As fight night nears for the highly anticipated welterweight world title unification showdown between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, top boxing personalities including fighters, trainers and journalists are weighing-in with their predictions for the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, this Saturday, March 4 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
Broadcast coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with undefeated rising star Erickson Lubin battling once-beaten knockout artist Jorge Cota in a super welterweight title eliminator bout.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $50 (not including applicable fees) and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Here is what boxing experts, journalists and fighters had to, along with their predictions:
Shawn Porter, former 147-pound champion, Keith Thurman MD 12 Danny Garcia: I’ve watched both Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman all the way through the amateurs and now in the pros. They’re both really good fighters. Both strong. Both intelligent. Both make good adjustments over the course of a fight. I’m choosing Thurman to stay undefeated because, I think not only is he a little stronger, and a little smarter, but I also think his boxing ability is superior to Garcia’s.
I think he’s going to give Danny problems when he moves. I think Thurman is going to have Danny off-balance. I think Thurman is going to make it very hard for Garcia to set up his offense. And I think based off of that one element Thurman will win a majority decision
Mikey Garcia, three-division and 135-pound champion, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: I think Danny Garcia takes it. He finds a way to win. He has experience and has been able to make adjustments to get the win. Garcia by decision over Keith Thurman.
Jarrett Hurd, 154-pound champion, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: I haven’t seen Danny Garcia hurt before, but I’ve seen Keith Thurman hurt to the body against Luis Collazo. Garcia took punches from hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse. No matter how much Garcia’s been the underdog, he always finds a way to pull the upset.
Andre Berto, former 147-pound champion, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: It’s going to be a great fight. I’m learning toward Keith Thurman over Danny Garcia.
Robert Guerrero, multi-division champion, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: I’m picking Keith Thurman to win by decision over Danny Garcia. Both fight with a lot of heart, and it’s going to be a Fight if they Year type of fight. I just think Thurman has more weapons in his arsenal. Both are undefeated, so may the best man win.
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports, Keith Thurman UD 12 Danny Garcia: I love this fight and I really feel that it’s a toss of a coin. Danny Garcia has faced better opposition, but I feel that Keith Thurman is about to make a statement.
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: First of all, this looks to be a terrific fight, so props to both fighters for risking their undefeated records and not hiding behind belts. This could easily go either way; I see it going to a decision with Danny Garcia winning. I think he’s fought the better opponents and will be able to land the bigger punches against a boxer in Keith Thurman who will at times give him fits.
Bob Velin, USA Today/Boxing Junkie, Keith Thurman TKO 10 Danny Garcia: Keith Thurman is fresh, confident as hell after beating Shawn Porter, as relaxed as I’ve seen him, in the best shape of his life and, thanks to Angel Garcia’s mouth, perhaps just a little bit extra motivated to shut that mouth. Danny Garcia is an underrated boxer and puncher and will give Thurman all he can handle. But eventually “Swift” will succumb to Thurman’s power. Both men have a strong desire to be the face of the welterweight division, if not all of boxing. I believe “One Time” will prevail.
Mike Coppinger, USA Today, Boxing Junkie, Danny Garcia SD 12 Keith Thurman: Danny Garcia is the more experienced, seasoned fighter, and it should be apparent on March 4. The underrated Philadelphian never got enough credit for upset wins over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse, and it seems he’s being overlooked again. Keith Thurman will bring it, and both men could be hurt in a fight with many big exchanges. But I say Garcia ekes out a deserving nod.
Gordon Marino, Wall Street Journal, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: I am picking Danny Garcia by a decision. I think Garcia has superb skills. Keith Thurman is explosive but wild and I think Danny will be able to capitalize on the many openings that Thurman will give him. Danny has a good jab and he closes the distance well. I think Garcia is a multi-dimensional fighter whereas with Thurman, all his eggs are in the knockout basket. On the mental side, both of these guys have great confidence in themselves and a mighty will to win. They both have solid chins. This is a terrific matchup.
