thurman’s confidence and power, Garcia brings skill and attitude to the fight
Scully is of the opinion Garcia is a better skilled boxer than many realize. “I think Danny at times has shown to be a bit of an underrated boxer,” he said. “His left hook power kind of overshadows it but I’ve seen him box proficiently several times.” Truthfully Scully said, Garcia is not a straight brawler, but is a quietly confident, even cocky fighter, which works well for him. “He’s no face first banger by nature. His power and his quiet cockiness are his biggest strengths from what I see. He smiles a lot and doesn’t say a whole lot but I believe inside he is as confident, competitive and as cocky as they come.”
Keith Thurman has the tools to defeat Garcia, and Scully pointed out, it’s his best strategy to use them all.
“I think he needs to alternate between using a strong jab and great boxing skills and with landing serious shots,” Scully explained, and establish a sense of dominance throughout the fight. “He’s got to show Danny that, number one, he isn’t going to be there for Danny’s hook and that he is the stronger man inside and out. He’s got to use his attributes in full force to win this one.”
For Garcia to upset Thurman, he needs to focus on what Scully reminded, is a chink in Keith’s armor.
“I always say that once a man shows a weakness in that ring that it is always going to be there until he proves otherwise,” he said. “Keith of course showed a weakness to the well paced body shot,” he said. “He showed weakness and strength at the same time because he recovered admirably from it but if I’m going in with him I’m always going to have that shot in my mind.” And that is something Garcia needs to recognize, and attack. ” We know Danny can crack with the left hook to the head,” Scully continued, “and everyone will be looking for it so I would expect him to mix more body shots in, because Keith won’t be looking for it and because he got hurt by it before. If a man is weak to the body then he’s not going to take repeated solid shots to it, that’s for sure.”
Pre fight hype and all the insult slinging have contributed to making the fight interesting, but Scully doesn’t expect that to play as major a role in the fight people may hope.
“ I think with all that has happened in the weeks before the fight, there is going to be a lot of extra tension and anticipation involved from both sides,” he said. “An uneducated mind might point to that and feel that, and believe that means it’s going to be all out war from the first bell but I have to believe that these guys didn’t get to this point by only running off of emotion”, he reasoned. Scully is certain the action in the fight will increase as the rounds go by, but not in the opening rounds. “ I don’t see Hagler-Hearns here, at least not right from the start,” he said. “No matter what, they are going to respect each other’s power,” he predicted. “I think Keith even more so is going to come out patiently, trying to pick his spots and manipulate openings to exploit.” But – no doubt a fight WILL break out and from there, things will escalate. “Sooner or later, though, one of them is going to land something big,” Scully promised, “and from that point on I think it could be high intensity drama. Boxing first that will eventually develop into fireworks.” What fuels the action will be Thurman being the truly heavier handed fighter, and Scully acknowledged this will help him as the fight unfolds. “ I believe Keith at the end of the day is the bigger puncher at welterweight and that is going to be key for him against a guy who is generally seen as the puncher in his own fights,” he said, and believes Garcia will feel the difference compared to other fights. “I think Keith will get through with more long range shots off of his jab and that Danny will feel the difference in size and power from previous opposition.”
Neither fighter will leave Barclays after an easy night, and Scully envisions a tough, compelling match.
“I’m expecting rocky moments for each guy from beginning to end in what will ultimately be a very, very, interesting match. I’m expecting more boxing skills than one might figure in a fight like this,” he said, but is confident things will heat up. “I do think it will eventually develop into a shoot out, though, and at the end of it all I believe Keith will be just a little too big and hit a little too hard to lose,” Scully revealed, but admits, the end will be hard fought. “ I don’t think he will come away untouched and unscathed, necessarily, but when it’s all over I see Keith walking away with a pretty clear if not very tough decision victory.”