Shawn Porter edged closer to a unification with Errol Spence after becoming WBC Welterweight World Champion on 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 outworked 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.”
Porter answered: “This can be the easiest fight to make right now,” when accepting the offer.
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 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.”
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader will replay on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.