In a battle for control of style Saturday night on Showtime — Danny Garcia the technician, Shawn Porter the frantic Cookie Monster — it took a few rounds for Porter to abandon his ill-conceived plan to try to imitate Garcia. But once he started mauling and slinging junk in equal proportion to quality blows, Porter took over, and he won a unanimous decision because of it.
On paper, this welterweight bout figured to go one of a few ways: Garcia neutralizing Porter with his low-volume, accurate shots, Porter dominating a minimalist Garcia, or a fight-long battle for turf. Gladly, we got the final option, because it made for an excellent tactical affair.
This writer scored it a draw, and would’ve been perfectly fine with anyone winning. It was a touch surprising that it was a unanimous decision, and that one judge had it 116-112 for Porter, but the two 115-113 cards for Porter were perfectly defensible.
Every Porter fight is hell to score. His all-up-in-your-assness is tantalizing for judges, but then, so is him getting walloped with clean shots as he lunges awkwardly forward. In this case, he got the judges’ love. It’s hard not to root for Porter, who’s ultra-likable, compared to the dickish Garcia, who probably gets a large portion of his dickishness merely by standing in the shadow of his father, Angel. So him winning isn’t at all a problem. His fights range anywhere from unwatchable messes to, well, this one, which was good, so more Porter in big fights is a good thing.
Speaking of: Ascending into the ring afterwards was Errol Spence, Jr. (seemed a little drunk, no?), who said he wanted his friend Porter next. It’s a perfectly suitable fight for both men, even if Spence vs Terence Crawford remains more desirable. Spence said he wanted it next year. Let’s make it happen.
The undercard delivered an even better, if infinitely clumsier, bout: Adam Kownacki decisioned Charles Martin in a meeting of highly flawed heavyweights, and boy did their flaws enhance the whole thing. Kownacki out-junked Porter and threw a shit-ton of it, while Charles Martin ambled backward, barely even planting for a single shot. It doesn’t sound like the stuff of epic action, yet, somehow, it was damn enjoyable. Kownacki won all the early rounds before Martin started doing damage, and in a 12-round fight, Kownacki probably gets KO’d.
Welterweight Yordenis Ugas went full Cuban in the other undercard bout, dominating his opponent in the most clinical fashion possible. On the scale of “mysterious South American puncher” that ranges from “what a monster” to “yes, his record is a fraud,” Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo swung far to the latter, as the fight fell into a predictable Barrionuevo-whiffs-wildly-Ugas-counterpunches-nastily-to-the-body pattern. Ugas could’ve closed the show with an iota more effort, but this is not the way of the Cuban fighter. He’s gonna be a handful for somebody once he gets the title shot he’s entitled, but watch the sanctioning orgs and rival fighters do everything they can to keep him on the sideline.
(Photo: Porter connects against Garcia; via)