Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia have known for some time that they would meet in a 147-pound title unification bout on March 4. Now they know the location and time of the fight—and fans now know where to tune in.
In one of the most anticipated fights in all of boxing, world champions Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) and Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) will square off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Both fighters appeared today at a news conference at Barclays to formally announce the fight, which will air live on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
It will be just the second prime-time boxing presentation on CBS in nearly 40 years, the other being Thurman’s narrow unanimous decision over former 147-pound titleholder Shawn Porter on June 25—a sensational brawl at Barclays Center that ended up being a Fight of the Year candidate.
“Our goal is to deliver the biggest, most meaningful matchups to the broadest audience, and an event of this magnitude belongs on CBS,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports. “This is truly prizefighting at its finest—two undefeated champions in the prime of their careers fighting to unify boxing’s glamour division.
“When the two best fighters square off, we often get spectacular results. … And we have every reason to believe Keith and Danny will put on another tremendous show at Barclays Center on March 4.”
In addition to the thriller against Porter, Thurman’s other appearance at Barclays Center was a 12-round shutout victory over former 147-pound champion Jan Zaveck in March 2013.
Meanwhile, Garcia will be returning to Barclays Center for a sixth time. In a span of 51 weeks from August 2014 to August 2015, the 28-year-old Philadelphia native posted three victories in the venue, defeating Rod Salka (second-round knockout), Lamont Peterson (majority decision) and Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi (ninth-round TKO).
“Barclays Center and Brooklyn are my home away from home,” Garcia said. “I’ve headlined the most shows at Barclays Center, and my fans from Philly and my fans from New York can be there. It’s going to be another Danny Garcia show.”
Said Thurman: “It’s definitely an honor and a blessing to be back in Barclays Center. It’s one hell of an arena, and I thoroughly enjoy fighting there each and every time.
“This is what boxing’s all about. … You’re looking at the two top welterweights in the division, young and in their prime and both undefeated. I’m ready to continue to make history and to continue to build my legacy.”
Thurman became an interim 147-pound champion in July 2013, when he stopped then-unbeaten Diego Gabriel Chaves in the 10th round. The 28-year-old lifelong resident of Clearwater, Florida, has subsequently defended that title six times, most recently edging Porter in a fight that all three judges scored 115-113.
Thurman failed to score a knockdown against Porter, and while he knocked out 21 of his first 24 opponents, he has just one stoppage victory in his last four fights. It’s a trend he intends to reverse when he faces Garcia, a two-division champion who won his 147-pound crown with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero on January 23, 2016.
“Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman doesn’t like not having knockouts on his record,” Thurman said. “I’ve got 22, and the funny thing is that 23 happens to be my favorite number. It could have been Shawn Porter. Maybe it’s more important and appropriate that the 23rd knockout victim be Danny Garcia.
“I’m not picking a round, but whichever round I land that shot in, and his knees buckle, we’re going to take him out. … Danny Garcia will get hurt in this fight—to what degree, that’s up to him and the punches that I land.”
Garcia, who is coming off a seventh-round TKO of Samuel Vargas on November 12, acknowledges that many people believe Thurman will win this fight. Now he’s out to prove all those doubters wrong.
“I don’t care if people think I’m an underdog,” Garcia said. “To me, Keith Thurman is nothing but a name. Come March 4, I am going to show the world once again that I am a true champion.”
BY: MATT JACOB