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Porter beats Garcia, claims WBC belt

NEW YORK (AP) – Shawn Por­ter says he doesn’t often make predictions. Maybe he should.

Shawn Porter, right, punches Danny Garcia during the eighth round of their WBC welterweight cham¬pionship boxing match yesterday in New York. Porter won the fight via unanimous decision. (AP)

Shawn Porter, right, punches Danny Garcia during the eighth round of their WBC welterweight cham¬pionship boxing match yesterday in New York. Porter won the fight via unanimous decision. (AP)

Leading up to Saturday night’s WBC welterweight championship fight against Danny Garcia, Por­ter vowed to win the title.

He lived up to his word by unanimously outpointing Garcia. Porter (29-2-1) received winning scores of 116-112 from judge Don Ackerman, and Julie Led­erman and Eric Marlinski had it 115-113.

Porter held the IBF welter­weight title from December 2013 to August 2014.

“I made a prediction and a hard one to live up to,” Porter said. “I said I wasn’t leaving New York without this belt, and I’m not leaving New York without this belt.”

Garcia dropped to 34-2.

“I thought I did enough to win. It was a close fight,” Garcia said. “The judges didn’t give it to me.”

Prior to Thursday afternoon’s final press conference, Porter said he planned on using his move­ment to open up Garcia, while acknowledging he had to be wary of being caught in clinches or backed along the ropes.

He proved prescient, as almost from the outset, Garcia’s plan of attack was to neutralize Porter’s movement with clinches. Much of the first six rounds saw the two essentially engaged in a wres­tling match.

It took until seventh for the fight to develop flow. The round began with referee Steve Willis calling for a timeout after Por­ter and Garcia bumped heads 29 seconds in, and the two ex­changed heavy shots for the re­maining 2:31.

Porter, the aggressor, had Gar­cia, the counterpuncher, forced into an aggressive fight. It stayed that way for the remainder, al­though Garcia began to re-imple­ment clinches in the 10th round as a way to slow Porter.

It nearly worked. Garcia landed a higher percentage of punches (36 to 24) and a higher percent­age of power punches (46 to 25), but Porter threw more punch­es (742-472) and more power punches (544-304).

As a result, Porter now has the title that had been vacated by Keith Thurman.

“This title means a lot to me,” Porter said.

It’s unclear who Porter will face next, although both he and cur­rent IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. seem interested in a unification fight.

Spence was in attendance and challenged Porter immediately afterward.

“The same way you called Dan­ny out, I’m going to call you out,” Spence said. “I think I’m the best welterweight in the division. I’m the truth and I guarantee you I come home as the unified cham­pion.”

Porter sounded excited at the prospect.

“I’m ready,” Porter said. “This is going to be the easiest fight to make.”

Along with Spence, there’s also Garcia, who laid out his argument for a rematch.

“I thought I landed the cleaner shots,” said Garcia. “I thought I won this fight.”

Porter could also meet Yordenis Ugas, who won a unanimous de­cision in the WBC welterweight eliminator over Cesar Barrionue­vo which served as the semi-main event.

Judges John McKaie and Kevin Morgan each scored the fight 120-108 for Ugas, while Tom Schreck had Ugas ahead 119-109.

“I showed enough. Now I’m ready for a championship fight,” said Ugas, who landed 199 of 564 punches. “I want the winner of Danny Garcia versus Shawn Por­ter. I’m here to compete with the top guys in the sport.”

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