UA-59049186-1 Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter - Good if it Goes

Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter

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On September 8th, the boxing world will be treated to a major fight in the Welterweight division, one that will hopefully be part of a chain reaction of events that result in the biggest and best fights we want from 147. Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter are two important names among a division with fighters like Errol Spence, Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman in their primes. One can only hope that unifications happen and we get some clarity about who the best is.

 

Danny “Swift” Garcia 34-1(20 KO) vs Shawn “Showtime” Porter 28-2(17 KO)

This fight for the WBC title was made possible by Keith Thurman’s loooooong absence from the ring. Thurman had been the unified WBC and WBA champion but made the decision to relinquish the belt for now and continue recuperating from his injuries. It’s been about 18 months since he was last in the ring. This allowed Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, who were both mandatories to Thurman, to fight for the belt and not have to wait much longer for a title shot.

Danny Garcia has been an enigmatic fighter over these past few years. At Junior Welterweight, as an underdog, he knocked Amir Khan out to win the WBA title and unify with the WBC belt he already possessed. He then proceeded to beat the “boogeyman” of the division, Lucas Matthysse as an underdog yet again. Since then he has had struggled in questionable wins over fighters such as Lamont Peterson and Mauricio Herrera and has had a generally weak list of opponents(aside from his 1st loss to Keith Thurman) included in his move up to 147.

Shawn Porter himself only has two losses in his career, to Kell Brook and Keith Thurman, who were the top fighters in the division at the time he fought them. Unlike Garcia, Porter is as understandable as you’ll ever get in boxing. He’s a whirlwind in the ring and looks to fight the best whenever he can.  Porter himself has had some really ugly looking fights involving headbutts and blood frequently, which gets really annoying to watch at times because of the general sloppiness of the way he fights.

Danny Garcia at his best is a natural counterpuncher, who finds moments in the center of the ring to counter or on his backfoot. We see this on display in the Amir Khan fight, where he was facing a muuuuch faster fighter(handspeed and foot speed) and was losing for a round or two but was getting his timing down gradually and landing shots until the big one that knocked Khan silly and effectively signaled the beginning of the end for him. In the Matthysse fight we saw Garcia battling an aggressive come forward fighter and blunting his aggression with sharp counters, a good jab and effective body punching. On the flipside, Garcia is not a good come forward fighter and his slow feet are the big culprit. We’ve seen that against Lamont Peterson for the 1st half of the fight and recently against Keith Thurman. What’s weird though is that in the same Peterson fight, in the 2nd half Peterson brought it to him and really bullied him around the ring, where you’d expect Garcia’s natural countering tendencies to shine. Same with the Herrera fight. Both of them did unconventional things in the ring and truly thought about their attack without rushing in blindly. Which make explain why those fights went the way they did.

Shawn Porter is an aggressive come forward fighter who wants and needs to be as close to his opponent as is humanly possible. Part of this is style, and the other part is his height(5’6”) and reach disadvantages that he generally sees in the ring against most of his opponents. Porter’s foot speed is the best in the division and allows him to close ground so quickly and cut off the ring, even against elite movers and boxers like Thurman and Brook. His physical strength is what keeps his opponents pinned to the ropes and trapped in the corner and allows him to work them to the body and drain fighters’ energy. As an amateur, Porter fought as a Middleweight and has an insane record of wins against opponents far bigger than him like Daniel Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade and Oleksandr Usyk! Porter at Welterweight is most likely always the strongest fighter when he steps in the ring. The problems with Porter are the same things that make him good. He gets inside but he smothers his own work. He rushes in and gets caught with counters and looks awkward. But again, only has losses to elite fighters.

For Garcia to win, he needs to use his jab consistently and keep Porter in the middle of the ring. The opportunities to land a big left hook counter will be there for Garcia because Porter is always in a rush to get inside and often leads with his head when he comes inside. Garcia will also need to tie Porter up and avoid those wild exchanges that tend to happen when Porter gets you trapped on the ropes. We saw different strategies employed by Brook(clinched Porter and landed a consistent 1-2) and Thurman(moved and boxed, timed and landed a consistent left hook). Danny’s left hook is his number 1 punch and Porter has been susceptible to that punch landing, especially in the Thurman fight which it landed repeatedly and even wobbled him a few times. If Garcia is consistently landing the bigger punches(before Porter gets inside) that the judges and fans see and staying away from Porter’s roughhousing then he will be able to bank rounds. He can’t just look for the big punches though, he has to stay varied, and sometimes Garcia shows he really can box. Here, distance is his ally.

