Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia will meet Saturday night, March 4 on CBS (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) for one of the rarest events in boxing, a title unification bout. Thurman and Garcia will put their WBA and WBC welterweight titles on the line respectively in only the 10th unification bout in the history of the 147-pound division.
Part of what makes the March 4 bout so special is that both fighters enter as undefeated champions, making it only the third unification bout in the welterweight division’s history between fighters with unblemished records (the first since Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya in 1999). Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) and Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) are both 28 years old and the winner of this bout will stake claim to the title of king of the welterweights, which has been boxing’s premier division for the past decade-plus with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Timothy Bradley all holding belts in recent years and other historical greats like De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns.
Mayweather is the most recent unified champion after he held the WBC, WBA and WBO belts following his mega-fight with Pacquiao in 2015. Since his retirement, there has been a void in the welterweight division for a true superstar. The winner of Saturday night’s bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will take a big step into filling that void, and unlike Mayweather, both Thurman and Garcia are known for being active, power punchers. According to CompuBox, Thurman lands 48.2 percent of power punches he throws while more than 80 percent of Garcia’s punches are of the power variety, both of those rating 10 percent higher than the division average.
For boxing’s flashiest division, Garcia and Thurman offer an exciting style that was lacking from Mayweather in the latter half of his undefeated career. Thurman in particular is something of the anti-Mayweather in the ring. He came up as a knockout artist and has grown into one of the sport’s great all-around fighters, but that development into a boxer-puncher hasn’t taken away the constant threat that he might end a fight early with one punch (hence his nickname “One Time”).