By Omar Palacios | senior boxing analyst
March 4th, for many, will be just another Saturday. But for boxing fans, this day represents a probable shift in boxing culture to the days when fighters used to be bigger than their records, when having a blemish in the loss column didn’t spell the beginning of the end.
Come Saturday, Keith “One Time” Thurman will face off against Danny “Swift” Garcia in what promises to be a battle for the ages. Here are two young champions in their prime willing to put their undefeated records on the line in an effort to unify the 147 lbs Welterweight division and earn the right to be called the p4p king.
Garcia, the tough Puerto Rican kid from the mean streets of Philly, is used to being the underdog. It wasn’t long ago that he faced Lucas Matthysse in what was supposed to be his funeral. What ensued, however, ended up being a piece of history.
In an extremely impressive performance, Danny rose to the occasion and let the world know that he was a force to reckon with. Matthysse had just come off a gruesome knockout victory against Lamont Peterson and with memories of that exchange still fresh in the minds of boxing aficionados, Garcia was thought to be a dead man walking.
If there’s anything that we should know by now about Danny is that his will to win should never be underestimated. He is a world-class champion who has been able to transfer his power from Jr. Welterweight to the most competitive division in the sport without losing any of the threat. The time has now come for him to set out to complete a task that as many as 27 people before him have failed to accomplish – to beat Keith Thurman.
As the naturally bigger boxer among the two, Thurman is regarded as a stronger man than Garcia. One may expect him to be brash and overconfident about the impending bout, but Thurman knows whom he is dealing with. In an interview with Dontae’s Boxing Nation, Thurman claimed Garcia to be ‘the most accomplished fighter I’ve ever faced’. And with a resume like his, that’s a big statement.
’One Time’ is no stranger to big fights either. Against Shawn Porter, Luis Collazo and Robert Guerrero, we’ve seen the different styles that Thurman has to offer and how he reacts under pressure.
Against Porter we saw the two men step into a phone booth with Thurman coming out the victor. In contrast, Guerrero and Collazo, both seasoned veterans, attempted to outshine the young champ with their experience. They made him work in ways that none had until then, but Thurman was always prepared to respond accordingly.
With barely a week to go for the fight, what more can Garcia do that no one else has been able to so far?
Destiny awaits the two men in Brooklyn, New York.The Barclays Center will be swarming with fight fans who will have come to see the crowning of a new king. For one of these two dynamic punchers, this fight can very well turn out to be the beginning of a new path, one filled with greatness, glory and most importantly, heavy purses. But for both, this will be a defining moment, no matter what happens.
In the eyes of many, especially those who are old enough to remember the Leonard-Hagler-Hearns-Duran era, this fight will be a breath of fresh air -it’s a walk down the memory lane with gladiators not afraid to challenge themselves and willing put their impeccable records on the line for the sake of something bigger.
Garcia and Thurman have dedicated their lives to being warriors. They deserve all the rewards they receive in return for giving us fans what we want, but most of all, they deserve the rewards for giving boxing what it needs to not only survive, but thrive.
Come Saturday, may the best warrior win!