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March 05, 2017

By Scott Shaffer @ ringside

Keith Thurman W12 Danny Garcia... Keith Thurman barely defeated Danny Garcia by split decision to unify the WBC and WBA welterweight championships at Brooklyn, New York's Barclay Center. Official scores were 116-112 and 115-113 for Thurman, overruling a 115-113 scorecard for Garcia. Boxingtalk's panel of Scott Shaffer at ringside and Greg Leon both saw Garcia winning it 115-113. Thurman started very strongly but did less and less with each passing round, allowing Garcia to make it extremely close. Several rounds were difficult to score, and the large Brookyn crowd favored Garcia. It seemed that this battle of undefeated welterweights would mirror Felix Trinidad's controversial late-round comeback against Oscar De La Hoya in 1999, but unlike De La Hoya, Thurman's decision to box defensively down the stretch paid off. 
Thurman came out very aggressively in the first round and hurt Garcia with a big right late in the round. He continued walking Garcia down in the second, although Garcia had better success avoiding Thurman's punches.  Still, Thurman's aggression made it hard to give Garcia any of the first three rounds. By the fourth, however, Garcia was timing Thurman effectively, and won two of the next three rounds, evening up Boxingtalk's scorecard at the midway point. 

By the seventh, Thurman was boxing much more carefully, but landed a few more clean shots than Garcia did over the next two rounds. The pace slowed a bit in the ninth, which favored Garcia and his jab, and the tenth saw Garcia counterpunching effectively. Thurman fought the championship rounds as if he had a decision clinched, and it turned out to be true, although the pro-Garcia crowd did not agree.  

Thurman leaves with the WBA and WBC belts around his waist, but Garcia is still unquestionably one of the top four 147-pounders in the world along with WBO champ Manny Pacquiao and IBF champ Kell Brook. Errol Spence, set to challenge Brook, and the winner of Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter, which will be held in the Barclay Center on April 22nd, round out the top six

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