Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter have both been on the comeback trail. Both seeking to take another step toward reclaiming relevance in the welterweight division. Both needing each other to do that. On Saturday night at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn both seemingly accomplished the task.
In front of a capacity crowd of 13,058 fans, Garcia and Porter battled it out for the vacant WBC belt. Before the bout Porter told the press, “I said I wasn’t leaving New York without this belt and I’m not leaving New York without this belt.” He further stated “I’m going to force Danny Garcia to fight me, to be uncomfortable and to do things he’s not used to doing in a fight, I think my style will give him problems and not allow him to pace himself. This is going to be an instant classic and I’m going to win and become champion once again.”
A classic it was, reminiscent in part to the 2000 bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosely. From the outset Garcia was the aggressor as Porter chose uncharacteristically to box from the outside, yet when he did engage seemed to focus on the body. The tactic allowed Garcia to rack up the early rounds. However, during the fourth round the tide turned. Porter made his assault. Was the quicker of the two, attributable to that body attack and was able to get Garcia off his rhythm. The result was Garcia ineffectively chasing him. Porter would continue his assault through the middle rounds, clearly the more active fighter it helped Porter take the middle portion of the fight. After nine rounds Porter seemed to be slightly ahead.
Enter the championship rounds and both Garcia and Porter fought like champions in perhaps the most entertaining stretch of the night. The action see-sawed from rounds 9 to 12, with both fighters trading shots back and forth at the center of the ring. Of note was the 10th round, as they fired away with abandon.
In the post-fight press conference Porter stated “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. He tried to outhustle me, mostly at the end of the rounds. He did a tremendous job.” Garcia, while clearly disappointed exhibited a demeanor worthy of a true sportsman. Making no excuses, he stated “I thought I did enough to win. It was close fight. The judges didn’t give it to me. I have to sit back, relax and see what’s next for me.”
So, what is next? Well, there were plenty of interested parties ringside for this affair. Keith Thurman, Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence were all in attendance. With Spence even challenging Porter post-fight to a unification bout. A point he reiterated at the post fight press conference. Porter’s victory means he will definitively meet up with one or perhaps all of the aforementioned. Yet, with the performance Garcia gave, he too, can line up a fight with either of them. While not victorious he demonstrated he’s still a top-notch fighter and a bankable draw.
The best news? Fights like the one that occurred Saturday at Barclays show that the future of the welterweight division looks bright.