For Porter to win he needs to make Garcia very uncomfortable. Let’s be real, Porter fights essentially one way so he is just going to do him. Porter will get inside and rough Garcia up to the body and land some big right hands. Porter has a pretty solid jab when he decides to use it and he will need to use that and feints to set up Garcia and get inside without getting caught with a big left hook. Porter has a very good chin so I don’t doubt he’ll be able to take those but if he can he should avoid them. Garcia has very slow feet so Porter has a considerable advantage there and Garcia has also shown that he isn’t a very good inside fighter especially when his back is against the ropes. Porter is the faster fighter and he will outwork Garcia inside and tire him out. We’ve seen Garcia time and time again look very lackluster when Peterson, Herrera have come forward against him, and though he beat Matthysse, it was not an easy fight and the first 4-5 rounds, Matthysse had a clear advantage coming forward against him.

I’m going with Porter by Decision. We can’t discount Garcia’s skills and his counterpunching ability but we’ve seen time and time again that Garcia uncomfortable with the kind of pressure Porter brings. But then again, most fighters have been very uncomfortable against Porter’s pressure. I think Garcia has lost a couple fights that he has gotten the benefit of the doubt in and looked just okay in other fights, while Porter has only lost to elite fighters. It will be a wild fight, no doubt and the stylistic matchup is one that is guaranteed to give us an amazing show.

Betting: Porter +140

Charles “Princes Charles” Martin 25-1 (23 KO) vs Adam “Babyface” Kownacki 17-0(14 KO)

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This is an underrated Heavyweight matchup. The division isn’t anywhere close to the glamour and skill that it had in the late 80’s Tyson Era, 90s and early 00’s but one thing that is consistent is good fights.

Charles Martin came to fame with his IBF title fight win against Glazkov. He won the title! But…it wasn’t because he was far superior in the ring or anything, it was because Glazkov tore his ACL in the 3rd round, ending the contest. After that, things looked up even further for Martin, with Anthony Joshua needing a title shot and Eddie Hearn and co. having tons of money to offer him to fight. It was a pretty bad showing with Joshua battering Martin and knocking him down twice in the 2nd round to end the fight. Before that, Martin had faced…? A bunch of guys. So we have no clue how good he really is.

Adam Kownacki is essentially prospect level at age 19 and has burst onto the scene with some exciting offensive performances and the backing of Polish fans. His biggest win to date is his knockout of Artur Szpilka. Like Charles Martin, his record is full of..a bunch of guys. It’s safe to say this is his biggest test thus far and a win can propel him to title contender status very quickly.

Charles Martin is a big southpaw with some solids skills. He seems to have a decent jab and a good straight right hand. I’ve also noticed some solid countering abilities.  Most importantly, though, is his big knockout record. 23 Knockouts in 25 fights is nothing to sneeze at. Martin has the height advantage (6’5” to Kownacki’s 6’3”) and reach advantage as well(80” to 76”) here. There will be a wealth of opportunities for Martin to land his 1-2 on Kownacki, who forgoes defense in most of his fights and tends to be off balance at times. As long as Martin can keep his distance, this may be a winnable fight.

Kownacki himself is a relentless pressure fighter who throws punches from all different angles who also has a tremendous KO ratio. Kownacki is interesting in that he sometimes sacrifices his defense to try to land his big punches. His variety is really good in that he mixes it to the body and head at different speeds. Kownacki’s punch rate is really high, similar to Jarrell Miller(who he works out with) and the sheer activity is unsettling to opponents. Kownacki’s ability to cut off the ring is one of his strengths and you wonder how someone who seems so slow is always on their opponents.

I’m going with Kownacki by KO.

Betting: Kownacki -170

 

There is another fight on this card, Yordenis Ugas of Cuba against Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo of Argentina. Ugas has the far more impressive record and should have already gotten a title shot by now with all the prospects and contenders he’s knocked off over the pats 2 years. Barrionuevo has been fighting in Argentina all of his career and hasn’t beat anyone really. Ugas by KO.

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