Over the weekend, Danny Garcia knocked out Brandon Rios. This should come as no surprise to anybody who knows anything about boxing. Indeed, the choice of Rios as an opponent for Garcia was cynical. At his best, Rios would have been an ideal opponent for a counter puncher like Garcia. Still, he is a former Manny Pacquiao opponent and has lingering name recognition and popularity. Garcia will get more credit than he deserves for this knockout, at least among less knowledgeable fans.
Immediately after the fight, Garcia was confronted in the ring by fellow welterweight contender Shawn Porter. It was a busy night for Porter, who also made it a point to search out Keith Thurman in the Green Room and call him out.
Garcia and Thurman need to be called out. Garcia took off nearly a year after losing to Thurman last March and then returned against a fighter who hasn’t been relevant in about three years. Thurman, who is legitimately returning from surgery, has already declared that “2018 is going to be his get-back year” and that he probably won’t even fight a top-10 opponent this year.
Thurman wanting a tune-up fight is 100 percent reasonable. Dedicating the entire year to second-tier opponents is not. He holds two of the four alphabet-soup trinkets. If he doesn’t want to fight another top opponent in 2018, he should vacate those belts.
Meanwhile, the fighter nobody wants to face at welterweight is Errol Spence. Thurman has already dismissed him as an opponent for this year. For all his swagger this weekend, Porter has gone on record refusing the fight, as well. In Porter’s case, the justification was particularly tortured. Spence has the belt that Porter lost by MD to Kell Brook. If Porter is hungry for anybody, it should be Porter.
Of course, he lost a close but competitive fight to Brook and Brook got dismantled by Spence, so that has to be in Porter’s mind. At this point, anybody who really wants to be the boss at 147 pounds had better resolve himself to fighting the young man with “true grit” from Texas.