Keith Thurman claimed a split decision victory over Danny Garcia in their welterweight unification contest at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
At the end of the fight, the judges at ringside scored the contest 116-112, 115-113 in favour of Thurman and 115-113 for Garcia.
In winning, Thurman, not only added the WBC welterweight crown to his trophy cabinet, he also became the first fighter to defeat Garcia in his professional career.
During the bout, Thurman used his movement to help disable Garcia’s most dangerous weapon, his left hook.
However, such tactics did not sit well with the pro-Garcia crowd, or Angel Garcia, Danny’s father, and trainer.
“He ran half the fight,” said Angel. “Boxing is about hitting, not running. Danny tried to be the aggressor, but he was just moving so much.”
Prior to the contest, Thurman signaled that he intended to fight the smarter fight and that is precisely what he did.
“The judges are the judges,” Thurman said. “I thought I outboxed him. I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was split and I had that wide spread [116-112], I knew it had to go to me.
“I was not giving that fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead, we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals every round. My defense was effective. He wasn’t landing.”
From the opening stanza, Thurman set the pace and was able to hurt Garcia twice during the first three minutes.
First, Garcia was rocked by a counter left hook, this was followed up by an overhand right which caught Garcia on the chin and left him holding on to Thurman.
As the early rounds progressed, Thurman’s smart use of movement prevented the slower Garcia from launching any deadly attacks.
When Garcia was able to land power shots, Garcia handled it well and returned fire.
I thought I outboxed him. I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight.
In the fourth round, Garcia was once again caught by a counter left hook, although this time he took it much better than in the opening round.
While the fifth was a rather lackluster outing, both men unloaded on one another for the final ten seconds.
There was nothing to write home about in the sixth either, until in the last minute, when both men were able to land powerful right hands.
In the seventh, Garcia targeted Thurman’s body, however, a number of these body shots were low and referee, Michael Griffin, warned Garcia twice for low blows.
Once again the action faded until late in the ninth when a right hand from Thurman kickstarted another interesting exchange.
Toward the end of the tenth, Garcia was able to land a big body shot, apparently causing Thurman some discomfort. Discomfort which was still visible early in the 11th round.
In the final round, Garcia did his best to get rid of Thurman. However, it seemed Garcia knew just winning the 12th round would not be enough to give him the decision.