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Keith Thurman vs. Mikey Garcia: Who wins?

Image: Keith Thurman vs. Mikey Garcia: Who wins?

By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia still hasn’t beaten a credible opponent since moving up to 147, and he’s been calling out WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao night and day until he’s blue in the face. Former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) would be the ideal opponent for Mikey (40-1, 30 KOs) to face when boxing restarts.

Thurman vs. Mikey would interest a lot of boxing fans, and it would give both fighters a chance to show that they deserve a fight against Manny.

A victory for Mikey over Thurman would get the attention of Pacquiao, as well as the fans. Right now, it’s hard to take Mikey seriously as an opponent for any of the world champions at 147.

Does Mikey beat Thurman?

It’s highly doubtful that Mikey would be able to beat a fighter like Thurman or even be competitive. Mikey looked horrid in the first five and the last four rounds of his last fight against Vargas. Had that been Thurman, it’s doubtful that Mikey would have been around by the second half of the contest.

Mikey was schooled by IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision defeat in 2019. Mikey looked too small, too weak and too limited against Spence. Mikey’s recent win over Jessie Vargas was not worthy of him getting a fight against Pacquiao.

At this point, Mikey should show that he can beat Thurman to get the Pacquiao fight.

Image: Keith Thurman vs. Mikey Garcia: Who wins?

Mikey needs a real win at 147

There’s nothing wrong with Mikey carefully picking his opposition, but for him to get a fight against Pacquiao, he needs to prove himself. A lot of boxing fans think Mikey is just looking for a cash-out payday against Pacquiao to pave his retirement years. It’s hard to not see it that way when Mikey chose to fight Jessie Vargas in his last fight. Vargas was a decent welterweight during his prime, but he never has beaten anyone good at 147.

Mikey wants Pacquiao fight REAL bad, but he needs to at least convince the boxing public that he rates the fight. If Vargas was one of the top-rated welterweights in this era, then you could say that Mikey’s victory over him was a good enough win for him to deserve to face Pacquiao.

But the simple fact of the matter is, Vargas ISN’T one of the elite welterweights, and he’s NOT even ranked in the top 15 by any of the four sanctioning bodies. It kind of cheapens things for Mikey to pick out a washed-up fighter to beat to earn a title shot against Pacquiao. It turns things upside down, sending a message that you don’t need to earn a title shot.

Vargas stepped up and lost to Tim Bradley. To win the vacant WBO welterweight title in 2016, Vargas defeated Sadam Ali, a fighter who Jamie Munguia destroyed in four rounds.

One Time Thurman needs a victory over a contender

Thurman, 31, is coming off of a 12 round split decision loss to Pacquiao last July, and he wants a rematch against the Filipino star. However, Thurman hasn’t fought anybody since the defeat, and he’s been licking his wounds from the fight. He had hand surgery, and now the pandemic has hit, which further hampered Thurman’s efforts at returning to the ring.

Thus far, Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t shown the slightest amount of interest in wasting one of his last handful of fights beating an unproven fighter like Mikey.

It’s not that Mikey hasn’t proven himself to be a good fighter at 126, 130, and 135, but he’s done bothering at 140 and 147 to show that he rates a title shot against a legend like Pacquiao.

You can’t count Mikey’s recent win over past his prime former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas last February. Vargas hasn’t beaten a quality fighter since his win over Sadam Ali in 2016.

If Mikey doesn’t want to fight Thurman, then he should prove himself by facing one of these welterweights:

  • Shawn Porter
  • Danny Garcia
  • Yordenis Ugas
  • Virgil Ortiz Jr.

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