If it were a restaurant, the three judges whom scored Keith Thurman's title unification win over Danny Garcia would have never arrived on a dish to have been served.
Fans in attendance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. New York and viewing from home live on CBS were left stunned over the announcement that a fight that Thurman appeared to have comfortably won was coming down to a split decision. Yet that scenario came about because judges John McKaie, Kevin Morgan and Joe Pasquale struggled for much of the night to have watched the same bout as one another.
The three veteran ringside officials disagreed on seven of the 12 rounds on Saturday night, although John McKaie (116-112) and Joe Pasquale (115-113) were able to agree on Thurman deserving the nod. The same cannot be said of Kevin Morgan, as Garcia has landed as a 115-113 winner on his card for each of the last two Barclays appearances by the previously unbeaten Phila-Rican.
Morgan was also one of the three judges for Garcia's disputed points win over Lamont Peterson in April '15. Morgan and Tom Schreck both had Garcia winning 115-113, an unpopular opining with the majority of the boxing public. This time, Morgan was the odd man out among the judges as well as the viewers, with at least the right guy winning in the end of public opinion means anything.
In defense of the judges, several rounds were tough to score. Who you believed was in control was dependent upon whether you liked Thurman's early aggression and work rate, or Garcia's infighting and ability to make his opponent wildly miss on several occasions.
Thurman won on all three scorecards in rounds one, five and eight, while Garcia swept the field in rounds six and ten.
Despite both having Thurman ahead after 12 rounds, McKaie and Pasquale only agreed upon seven of them - rounds one, five, seven, eight and nine for Thurman, and rounds six and ten for Garcia.
Interestingly, Morgan had the most rounds in common with the judges, agreeing with McKaie on seven of the 12 and with Pasquale on eight of them. Morgan and McKaie both had Thurman winning rounds one, five, eight and 11, and Garcia winning three, six and 10. Meanwhile, Morgan and Pasquale both scored rounds one, five and eight for Thurman, and rounds four, six, ten and 12 in favor of Garcia.
Somehow, McKaie had Thurman sweeping the championship rounds, not only going far against public opinion, but rounds in which Thurman admitted to boxing and moving far more than previous frames as he was of the belief that he had the fight won hands down. Yet, it took for McKaie to score those rounds in his favor to provide such a cushion; had both gone to Garcia (a scenario shared by a healthy amount of viewers), his scorecard would have ended in a 114-114 draw.
Clearly, Morgan preferred Garcia's ability to make Thurman miss even at close quarters, although not always letting his hands go. Still it took for Garcia to flat out win the 12th and final round in order to prevail on at least one scorecard.
Pasquale was the only judge of the three to score each of the championship rounds in favor of Garcia, an outcome that seems to be met with most in the boxing world. Also shared by most viewers was not only Pasquale's tally, but that the fight was mathematically out of reach for Garcia by the end of the 10th round.
The bout was fought in front of a Barclays-record crowd of 16.533 enthusiastic fans on hand to watch just the third-ever matchup of unbeaten welterweight titlists in a unification match. The previous one also ended in controversy, when Felix Trinidad was considered fortunate to have skated by then-undefeated Oscar de la Hoya in their Sept. '99 dull affair.
At the very least, it can easily be argued that the right guy won in the end this time around.