Bobby Cassidy, Newsday, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: Any time you have two undefeated fighters – in the prime of their careers – it’s extremely difficult to pick a winner. I think the difference in this fight will come down to experience. Danny Garcia has been fighting better competition for longer. He’s been here before and when the going gets tough, he’ll be able to weather the storm and box through it. While Keith Thurman holds the decisive edge in power, I think Danny is more versatile. He’s quicker and is the better boxer. Danny has more tools to win the fight than Thurman and he’s going to need all those tools. I think Garcia wins a close unanimous decision.
Mitch Abramson, RingTV.com, Danny Garcia UD 12 Keith Thurman: I think Danny Garcia has the better chin, has fought the better competition and punches harder than Keith Thurman, who has become more of a fighter who relies on movement as he’s fought better competition. Garcia has also been more active of late, fighting in November while Thurman will have been off since last June. While the fight will be highly competitive, I think Garcia will pile up enough early rounds to win a tight unanimous decision.
Jake Donovan, FightNights.com, Keith Thurman MD 12 Danny Garcia: The last welterweight unification title fight between unbeaten champs ended in a controversial decision – for the fight time, one going against Oscar de la Hoya who was denied victory versus Felix Trinidad in 1999. My hunch is this night becomes Garcia’s “Oscar night” in his career for the wrong reasons, as he finally does enough to convince even his harshest critics that he belongs among boxing’s elite, only for Thurman’s hand to be raised at night’s end in a controversial decision.
Zachary Alapi, Fansided, Danny Garcia MD 12 Keith Thurman: Although Garcia has been criticized for his level of opposition since defeating Lucas Matthysse, he remains a technically sound, battle-tested fighter who always seems to find a way to adapt and win. Look for Garcia’s vaunted left hook, body shots, and more precise punches to edge out Thurman’s incredible combination of power and speed. Garcia never seems to jump off the proverbial page, but he should be able to do just enough to negate Thurman’s superior attributes and dictate tempo. Expect a close decision that will reflect the quality of both fighters and that could necessitate a rematch.
Bernard Fernandez, The Sweet Science, Keith Thurman MD 12 Danny Garcia: I got called a homer for picking the Philly guy, Danny Garcia, against Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson when a lot of my colleagues in the boxing writing fraternity went the other way. This time, it seems feasible to lean the other way. Call it Keith Thurman by majority decision.
Norm Frauenheim, The Ring/15rounds.com, Keith Thurman UD 12 Danny Garcia: Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse are two good reminders of just how foolish it is to pick against Danny Garcia, who is always at his resilient best when odds and pundits line up against him. But Keith Thurman knows that, and he’s smart enough to know that history repeats itself if its lessons are ignored. He won’t.
Thurman also knows how to use a very good jab, which could be a foil against Garcia’s dangerous counter and — if consistent — enough to score points in a narrow, perhaps controversial victory.
Ryan Songalia, RingTV.com/The Rappler, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: I like this fight. Boxing needs more match ups between two undefeated champions in their prime with everything to lose. When you have real stakes, there’s no need for added drama. I’m going with Danny Garcia in a close one. I think his experience, his dedication to the body work, and his jab will be the slight difference against Keith Thurman. It seems that every time Garcia’s in a situation like this, he finds a way to win.
Paul Magno, The Boxing Tribune, Keith Thurman SD 12 Danny Garcia: I can’t wait for this one. Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia is one of the most intriguing fights in recent memory-almost a textbook “will vs. skill” bout between two 20-something elite-level fighters in their prime. Garcia has a cool precision about him and a well-honed skill set. Thurman, on the other hand, is an explosive, physical fighter who is equal parts awkward and overpoweringly athletic. If Thurman boxes from the outside, using his legs and trying to play it calculated and safe, Garcia will be able to pick him apart and eventually take him out.
However, if Thurman bull rushes in, like he did against Shawn Porter, Garcia will have trouble. I’m expecting the latter. Garcia is a technical fighter at heart and will have trouble with a Thurman who is mauling him and making it difficult for him to execute. I see this as a close fight that will have a constant ebb and flow of action, but, ultimately, an in-your-face Thurman will have just a bit too much energy and raw ambition for Garcia. I see a split decision in favor of Thurman with all three scorecards in the 115-113 or 116-112 range and talk of a rematch buzzing even before the decision is announced.
