New York - WBA champ Keith
Thurman defeated Danny Garcia by a split decision Saturday night to claim the
WBC welterweight belt in a unification clash between a pair of unbeaten
Thurman successfully defended
his title for the third time, winning a tactical defensive struggle by scores
of 116-112, and 115-113 on two of the judges' scorecards. The other judge had
it 115-113 for Garcia.
"Ain't no robberies
happening tonight," said Thurman, who improved to 28-0 with 22 knockouts.
Saturday's match-up between
the 28-year-old Americans was only the third time in history that two
undefeated fighters fought to unify welterweight world titles and the first
since Oscar de la Hoya faced Felix Trinidad in 1999.
Thurman is the first fighter
in the division to hold multiple titles since Floyd Mayweather held the WBA,
WBC and WBO belts after defeating Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
"I thought I out-boxed
him. I thought it was a clear victory," Thurman said. "You heard the
scorecards. I knew it had to go to me.
"This is your boy Keith
'One Time' Thurman and still champion of the world. One time became 'Two Time'
There were no knockdowns as
the 12-round fight at the Barclays Centre turned into a strategic battle.
Thurman was the aggressor,
scoring early then staying out of trouble in the final rounds for the victory.
Garcia went long moments
without throwing a punch, content to wait for Thurman to attack then try to
counter. But Thurman always seem to land one or two good punches in the closing
seconds of each round.
Thurman landed more power
punches (102-81) and jabs (45-41) than Garcia. He felt he did enough in the
first nine rounds to slow the tempo down the rest of the way.
"I was not giving the
fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead and we could cool down," he
said. "I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals in every
"There was some tough
rounds, but at the end of the day I knew I did what I had to do to win."
Garcia suffered his first
loss in 34 fights. He was warned for a low blow in the seventh round. At the
end of the 11th he seemed confused and headed to the wrong corner before
Thurman tapped him on the shoulder and pointed him in the right direction.
Garcia thought he had won the
fight raising his hands in victory after the first two scores were announced
then shrugging off the defeat as Thurman celebrated another title defence.
"I came up short tonight
but I gave it my all," Garcia said. "I thought I was the aggressor. I
pushed the pace of the fight.
"I came to fight and it
didn't go my way - oh well."
Thurman is now 7-0 with three
knockouts in world title fights.
He's hoping the victory
brings a shot at Filipino superstar Pacquiao or Britain's Kell Brook, the
International Boxing Federation champion who is 36-1 with 25 knockouts.