Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) vs. Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs)
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Weight Class: WBC/WBA Welterweight Titles
by Scott, Boxing Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Keith Thurman -255, Danny Garcia +215
Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia meet in a battle of undefeated welterweight champions on March 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Its rare when two unbeaten fighters in the same division meet in their primes. And its even rarer when they do so on network TV, making this March 4 bout an attraction for hardcore and casual fans alike. And for those who like to wager, the Thurman-Garcia fight represents an interesting proposition.
Thurman is the favorite. The Florida native is 28 years old and is a sturdily-built 147-pounder at 57. After turning pro at 18, he slowly moved up to this point. Over the past few years, he has racked together some big wins, none bigger than his decision win over Shawn Porter in June in his last fight. A few fights before that, he beat Robert Guerrero and seems well-prepared to take this next step in facing an undefeated and very talented two-division champion in Garcia.
The Philadelphian Garcia is a few inches taller, despite having done most of his best work 7 pounds south at 140 pounds. Being from Philly, you would imagine his left hook is good and thats a big weapon for Danny. Hes a fluid fighter and has a long amateur background, but for the most part is a slugger. Also 28, his resume is pretty packed and he has more quality on it than his opponent. He has also beaten Robert Guerrero, but wins over Eric Morales, Zab Judah, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, and Lamont Peterson, among others, make him the more-tested fighter at the highest levels. So why is the other guy favored?
Garcia has certainly racked up some nice wins, but there have been signs of vulnerability that have people questioning how he will do against what could very well be his most difficult opponent. We saw him get pushed to the limit in fights with Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson, bouts where he was fortunate to get the nod on the cards. By the same token, there are enough good wins on his record to make it so there can be some close fights along the way without it being earth-shattering. Most opponents struggle with Garcias fast-starting and heavy-punching style. But weve seen him struggle to come up with a Plan B a few times when its not working and that could cost him against Thurman.
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Thurman has heavy hands and knows how to handle himself in the squared-circle. He was a power-puncher who has been able to show other sides to his game since rising in class over the past several years. Hes a thick 147-pounder and not easy to dissuade. The way he has reacted to some hard body shots, however, is a cause for concern, as he seems vulnerable there. When fighting a champion from Philly, a weakness in that area could be costly. Thurman also lacks a certain smoothness and fluidity. Hes more of a slugger who has good stamina, vision, and guts. He is a cerebral fighter who is always thinking in the ring.
Thurman has shown other sides of his game, but there are still issues. While robust, hes not really a big welterweight at 57. Garcia will have a few inches of height on Thurman, but most fighters have been taller than Thurman and that didnt help. He can be a little stiff in the ring. And since rising in class, his punching power has been having a less-resounding impact. Three of his last four wins have gone the distance. Thats not a knock on him, as things tend to naturally get more difficult when the quality of opposition rises. But if his power doesnt translate at the highest levels, it might be hard for him to rely just on his smarts, toughness, and boxing skill. Especially when those aspects of his skill-set are matched against quality fighters of this stature.
If were going to point out Thurmans difficulties, we should make sure to temper that against Garcias issues. Whereas Thurman had a few stressful moments when fielding hard shots to the body, Garcia was largely outboxed over long stretchesfirst against Herrera and then against Peterson where he was whitewashed over the second half of the fight. Thurman has been in tough fights, namely against the tough Porter, but has never lost a string of rounds like Garcia has.
Each man will have the opportunity do damage. Not that either man is defensively-vulnerable, but these are two forward-oriented fighters that should combine for quite the brawl. Garcia is always on his front foot, looking to wield that big hook from mid-range. Thurman can either smother Garcia or use his legs to work from long-range. Thurman seems to be the stronger man, perhaps the harder one-punch slugger. Garcia, however, is smoother and maybe takes a punch better, particularly to the body.
That brings us to the odds. Thurman is -255, which seems like a pretty fat number, with Garcia fetching a +215 quote as of press time. When breaking down the fight, you can almost justify a pick-em angle, with Thurman perhaps worthy of a small edge. Not that Thurman shouldnt be favored, but when you get a 33-0 two-division champion in his prime at a better than 2-to-1 underdog price against a guy with Thurmans weaknesses and incompleteness, its hard to pass up. Im taking the value play on Garcia at +215.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
Im betting on Danny Garcia at +215. Thurman is something less than invulnerable and Garcia seems to be getting exemplary value at this quote. Thurman deserves to be favored, but with his price fringing on 3-to-1, the value appears to lie with Garcia. Bet YOUR pick using your credit card at an online sportsbook where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500! —> Bovada Sportsbook.