James “Smitty” Smith, In This Corner TV, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: My pick is that Keith Thurman will beat Danny Garcia by decision with his overall versatility and athleticism.
Diego Morilla, The Sweet Science/Prize Fighters, Keith Thurman W12 Danny Garcia: Danny Garcia, to put it bluntly, is due to lose. Not only because his father’s big mouth makes us wish that he will finally learn a lesson, but rather because he has gotten used to fighting barely at the level of his opponent and getting away with it.
Keith Thurman has all the vulnerabilities that Garcia could easily exploit in his favor, but it’s hard to envision Danny surviving the kind of action that Thurman endured and overcame against Shawn Porter and others.It will be a tough, fast-paced fight in which Thurman will probably allow Garcia to steal a few rounds with his great counterpunching skills, but “One Time” will apply the right pressure at the right time during the fight to earn a solid victory by unanimous decision.
Gary “Digital” Williams, Fightnews.com, Keith Thurman late-round KO Danny Garcia: I am going with Keith Thurman, possibly by late-round knockout. Thurman’s boxing movement will be the key. It will be tough for Danny Garcia to get inside. Garcia is going to try to make it a rough one but I just think Thurman will be too much overall.
Alec Kohut, freelance boxing writer, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: Danny Garcia has all the tools. Power in both hands, great footwork and wonderful ring generalship. Keith Thurman, too, has great skills, but not as refined as Garcia’s.
If there is a knock on Garcia, it’s that if his power punches aren’t landing, he does not wear down an opponent for a late stoppage. He wins rounds and goes for the decision, which is what’s going to happen here. I’d love to predict a back and forth gut wrenching fight, but I believe Garcia will win, not by winning the fight, but by winning the majority of the rounds.
John J. Raspanti, Maxboxing.com, Ringside Boxing Show, Doghouseboxing.com, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: This matchup is a classic 50-50 fight. I see Keith Thurman winning the early rounds with his faster hands and feet. The underrated Danny Garcia will find success to the body and begin to rally. The bout will be close going into the last three rounds, but I see Thurman doing a little more to win the fight by a close 12-round decision.
Ronnie Shields, trainer of Jermall Charlo and others, Keith Thurman D 12 Danny Garcia: Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia is a 50-50 fight. Both guys are well-schooled, and I predict that it will end in a split-draw.
Stephen Edwards, trainer of 154-pound contender Julian Williams, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: Keith Thurman has the faster feet and more skiddish style. Although he is looked at as the puncher, Danny Garcia has to not chase Thurman. Garcia has to make Thurman come to him so he can counter punch. Garcia’s dilemma is does he chase Thurman or does he wait. He always makes the right decision. I say that he waits and wins a controversial decision.
Derrick James, trainer of 147-pound contender Errol Spence Jr.: Danny Garcia SD 12 Keith Thurman: It should be an interesting fight. Danny Garcia has the speed, and he should be able to use that to his advantage. On the other hand, Keith Thurman should have more power and if he lands, Garcia may be in trouble. I am focused on our fight with Kell Brook, but I hope that we are able to fight the winner, which I think will be Garcia by close split-decision victory.
Ernesto Rodriguez, trainer of 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: I pick Keith Thurman due to adjustments to box when he’s in trouble and his ability to hurt you with a punch. Tough bout to pick but I’m picking Thurman to beat Danny Garcia by decision.
Abel Sanchez, trainer of Gennady Golovkin, Danny Garcia W 12 Keith Thurman: In my opinion, Danny Garcia wins a tough, hard-fought decision. I never really thought that Keith Thurman would be able to pull it out in a hard, 12-round fight.
Ruben Guerrero, father and trainer of Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: I think Keith Thurman is going to win the fight, but he needs a knockout. If it goes to the distance, I think they’ll give it to Danny Garcia.
Kevin Cunningham, trainer of Devon Alexander, Keith Thurman W 12 Danny Garcia: I’ve got Danny Garcia winning by a decision over Keith Thurman.
FINAL TALLY: Thurman: 18, Garcia: 14, Draw: 1