Garcia’s “victory” was highly questionable
A recent fight almost turned the term home-town advantage upside down.
I’m talking about that fight a week ago. In the end maybe the advantage was too blatant.
Danny “Swift” Garcia came, saw, and was almost conquered in his hometown boxing ring of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Garcia, 28-0, 16 knockouts, the undefeated, and undisputed king of the W.B.A., W.B.C., and holder of Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Titles, is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania born Puerto Rican. He’d fulfilled his dream of defending his crowns in Puerto Rico in front of his Latino fans. That dream turned into a fistic nightmare, at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, March 15, 2014.
Garcia fought cagey veteran, journeyman, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, 20-3, 7 k.o.’s, and was outfought, outpunched, and outsmarted; he was “gifted” by a majority split decision allowing him to keep his titles.
Herrera lived up to his nick name, “El Maestro”, The Teacher; he used an effective jab to head and body, fought at odd angles, ducking constantly and clinched effectively not allowing Garcia to counter-punch, the entire 12 round fight. A thorough offensive and defensive lesson.
Even Garcia’s home town fans who greeted him loudly when he entered the ring booed the decision.
They knew as well as I felt, that Garcia had lost, but the Judges, Carlos Colon, & Alejandro Rochin, awarded the decision to Garcia by the same score, 116-112; while the other Judge, Gustavo Padilla was perhaps more accurate or fair in scoring the fight a draw.
The three American Showtime commentators also favored Herrera. Steve Farhood, and Paulie Malignaggi scored, 116-112 each, and Al Bernstein, scored 116-113. I also scored it for Herrera, 116-112.
So what is next for Garcia who also looked like the loser with a busted lip, bleeding nose, and bruises all over his face? He said in the post-fight interview that he felt that he had won although he may have been a little rusty since he had not fought in a long time. His real problem was not the fact that Herrera was a very crafty veteran. Instead he said, “having fought as a Junior Welterweight for approximately 8 years and as a growing boy -25 years- I was beginning to have trouble making the 140 pound limit. I may to go up to 147”.
Garcia said he wanted one more fight at 140 pounds and then he would definitely move up the 147 pound weight level, to campaign in that weight division because he hoped to then challenge Floyd Mayweather sometime around May, 2015, “before Floyd retires”.
Mauricio Herrera of course was adamant in claiming that he had won the fight outright. He “was robbed by a home town decision. I want a rematch and although I know that I could beat him here again in Puerto Rico, I want to fight him again in a neutral arena, in the United States.” He was furious.
Garcia’s father, Angel, also his Trainer was angrily “ordering” Garcia round after round to do the things they practiced in camp; but Garcia still continued to make the same mistakes. Yes, Garcia did connect with the harder punches of the fight, and that is perhaps why the judges gave him the decision, discounting the multiple connecting punches of Herrera, a light hitter.
Garcia, who had an outstanding amateur career with a 120 fights, winning several Gold Medals, has to study that film of the Herrera fight to find out what went wrong. He really was not the same destroyer and conqueror as when he knocked out Erik Morales twice, Amir Khan, once, and easily defeated Zab Judah, and hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse.
Entering the 147 pound boxing “derby” he has to face a community of veteran championship fighters some of whom are current world champs.
Topping the list of course is Mayweather, then Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao, Paulie Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Juan Manuel Marquez, Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, Shawn Porter, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Luis Collazo; just to name a few.
Could Garcia handle this difficult fistic road trip with these veterans? I feel strongly that Garcia will have to improve in a combination of both offense and defense.
Defense—he has to learn to keep his hands up, bend his knees, bob-and- weave underneath punches, and instead of moving forward all of the time, learn how to move from side to side, and learn how to “feint” an opponent.
Offense—Throw straight punches, use his very good jab more often, body punch—“kill the body and the head dies”—utilize the upper-cut punch more often.
Through the approximately past five years that I have seen Garcia fight these are the weapons that I feel are missing in his arsenal or perhaps have not been taught. Garcia’s survival grace in the ring is that he is young, very strong, brave and a hard puncher. But that is not enough if the other fighting ingredients are missing.
Angel, Danny’s father who has trained him since the amateurs and was a boxer himself perhaps should incorporate the help of another trainer like Freddy Roach who actually worked boxing “miracles” with Manny Pacquiao, offensively and defensively, when he started training him over 10 years ago.
This is only a positive suggestion to Danny Garcia if he wants to be more successful in the “hurt” business as he has been up to the present time, with an enviable fight record of, 28-0, 16 knockouts, and owning three world crowns.
The supporting fight card on that night a week ago was perhaps more exciting than the main event since three knockouts were produced within the first two rounds in each of the first three fights.
Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 31-0, 31 knockouts, k.o.’d his opponent, Malik “King” Scott, 36-1-1, 13 knockouts, in a W.B.C. Heavyweight Title Eliminator, at 1 minute & 36 seconds of the first round.
Star-crossed, Daniel Ponce De Leon, 45-6, 36 knockouts, was t.k.o.’d again by his nemesis, Juan “JuanMa” Lopez, in 1 minute & 10 seconds of the 2nd round. Lopez who won the vacant W.B.C.
International 135 Pound Championship was knocked down in the first round but survived to then k.o. De Leon, who then stated after the fight that he might retire.
In the opening fight, Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs, 26-1, 23, knockouts, k.o.’d , Milton Nunez, 26-9, 24 k.o.’s, at 2 minutes & 25 seconds of the first round.
There were over 10,000 boxing fans in the audience who really enjoyed a good fight card although many were disappointed in Danny Garcia.