Before the fight took place between Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, Porter vowed that the WBC welterweight championship would come back home with him. After 12 competitive rounds at the Barclays Center, he was able to make good on that vow.
Porter (29-2) won by unanimous decision over Garcia (34-2) with scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 to become a two-time champion in the welterweight division and move into the top five at welterweight if he was not there already. Garcia suffered the second loss of his professional career (both by decision and both at welterweight) in a fight that lived up to the hype for many boxing fans. I felt that it was a very close fight that could have gone either way, but I had the edge to Porter 115-113.
At the outset of the fight, both Garcia and Porter seemed to gauge what the other was doing as Porter watched where Garcia was and then attacked while Garcia was patient and calm inside the ring. In the 1st round Garcia connected with a 2 punch combination that had him ahead on the outset. However, Porter did not let that bother him going into the next round. He started his approach to get close to Garcia but employed more activity on the way there. Porter moved his head, feinted, and threw a few jabs before getting to the inside.
When Porter had the momentum in the second round, it resonated within him and he became a little timid in Round 3. Garcia was able to capitalize on openings that were available to him as Porter waited to attack instead of doing so. This continued for a bit until Porter utilized a strategy that he was not really known for: boxing.
“I knew he was going to be accurate,” Porter said. “The game plan for me was to be accurate from the outside and show we could beat him without roughing him up on the ropes. My dad [trainer Kenny Porter] wanted me to stay consistent with the body work and stay consistent with the pressure.”
He used range against the taller fighter in Garcia and made him miss while coming back with counters and combinations, plus working the body which eventually became the key factor in the fight. In addition to those counters and body shots, he was scoring with the uppercut on the inside which bothered Danny a lot. Midway through the fight Garcia looked to time Porter and then catch him with the counter. That was successful up to a point until Porter looked for that and guarded against the left hook, which is Danny’s “money” punch.
Garcia was able to get back some momentum after Round 9, and then in Round 10 the action was so good that the crowd came to a standing ovation and the fight could have gone either way. However, by the 12th round Porter did whatever he could to erase all doubts about who was the better fighter Saturday night. Although Porter came out with the decision, the former two division champion felt otherwise.
“I thought I did enough to win,” Garcia said. “It was a close fight. The judges didn’t give it to me. It is what it is, this is boxing. I have to sit back, relax and see what’s next for me.”
That will be something to ponder for Garcia as he had lost his last two championship fights, with the last one being against Keith Thurman last March. Thurman, who was in attendance and held this title along with the WBA “super” title before being sidelined with an injury, may want to go after this belt when he returns but a rematch with Garcia could be in the cards before that happens.
For Shawn Porter, the victory gets him a chance to prove that he could be the best in the division. Immediately after the fight, the IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. stepped in the ring and challenged him to a unification bout.
“The same way that you called Danny out, I’m going to call you out,” Spence said. He was referring to the moment when Porter stepped in the ring to challenge Garcia in February. Porter, who is known by some as one that takes on all comers, responded like that was the case.
“Do I look worried?” Porter said.
That fight looks to be a great action fight that fans would love to see.
Cover photo by James Bell