By Keith Idec
PHILADELPHIA – Danny Garcia is looking forward to testing Keith Thurman to the body.
Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) has been hurt by body shots during his career, most memorably against Luis Collazo in a July 2015 fight Thurman eventually won by technical knockout. That isn’t lost on Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) as he prepares for their March 4 welterweight championship unification fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (CBS).
“He’s been hurt multiple times [to the body],” said Garcia, who’ll defend his WBC world welterweight title. “I give him credit. He’s survived ‘em. But he’s never been in there with somebody like me.”
When asked if his power would enable him to stop Thurman with a body shot, Garcia said, “Either that, or it’s gonna set up the big hook. So we’ll have to see.”
Philadelphia’s Garcia considers Thurman’s vulnerability to the body one of his biggest advantages approaching a 12-round fight in which Thurman is listed as about a 2½-to-1 favorite.
“We’re gonna go to the body,” Garcia said. “We’re gonna work everything – body, head, everything we could possibly work. We’ve got a good game plan and body shots is definitely in the game plan. That’s no secret.”
Thurman welcomes Garcia coming after his body. The unbeaten WBA world welterweight champion from Clearwater, Florida, acknowledges that he has been hurt by body shots in previous fights, yet reminds anyone that considers that a noteworthy weakness that he hasn’t gone down from one.
“This is the thing – are they touching me and I’m just falling over?,” Thurman said. “Nah. A good body shot is a good body shot. Oscar De La Hoya didn’t get up from a good body shot. We’ve seen him get stopped by a good body shot [by Bernard Hopkins]. … So, you know, they’re only putting together subjective ideas based on what they’ve seen in the ring. But it’s not like they’ve watched me box since I was a kid. It’s not like they came to my gym and seen me with champions since I was 16 years old. … I’ve been rocked before and I don’t go down. And I’ve been hit to the body and I don’t go down.
“If I was to go down, that’s a 10-8 round. What matters is, do I go down? What matters is, when I get up, can I handle myself? I’m mentally prepared for being knocked down. I’m a world-class fighter. Sh*t happens. It’s a real fight. This is not a play sport. You play basketball, you play football. You can’t play boxing. It’s real. So if I’m hurt, that’s real. I can handle that. I’m gonna be a man and I’m gonna overcome it. And I’m gonna come back, and I’m gonna hurt you, too. That’s the whole objective.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.