By Edward Chaykovsky
Last Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Keith Thurman unified the WBC, WBA welterweight titles with a twelve round split decision over Danny Garcia.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) started fast, by taking the fight to Garcia in the first six rounds. In the second half of the contest, the pace slowed down as Thurman used his legs and reach to outbox Garcia down the stretch.
“I feel like it was a 12-round battle,” Thurman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “At the end of the day, you take a lot of punches on the arms, on the shoulders, here and there. But I feel good. Every night of rest you feel better and better. That’s the life of a fighter. Nothing out of the ordinary. I think I took less damage (than) the last fight. I planned on doing that as well. I wanted to win in a larger margin. I kind of feel like I did, but one judge saw it differently. But it was a real good fight. I enjoyed the challenge of Danny Garcia.”
After the fight, Garcia and his father/head trainer Angel Garcia had ruled out the idea of a rematch with Thurman. They have since changed their minds and want to get Thurman back in the ring for a second time.
“I mean, that’s fine,” Thurman said. “I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem if he wants to come back and try to take it back. He accepted the challenge and now if he has a challenge for me, I’ll take his challenge. It is what it is.”
Garcia felt he was robbed on the cards. Thurman disagrees.
“Nah, we won the fight,” he said. “At the end of the day, you can look at it like a race. You start off and you get a lead on the person, so you know you don’t have to kick as hard as he needs to kick right now. So you let him kick, but you stay kicking, and at the end of the day, time runs up and you stay ahead the whole time. He never caught up. He never caught up. He was never fully in the fight because we took the fight from him in the beginning.”
Thurman has a mandatory challenger in Amir Khan, but that fight is not likely going to happen. The WBC has ordered a final eliminator, taking place next month between Shawn Porter and Andre Berto. The winner will be in line for Thurman. On the WBA end, the fighter in line for a shot is WBA "regular" champion Lamont Peterson.