(LOS ANGELES) Let’s get right to the point: Danny Garcia should be facing Manny Pacquiao for one of the titles vacated by Floyd Mayweather. In fact, tonight’s title bout at the Staples Center in L.A. for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, represents a lot of what is wrong with boxing.
Since his huge 2013 victory over a then red-hot Lucas Matthysse on the undercard of Mayweather/Canelo: “The One”, the former dominant super lightweight champion (who vacated his WBC belt after a razor-thin points win over Lamont Peterson last spring) has looked anything but special ever since that thrilling escape. It can even be argued that Garcia and Matthysse ruined each other somewhat in that grueling fight, for neither fighter has looked the same.
To earn a shot at one of the former pound-for-pound kingpin Mayweather’s belt, one would think he’d really have to earn it in order to claim a title once in possession of the legendary Floyd. But this is about trying to safely manipulate a way to get as much mileage out of Garcia in a new era for the welterweight division, as the move to make this a title bout was only decided a week ago– even though the bout has been on the docket since November.
The public is generally unaware of the fact that Pacquiao and his team made a real effort to fight Danny Garcia (31-0, 18KO) for the very title that will be on the line tonight. Perhaps that (and his inability to get at Terence Crawford because of Bob Arum) explains Pac’s disinterested body language and tone during his promotional tour for Timothy Bradley III. Due to the frosty divide between Top Rank’s Arum and Haymon, there could be no such match-up, which would’ve made nothing but dollars and a whole lot of sense. What Haymon probably sees is an opportunity to extend “Swift” – who has become a plodder – by matching him with the slow, lumbering southpaw Robert Guerrero (33-3-1, 18KO) who has done nothing to be here tonight.
A little time capsule on Guerrero can produce poses by “The Thinker”, as he’s become the go-to-guy for name fighters to look good against and stay unbeaten. Floyd got Guerrero and the public spun like laundry in May 2013 PPV stinker that saw “The Ghost” look more like “Casper”. Then, he barely out-pointed the pedestrian Yoshihiro Kamegai was in an action-packed, do-or-die struggle; got hit with everything but the ring post in a one-sided beat down loss to titlist Keith Thurman last March; and got knocked down in a split-decision win against big underdog Aron Martinez, in a fight he clearly lost from this perspective.
Yet, here he is tonight fighting for Floyd’s vacant world title, when he did nothing to earn a shot at Floyd in 2013 .
The same can be said for Garcia, who started to fade at 140– attributable to having difficulty making weight according to “Swift”, and didn’t look particularly good in dispatching a Paulie Malignaggi who had nothing left to offer at the elite level, or, at 147. No one puts much stock into his wipeout of tomato can Rod Salka, and for all intents and purposes, he was beaten by Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico. Add one more round to his bout with Peterson, and its conceivable that Garcia gets stopped. The hope tonight from Haymon’s position is that Garcia can be impressive in victory over Guerrero, claim a championship in the sport’s most gaudy division, and set up clashes with the likes of Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter or rising star Errol Spence Jr.
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Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero
Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles
TV: Fox, 8 p.m. ET
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The merits of this fight non-withstanding, the feeling here is that Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero will wage a serious war that you really shouldn’t miss. Both guys are tough, gritty, come-forward fighters of little subtlety and will absolutely lay it on the line. Of the two, Garcia is more skilled and is sharper technically. They both have somewhat heavy feet, but Danny’s body assault and more precise shot-making ability should force “The Ghost” (who isn’t capable of any phantom moves at all folks) into attrition. For new papa Garcia, the colorful and charismatic Philly product knows a lot of cheese is at stake with this encounter, and he’ll be out to stop and trump Thurman’s performance against Guerrero with a stoppage. Look for Danny “Swift” Garcia to slowly grind and halt Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in 10 rounds tonight on Fox TV. For more on this event, please be sure to visit Real Combat Media.