The true calling of a champion is the ability to perform and win under adverse circumstances and while clearly knowing you aren’t on your A, B, or C game.
Danny Garcia was far from at his best during his Puerto Rican homecoming, but he was good enough to secure enough rounds to win a twelve round majority decision over Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7KOs) to retain the WBC/WBA junior welterweight titles. The scores will probably be disputed throughout the next week or so. Garcia won his decision on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114. @BlkSportsOnline had it 115-113 as did I.
Fans, media, observers and even Showtime’s commentators felt that Herrera deserved the win or at least a draw. Garcia (28-0, 16 KO) looked out of sync from the beginning, and quiet as kept, he seemed extremely nervous. Garcia hinted at weight issues during the post fight interview, and a couple weeks ago during his open workout, he hinted at struggles to possibly make weight. Tonight in Puerto Rico, the struggle to make weight seemed to affect Garcia from the onset. Garcia appeared gunshy and timid from the start. Mauricio Herrera’s effective jabbing, odd angles and smothering of Garcia after exchanges totally had the champ off his game. Herrera did an amazing job of taking Garcia’s left hook, his most dangerous punch, completely away until the later rounds.
Angel Garcia could be seen during the breaks in action screaming and pleading with his son “to wake up, and bend his f*cking legs.” Garcia cursed his son several time to bend his legs. During the ninth round, Hererra bloodied Garcia’s nose with hard jab right on the button. That actually woke Garcia up, and we got to see some of the Garcia that walked Lucas Matthyssee and Zab Judah down in the ring. Garcia started throwing multiple combinations, and became the aggressor as he turned the fight into a brawl.
The eleventh was a solid round for Garcia who seemed spent, and virtually gave the 12th and final round away to Herrera.
Garcia credited Herrera with being crafty, and being a good fighter.
“He’s a crafty veteran, and I know every time I step into the ring, every contender I fight wants what I got. He’s a good fighter and it was a good challenge,” Garcia told Showtime’s Jim Gray.
“I just had to make adjustments, I just had to push the fight,” Garcia continued. “I’m a true champion. I make adjustments.”
Herrera of course felt he was robbed, and had some merit to his feelings.
“I felt I won the fight. I felt I landed more punches,” Herrera said to Gray. “A lot of his shots — the crowd was screaming when they weren’t landing. I thought it was close, but I won the fight.”
“Thank you so much,” Herrera said, and added praise for the Puerto Rican fans and the “beautiful island.”
The question now is what’s next for Garcia?
Before the fight he talked about one more about at 140. After tonight, I can’t see it. Garcia has fought at 140 for eight years now, and simply has grown out of that weight class.
If he wants to maintain his power and energy, than a move to 147 is a must immediately, and not a year from now.
Deontay Wilder Annihilates Malik Scott With One Punch Knockout
Before the Garcia-Herrera main event, fast rising Heavyweight Deontay Wilder got one step closer to becoming champion with a 96 second annihilation of Malik “King” Scott.
Wilder has never been past the fourth round of a fight, nor does he know what it’s like to have to go to the judges scorecard. Wilder destroyed his good friend Scott with a straight right hand that almost knocked Scott into the crowd. With the victory, Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) is now the mandatory challenger for the WBC world title, and will face the winner of the May 10 rematch between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola.
“I got power, I got natural power,” said Wilder, the 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist. “It’s all-natural Alabama power. I’m blessed. My power is crazy. (The right hand) is like missile.
Golden Boy executive Richard Shaefer was pumped and agreed with Wilder.
“America has the future of the heavyweight division, no question about it,” said Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer, Wilder’s promoter. “This was impressive. The title fight is the next stop and I would love to do it from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Bring those heavyweight titles home. This is the next Mike Tyson. He’s going to bring all these titles back home.
“Every single time this guy delivers. He is ready to fight for the title. He was born ready.”
Wilder said he wasn’t concerned with the notion that he’s gotten by so far on stiffs and nobodys.
“All the testing is done in the gym to come here and make it look easy,” said Wilder, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “I don’t care if I don’t go past four rounds. I don’t care if I don’t solve all the questions people have on me. I’m not trying to prove nothin’.
“I’m on one mission to and that’s to be the heavyweight champion of the world and unify all the belts in the division and bring them back to America, baby. That’s my mission.”