Brooklyn Boro

Former welterweight champs clash in Barclays title bout

Garcia, Porter to fight for Thurman’s vacated WBC belt in Brooklyn

July 25, 2018 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Danny “Swift” Garcia hopes to get back the belt he lost to Keith Thurman (left) here in Downtown Brooklyn back in 2017 when he takes on fellow former champion Shawn Porter at Barclays Center on Sept. 8. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II
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Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter have something very much in common.

Both lost critical title bouts to Keith Thurman, widely regarded as the best welterweight in the world, right here at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

Ironically, the two announced Tuesday afternoon that they will duke it out in the same arena on Sept. 8 for Thurman’s vacated WBC welterweight crown as the soon-to-be-ex-champ recovers from elbow surgery.

“Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter will be an action-packed, can’t-miss brawl,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.

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“This hugely important matchup is between two of the best welterweights in the world and pressure fighters with pleasing styles. Both Garcia and Porter have shined in memorable battles at Barclays Center and Sept. 8 will be a tremendous night for boxing.”

Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) was unbeaten in his first 33 professional bouts the night of March 4, 2017, when he stepped into the ring against Thurman on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

The Philadelphia native of Puerto Rican descent suffered a controversial split-decision loss to the more aggressive Thurman, leaving him with his first defeat and a bitter taste over the scoring for the highly entertaining bout.

“I thought I won, and I was pushing the fight, but it is what it is,” Garcia lamented after losing what was then his WBC crown.

Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) was coming off a career-boosting win over Adrien Broner when he met Thurman at Barclays on June 25, 2016. He suffered a unanimous decision loss that night, costing him a shot at the WBA welterweight title.

While both Porter and Garcia have rebounded with wins since their respective losses to Thurman, neither has climbed back into the stratosphere of the world’s best in the weight class, an opportunity that presents itself in this meeting.

“I’m excited and motivated to go in there and recapture what’s mine,” said Garcia at Tuesday’s presser, which officially slated him to fight at Barclays for seventh time and first since his painful defeat to Thurman.

The 30-year-old Garcia came back to beat Brandon Rios in Nevada back in February. But his main goal all along has been to reclaim the crown that he has been without since the scorecards came back 116-112, 113-115 and 115-113 in favor of Thurman a year and a half ago. 

“The WBC title belongs to me,” added Garcia, who headlined the opening night fight card at the Downtown arena by knocking out Mexican boxing legend Erik Morales back in October of 2012.

“Come Sept. 8, I’m going to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world. My loss is behind me and it’s given me a chip on my shoulder to run that extra mile and train even harder.”

Porter, who is also 30, will be fighting at Barclays for the fourth straight time. He is coming off back-to-back wins over Andre Berto and Adrian Granados here since the loss to Thurman.

His strategy for this key bout against Garcia is a simple one.

“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,” said Porter. “If Danny comes in being defensive and trying to hold, it may last a while. But if he comes and tries to trade with me and prove something to himself, then it will end fast.”

Garcia and Porter have fought a combined 11 times at Barclays since the arena opened for boxing almost six years ago. But this will be their first head-to-head clash at a venue where both have enjoyed their greatest successes and most disappointing defeats.

“I think my style will give him problems and not allow him to pace himself,” Porter said of Garcia. “This is going to be an instant classic and I’m going to win and become champion once again.”

“I know that Shawn Porter is not on my level,” Garcia responded. “I’m coming to fight him in the middle of the ring and I’m going to beat him at his game.”

Regardless of the outcome, Barclays Center figures to be the biggest winner as it lands its latest big fight, one that will likely decide which one of these former champions squares off against Thurman when he is ready to return to the ring.

“I am pleased to welcome both Danny and Shawn back to Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global.

“Both fighters have established a great following in Brooklyn, and September will be their biggest moment yet at Barclays Center. We are the number one venue for boxing, and are proud to host another world-class fight.”


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