This past weekend Keith Thurman defeated Danny Garcia in an important welterweight title unification fight. I had predicted Garcia taking the win by decision, but his inactivity during the fight prevented his superior accuracy from being the deciding factor, as Thurman was relatively accurate himself. Mostly, though, he was busy. Thurman started out at such a fast pace that just about everyone, including Garcia, questioned whether he could maintain it.
It was clear before the fight that Thurman was the better natural athlete, and if anything, had a slight size advantage. Those factors were likely highly influential in the outcome, as Garcia kept his composure and displayed impressive technique throughout the fight, but was unable to increase his output in key rounds. Garcia’s response, and that of his corner team, was somewhat extreme–they suggested Garcia might retire after his first defeat, at 28 years old. Thurman’s assessment was more realistic, saying he knew he had won when he heard the scores, but in reality the scores reflected a very close fight: 2 judges had it 115-113, and one had it 116-112. This supposed ambiguity is reflected in contrasting statements from analyst Dan Rafael, who initially praised the fight as being “between undefeated, prime, 28-year-old titleholders was as good as it gets in boxing, and Thurman and Garcia produced an entertaining fight that was often tactical but had enough exciting exchanges to keep everyone on the edges of their seats,” but later commented that he hoped “Angel was right that there won’t be a rematch, because it is unnecessary. Thurman was the rightful winner and the fight wasn’t good enough to warrant one.” My perspective and that of many viewers more closely matched his first appraisal. Sometimes enthusiasm for the new champ clouds objectivity.
Speaking of objectivity, there was none of that in the charade perpetrated by David Haye and Tony Bellew. The fighters primed their audience for the fight with violent histrionics at press conferences and claims that someone would die in the ring, both agreeing that Haye was the most feared heavyweight in boxing. Where they came up with that alternative fact is anyone’s guess. Bellew identified himself as a fat cruiser, and claimed he was now the best heavyweight, having beaten Haye, whose most significant win was over Dereck Chisora (now at 7 losses, 26 wins). I’m sure they have a fan base in the UK, walking the line between professional wrestling and boxing, but for fans who seek more than sensationalism from their athletes, the fight was meaningless. Even moreso, given that David Haye lost due to a torn Achilles tendon.
Mayweather is still purporting negotiations between himself and McGregor. Arum reports that talks of a fight between Pacquiao and Khan are little more than rumor, not that either of them should be ranked at the top anyway. I think we all know how Gennady Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs will go. And Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (a light-heavyweight) is still convincing fans it means something for him to fight the world’s best junior middleweight in May. Lots of big talk, not much to say.