Shawn Porter became WBC Welterweight World Champion Saturday night as he earned a narrow unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia in a hotly contested fight live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of Porter (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) in an electrifying fight in front of 13,058 fans at the 30th professional boxing event at Barclays Center.
Porter earned the belt that Keith Thurman, who previously defeated Porter and Garcia, was forced to vacate due to an injury.
In an anticipated title fight that was widely regarded as a 50-50 contest in boxing’s deepest division, Garcia vs. Porter played out as advertised. The difference in total power punches landed throughout the 12-round battle was just five, with Garcia holding the narrow advantage.
In a matchup of accuracy vs. activity, Porter looked to outwork Garcia. He was relentless in his attack and threw 742 total punches and 544 power punches, landing 25 percent. Garcia, on the other hand, was the more precise fighter, landing the higher percentage and more meaningful punches. He connected on 46 percent of the 304 power punches he threw. Due to the contrasting styles, the three judges were only able to all agree on four rounds.
“I made a prediction and a hard one to live up to,” said Porter. “I said I wasn’t leaving New York without this belt and I’m not leaving New York without this belt.
“I knew he was going to be accurate. The game plan for me was to be accurate from the outside and show I could beat him without roughing him up on the ropes.”
A disappointed Garcia clearly disagreed with the judges’ scorecards.
“He was throwing a lot,” said Garcia, who falls to 7-2 in world title fights. “I had my defense tight, so I wasn’t feeling his punches. I thought I landed the clearer shots and won this fight.
“I have to sit back, relax and see what’s next for me.”
Following the announcement of the decision, IBF welterweight champion and consensus top-five pound-for-pound fighter Errol Spence Jr. entered the ring to challenge the newly crowned WBC champion to what would be a blockbuster unification bout.
“The same way that you called Danny out, I’m going to call you out”, said Spence. “I think I’m the best welterweight in the division. I’m ‘The Truth’ and I guarantee you I come home as unified champion. I definitely want that fight against Porter.”
It was a star-studded night at Barclays as current and former world champions attended the fights, including Spence, Mikey Garcia, Jarrett Hurd, Gervonta Davis, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Claressa Shields, Keith Thurman and Jermell and Jermall Charlo.
In the co-featured event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, consensus top-10 welterweight Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) out boxed Argentina’s Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs) on his way to a dominating unanimous decision victory (119-109, 120-108, 120-108). With the win in the WBC title eliminator, Ugas earns the WBC’s second mandatory position to fight Porter.
In a tactical performance, Ugas dictated the pace from the opening bell and looked comfortable throughout the 12 rounds. He was the more effective fighter from the outset, landing 55 percent of his power punches and 35 percent of his total punches. Barrionuevo, who was facing a big step-up in competition, was never able to trouble the former Olympic bronze medalist out of Cuba, despite throwing more punches.
Barrionuevo connected on just 26 percent of his power punches and 19 percent of his total punches. Ugas was the far more accurate puncher connecting on 55 percent of his power punches and 35 percent of his total punches, including a wild multi-punch assault on Barrionuevo in the eighth round.
“We won today and I think I showed everybody my talent,” said Ugas, who improves to 8-0 at 147 pounds. “I’m happy with my performance. I showed enough, now I’m ready for a championship fight.
“I want the winner of Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter. I’m here to compete with the top-level guys in the sport.”
“I just didn’t have the right distance tonight,” said Barrionuevo, who was making his U.S. debut. “It was hard to catch him and attack. He countered well and attacked the body. I showed my heart but he was the better fighter tonight.”
In the telecast opener, heavyweight slugger Adam Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) remained undefeated by scoring a unanimous decision victory over former world champion Charles Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs) in a sensational action-packed fight. Each of the judges scored the fight 96-94 in favor of the hometown favorite Kownacki, who was fighting in front of a boisterous contingent of Polish fans.
Both fighters were incredibly active, with close to 1400 total punches thrown throughout the 10 rounds. Kownacki and Martin, the former IBF heavyweight champion, each threw over 500 power punches and landed 37 percent of them.
Kownacki, who was fighting at Barclays Center for the seventh time in his pro career, started the fight on the front foot, backing up his opponent and wearing him out on his way to winning the early rounds. Martin began to claw his way back into the fight and caught a second win in the seventh round, landing several powerful left-handed blows to the head of Kownacki.
In a contender for the 2018 Round of the Year, the 10th and final round saw tremendous back-and-forth action with both fighters trading devastating exchanges while doing their best to stay on their feet. The two fighters combined to land 62 punches in the round, 57 of which were power punches.
“I think I proved tonight that I’m a top 10 fighter,” Kownacki told SHOWTIME Sports® reporter Jim Gray. “I think I need one or two more fights before I go for a title fight. I have a great team behind me. Whatever they decide, that’s the route we are going to take.
“I thought I won the decision a little wider than the cards, but Charles came to fight all night. He was in shape and coming forward and I had to dig deep.”
Martin, who was punished by a slow start, was gracious in defeat and gave credit to Kownacki.
“I’m a late starter, but he was the better man tonight,” he said. “Looks are very deceiving, but it’s boxing. I put up a hell of a fight and went the 10 rounds. I just came up short.”
In streaming coverage of live undercard fights on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN, Amanda Serrano (35-1-1, 26 KOs) became the first six-division world champion in women’s boxing history, joining Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya as the only boxers, male or female, to reach the mark. The Brooklyn native defeated an aggressive and determined Yamila Esther Reynoso (11-5-3, 8 KOs) to earn the vacant WBO Junior Welterweight World Championship via unanimous decision (all three judges scored the fight 99-91).
“This means everything to me,” said Serrano. “I work so hard and I hope this fight shows the fans that girls can fight and we can give it our all just like the men do. We deserve to have this platform and we deserve to be shown.”
Also on the live stream, Brooklyn fan-favorite Chris Colbert (9-0, 3 KOs) cruised to a unanimous decision win over Fatiou Fassinou (28-11-3, 15 KOs) and Mayweather Promotions’ unbeaten prospect Richardson Hitchins (6-0, 3 KOs) dominated Mexico’s Cesar Valenzuela (7-3, 2 KOs) en route to a unanimous decision victory.