Garcia v. Thurman: Was it truly a “Super-Fight”?
By: Matthew N. Becher
Now that the dust has settled and the fight has been fought, we can look back and ask if this weekend’s fight between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman deserved to be called a “Super Fight”. Thurman came away with his undefeated record still intact and left with both the WBA welterweight title (his going in) and the WBC title (Garcia’s). It was a relatively easy fight to score, but left us with little to remember, but could it still be considered a “super fight” with other aspects considered?
Photo Credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
First it definitely had the pre-fight night parameters to be considered in the spectrum of the all-time big name fights. You had two fighters (Garcia and Thurman) who are both in their prime age, both are undefeated and both have championship titles (Garcia in two weight classes). The stage was set for a big fight, the biggest two names in the same ring that Premier Boxing Champions have put together so far in their history. It was being compared to that of Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, who fought in September of 1981, 36 years ago. They were both also undefeated at the time and both fighting for the WBC/WBA welterweight titles. That is a fight which people still replay and talk about. That is a fight that echoes the lines of the great trainer Angelo Dundee, who repeatedly yelled at Leonard in the corner “you’re blowing it son”, as a tired Ray Leonard fought his way back to end up knocking out Hearns in a round that no longer even exists in today’s boxing world. So, yes, in the pre-fight promotion and stats, it was a “super-fight”.
Second. The ambiance of the venue and the fans was the biggest that the Barclays Center has ever seen. Every fighter, outside of Mayweather and Pacquiao were in attendance. From Bud Crawford to Amir Khan to Andre Ward to Lennox Lewis to every PBC fighter was ringside. Celebrities were all around, heck the Golden State Warriors basketball team (who were in town to play the NY Knicks the next night) were sitting in section 124 to catch the fight. It was packed. The overall attendance was 16,533, which is the record for a boxing match at the Brooklyn Arena, and it broke the previous record by over 2,000 people. The atmosphere was incredible. People were excited, people were showing up, people were talking boxing. So yes, in the overall setting of the fight, it had all the feelings that you were at a “super-fight”.
Next came the financials of the fight.
Tickets were all sold out. Numbers haven’t been announced as of writing this, but the live gate must have been close to $1.2-1.5 million which would also be a records for that arena. Each fighter made $2 million apiece and the overnight network numbers were a 2.2, which meant a lot of people were home watching the fight on primetime on CBS. This is a big deal for boxing as a whole, a way to get fans back to tuning in to the sport. This checks out as a “super-fight”.
Then finally, the fight itself. Two undefeated champs. Two guys that were groomed, not only as boxers growing up to become world champions, but by their same promoter to shine on this stage. They didn’t do what they needed to do, for the sport. Thurman won, and you cannot take that away from him. He fought smart but timid. He did what he needed to do to win. Garcia found some kind of rhythm towards the end of the fight, but it was already too late for him. Neither man fought to entertain though, they fought to just get enough to win. It was relatively boring. Booing sporadically took place during the middle of the fight. And for that reason, it will never be remembered, it will not be re-watched, after a couple weeks it will probably not be talked about. That is why it was not a “super-fight”. They had all the boxes checked, except the one that really counted.