NEW YORK (AFP) – Former champion Shawn Porter defeated Danny Garcia by a unanimous decision late on Saturday to win the vacant World Boxing Council welterweight title.
The 30-year-old American won on all three judges scorecards as he threw more punches overall, but Garcia made it razor close by landing a higher percentage of punches at the Barclays Center arena in New York.
It turned out to be a terrific 12-round, 147-pound slugfest as two judges had it 115-113 while the other scored it 116-112. The judges agreed on only four rounds.
Porter solidified his position as being one of the best welterweights in boxing’s deepest division.
“This title means a lot to me,” said Porter. “It means a lot to the history and I wanted to be part of that.”
He is hoping this victory lands him a chance to avenge a loss to unbeaten Keith Thurman, or a unification fight with Errol Spence.
Porter bulled his way through the fight, coming straight ahead and smothering Garcia with jabs and body shots to improve his record to 35-1 with 20 KOs in front of the crowd of 13,000.
“He tried to out hustle me mostly at the end of the rounds. His hustle game was up tonight. I did my best to fight from the outside and the inside,” said Porter.
Garcia made his made his mark in the division with brilliant counterpunching skills, but he also had his left hook working well against the fellow American as the two traded rounds throughout most of the fight.
Garcia suffered just the third loss of his career to go with 28 victories.
“I thought I won this fight,” said Garcia.
Porter beat Devon Alexander in 2013 for the International Boxing Federation welterweight title and defended that crown twice before losing it by majority decision to Britain’s Kell Brook in 2014.
Garcia beat Mexico’s Erik Morales for the WBC super-lightweight crown in March 2012 and took the World Boxing Association version of the crown from Britain’s Amir Khan four months later. He spent two years ruling the division before moving up in weight.
In 2016, he beat Robert Guerrero for the WBC welterweight crown but lost it last year to Thurman in a split decision at Barclays Center. Garcia last fought in February, stopping Brandon Rios.
Thurman needed right elbow surgery after beating Garcia, and suffered a bruised left hand last March in training for his next fight.
He vacated the WBC crown in April, setting the stage for Garcia to face Porter with the winner a possible next foe for Thurman, 28-0 with 22 knockouts.