It’s not a Danny Garcia fight unless he scrambles up “unimpressive” with “victory.” And Saturday on Fox, Garcia spent the first half of his bout with Robert Guerrero being unimpressive, only to take over thereafter and remind folk why we once viewed the welterweight as a potential top 10 pound-for-pound fighter.
He came away with his now-customary decision victory, although this time, unlike so many others, there wasn’t much doubt that he deserved it.
Heading up the first major “Premier Boxing Champions” card of 2016, Garcia-Guerrero wasn’t a welterweight match-up worth enthusing about on paper. Guerrero, though, came out of the gate aggressive, winning rounds against Garcia primarily with volume, although he mixed in some intelligent boxing; for instance, every time Garcia bent down at the waist to dodge, Guerrero would catch him.
But the rounds began to get closer, and in the 6th, Garcia took over, hardly looking back. The pinpoint head and body shots Garcia landed through five grew in number and were impossible to discount next to Guerrero’s own declining volume. It stayed that way until the end, when an animated Guerrero threw away caution and traded shots, to his advantage. By fight’s end, both men were bruised and scuffed.
Garcia won 116-112 across the board — acceptable scores. (The crowd booed, presumably only because Garcia plays the villian; he came into the ring wearing pink leopard print and a “Purge” mask that smacked of some weird sex cult.) It’s a fight he was supposed to win, and not much of a step up from his mostly-dismal opposition since becoming junior welterweight champion in 2013. The talk by the PBC commentators — which included Keith Thurman — was that Garcia could later face the winner of Thurman-Shawn Porter. We would watch. And it would be putting Garcia properly in harm’s way, as opposed to Saturday’s semi-unexpected difficulties.
On the undercard:
- Welterweight Sammy Vaquez controlled a curiously sluggish Aaron Martinez before Martinez’s corner called a halt to it in the 6th. Martinez, who thrives on volume punching, could barely be bothered to throw any punches at all from the very 1st round. Vasquez definitely looked to be mixing it up, even if he didn’t throw caution entirely to the wind. (And PBC’s commentary team definitely wouldn’t shut up about Vasquez suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his war tours, as if PTSD made the fight more appealing or interesting.) Anyway, Martinez finally quit in his corner, citing a left elbow injury. You gotta wonder if he had it all along, assuming it’s legit, because he fought the same way the whole bout: vacantly, rather than passionately as usual.
- Heavyweight and former Olympian Dominic Breazeale went life-and-death with Amir Mansour in a “shit or get off the pot” fight, delivering mixed results but getting the victory with a 5th round TKO when Mansour quit in his corner, citing a jaw injury. Breazeale has never looked like the future of the division, even fighting nobodies. Against Mansour — a borderline contender who’s been in there with some top customers — he barely survived. This scribe missed the first two rounds but Mansour apparently won both, and then dropped Breazeale in the 3rd. Breazeale, to his credit, recovered admirably, even winning the 4th. But he also demonstrated he wasn’t in top shape, as he was winded — a bad sign about his mental makeup, since he had to know the sculpted Mansour would bring the heat. The big right hand he landed very well could’ve broken Mansour’s jaw, per the official story, so credit there, too. But Breazeale showed tonight that while tough and big, he isn’t much else.