For one, Keith Thurman has harassed and bullied Danny Garcia since he moved up to welterweight - has long expressed a desire to fight Garcia, called him a cherrypicker.. Moreover, Thurman instigated Angel Garcia's response by stating that he would knockout Danny Garcia. Let us extrapolate: Thurman vowed to concuss Danny Garcia to the point that he was unconscious and laying on his back...on national television. That is an explicit threat to injure and embarass an adversary.
Rightfully, Angel Garcia took offense to Thurman's attempted bullying and intimidation tactics.
But moreover, Thurman has a history of trying to intimidate 140-pound boxers who have, or have considered, moving up to welterweight. Thurman stated that he would knock out Amir Khan and that Khan was the most overrated welterweight. Thurman pushed for a fight with Robert Guerrero, who started his professional career at featherweight, because he was a "name." When Adrien Broner went back down to junior welterweight after losing to Marcos Maidana, there was Thurman urging the undersized Broner to move back up in weight so he could fight him. Thurman has also stated in interviews that anyone thinking about moving up to welterweight should first "come see [him" because he is a natural welterweight - the presumption that as a natural welterweight he would be able to impose himself. Thurman has previously tried to intimidate Paulie Malignaggi, making veiled threats that Malignaggi would be sorry if he attempted to avoid a fight with Thurman. In yet another interview, Thurman stated that what separates him from other welterweights is that he is a natural welterweight whereas most of the division consisted of boxers from lower weight classes who have moved up. Finally, Thurman has recently stated in interviews that he is aware of his advantage over Garcia as a natural welterweight, convinced that Garcia is muscle-bound at welterweight and hence his skeletal frame is not that of a full welterweight.
Thurman has been far more passive when questioned about Errol Spence, who is himself a natural welterweight who walks around at plus 170 pounds.
Those who thought Angel Garcia's outburst was a part of the promotion are sadly mistaken. Thurman's antics have made this personal and Danny Garcia sees it that way as well. Angel Garcia felt similarly offended by the dismissiveness of Danny Garcia in the promotion of Garcia-Lucas Matthysse.
Ever calculating in his analysis of Garcia, Thurman has go on to make the careful distinction - when rating Garcia's power - that Garcia has generally stopped his opponents by technical knockout, that his opponents were still standing. Thurman clearly insinuates by that speech that Garcia's power is good, not great. Once again, his own power is self-purportedly so magnificent to make someone "go to sleep."
Now I can go on about how Thurman moves around more swiftly than Garcia. Thurman has two options then: he can stay on his toes to be mobile while he is punching and have very little power; or he can plant himself before he punches in order to generate power. Lamont Peterson did the latter when he fought Garcia and was not able to win rounds decisively early on because Garcia was reactive enough to counter Peterson every time he tried to land anything, Garcia's subsequent fading in later rounds notwithstanding. Furthermore, Thurman squares up and shuffles his feet for lateral movement; he is not angled in an on-guard posture; that is, Thurman's movement is more consistent with an attempt to buy time and keep away than it is to be deceptive and create angles and he drills it as such in training. Thus I feel that Thurman's movement is overstated.
Danny Garcia may have the quicker hands, but that remains to be seen. If so, that is significant as Thurman does not have a noticeable advantage in height or reach. If he is in the pocket, Garcia can land on him - Thurman has shown that his reaction time is not the quickest.
Garcia will try to land to the body to reduce Thurman's movement and sap his power. Thurman's punch resistance to the midsection may be overblown. For he had been hit to the liver by Luis Collazo and Shawn Porter caught Thurman to the body while his arms were high and he was unable to see the punch landing nor was he braced for it. Recent video of Thurman indicate that he has focused heavily on abdominal work in anticipation that Garcia will attempt to exploit what is perceived as an inability to take a punch to the body.
The room to doubt Garcia was in seeing how Robert Guerrero was able to seemingly walk through his repeated left hooks without appearing effected. Thurman's power appeared to have far greater effect on Guerrero - Guerreo even fought Thurman as if he were wary of Thurman's power. Guerrero has also been further hurt by opponents who were not considered top welterweights. However, Garcia's recent most recent performance against Samuel Vargas seemed to suggest that his power will be adequate for Thurman.
Date: Saturday 4 March 2017
Time: 8PM US Eastern, 2am UK GMT
Channel: CBS (USA), Box Nation / BT Sport (UK)