By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America
This is an intriguing fight for there are factors that need to consider. As a friend of mine observed, Al Hayman has matched Thurman well and his first big test was Shawn Porter and other hand, the last big fight Garcia was Lucas Matthysee and Robert Guerrero gave him trouble.
Thurman may be the stronger fighter but Garcia in big fights have found a way to survive. Against Amir Khan, he had trouble with Khan’s speed before he was able to time Khan and win the fight by stoppage. Garcia has a nice left hook and if he is able to time Thurman, he can land the hook but Thurman has good left hook of his own so Garcia has to be aware of that.
Garcia won’t attack but allow Thurman to come to him, as to get his timing against Thurman’s speed nor will he allow himself open for shots. Thurman may have to go on the offensive and take chances. It will come down to who has the best chin. Against Khan, Garcia took advantage of Khan questionable chin and he will need to test Thurman’s chin.
Here are the Thurman advantages, he is the naturally bigger fighter and more power but he has not faced as tough opponents as Garcia throughout Garcia’s career.
Garcia advantage begins with his technical skills and he has the ability to come up big against tougher opponents but it has been awhile that Garcia has been in this big match but then he has been there before. His boxing skills gave him advantage but if Thurman takes his best shots, then Thurman can win by decision.
It is the Barclay center which means Garcia is the home fighter with the large Puerto Rican fan base in New York. (Ever notice that in New York, Barclay Center has taken over the place where big fights happen in New York, not the Garden.) Thurman will be not just the underdog but he will be fighters getting the boos and every punch that Garcia lands will be greeted with massive cheers. (Will this affect the judging as judges will noise for every near miss and punch Garcia lands, possibly skewing the final scoring?)
Okay, I am going against conventional wisdom and say, Thurman is the king of welterweight when it is over Thurman by a close decision.