Keith Thurman says he would welcome welterweight rematches with Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.
For now, boxing fans must settle for watching Thurman’s close wins over those two fellow former 147-pound champions. Showtime will replay Thurman’s 12-round, unanimous-decision win against Porter and his 12-round, split-decision defeat of Garcia back-to-back, beginning Friday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Both of those fights were broadcast by CBS, Showtime’s parent company, from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Thurman-Porter was a “Fight of the Year” candidate in 2016. A then-unbeaten Thurman retained his WBA welterweight by topping Porter on all three scorecards in June 2016.
Each judge – Eric Marlinski, Waleska Roldan and Steve Weisfeld – scored that bout the same, 115-113 for Thurman.
“It was a tremendous fight,” Thurman said right after defeating Porter. “He’s a great warrior. … He had great offense, but I had great defense.”
Las Vegas’ Porter had hoped Thurman would’ve traded with him more than he did.
“He ran a little bit,” Porter said, “but he did what he had to do.”
Thurman-Porter attracted a peak audience of 3,940,000 and an average audience of 3,100,000. It was the first boxing main event CBS televised in prime time since Leon Spinks upset Muhammad Ali by split decision to win the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles in February 1978.
The viewership success of Thurman-Porter in part led to CBS airing Thurman-Garcia eight months later. Thurman-Garcia wasn’t as entertaining as Thurman-Porter, but it was watched by more people (peak: 5,100,000; average: 3,740,000).
Philadelphia’s Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) and Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, were undefeated when they met in that welterweight title unification fight in March 2017. Judges John McKaie (116-112) and Joe Pasquale (115-113) scored it for Thurman, who lost 115-113 on judge Kevin Morgan’s scorecard.
Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, accused Thurman of running throughout their 12-round fight. Thurman thought he beat Garcia convincingly.
“The judges are the judges,” Thurman said in the ring after his narrow win. “I thought I out-boxed him. I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was split and I had that widespread [score of 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.”
Naturally, Danny Garcia disagreed.
“I thought I won the fight,” Danny Garcia said. “I thought I was pushing the fight, but it is what it is.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing