Often in boxing, two fighters’ paths are bound to cross at some point in their respective career, and that belief holds good when you mention the names Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. A pair that just could not avoid each other, having already taken on most of what the Welterweight – and Light Welterweight in the case of Garcia – has had to offer.
Garcia 34-1(20KO’s) is the two-weight world champion, and former unified king at 140lbs. But his perfect ledger was ruined by Keith Thurman in his 2017 unsuccessful unification with the reigning WBA Welterweight ruler.
That was a split decision loss – should have been unanimous – while Porter 28-2-1(17KO’s) has a similarly narrow loss to the man who’s former WBC title is up for grabs in Brooklyn. For most it was the sternest test of Thurman’s career – but at the least it comes second to the Garcia fight. And Porter’s only other reverse came by the tightest of margins, when dethroned of his only world title in 2014 by the outstanding Kell Brook.
Between them they have brushed aside the likes of Julio Diaz, Devon Alexander, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Adrian Granados (Porter), Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera, Lamont Peterson, Robert Guerrero, Brandon Rios (Garcia) and Paulie Malignaggi (both). And having never been outclassed in any of their defeats, this fascinating clash is deserving of the silverware on the line, as well as the chance to bounce straight back in to the unification picture for the victor.
Porter is the less polished of the two, but his rushes are not as reckless as they may seem in the ring. His constant pressure is a method that has served many champions well over the decades of the fight game, and Porter’s style makes him just as awkward to fight as a slick southpaw with freakish range.
But in defeats to Brook and Thurman, it has been the opponents with the better all round game that have come out on top, often edging rounds when Porter ineffectively attempts to forge his way inside.
Garcia is another well-schooled campaigner, with an admirably good chin, and solid if not spectacular boxing skills. Above all else, Garcia has excellent shot selection, and uncorks a gorgeous left hook that can knock out most opponents, or at the very least drop them to the canvas.
Garcia’s biggest problem in the past has been the way that he slows down heading into the championship rounds, and against a pressure fighter like Porter he can vaguely afford to gas late on.
Both are underrated boxers – thanks in most part to their undeniable strengths that don’t include the basic arts of boxing. But in order to come out with his old belt, Garcia must be the one who takes the initiative where the basics are concerned.
The final result therefore will come from who can keep the fight at their range for the largest periods. Porter’s aggression must be smart, but the more he can turn this into a dogfight, the better his chances are of winning. Meanwhile Garcia must resist the urge to get involved and respond in kind to every heavy success that Porter has. A simple outside double jab followed by a long right cross to the body from ‘Swift’ will be an efficient way to counteract an inside body assault from Porter.
It’s no secret that this will be a pick ‘em fight by the end of 12 rounds, with both staking a strong claim to being crowned the new champion. But in spite of a nervy end to proceedings, Garcia can relive the highs of being a world champion as he edges himself back into the frame for super fights with the other three world champions at 147, while Porter will have validated more than enough to keep his name in the hat as a top 5 Welterweight with plenty left in the tank.