By Kirk Jackson
Have to give Danny Garcia credit. He’s proved many critics wrong (myself included) and he backed up what his father Angel Garcia said. Although he did not score the knockout over Zab Judah this past weekend, he did earn an impressive, unanimous decision to retain his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine Junior welterweight belts.
Photo: Golden Boy
His nickname “Swift” does not appear to be in reference to his hand speed or foot movement. It may be in reference to an even more important characteristic and that’s intelligence. Being quick-witted and making adjustments in the ring.
Garcia showed why he was favored to win, displaying ring intellect, showing a wide variety of punches and not relying on his hooks, but landing sharp punches consistently throughout the fight and thoroughly out-boxing the perceived superior boxer Judah.
Garcia was unfazed by Judah’s southpaw stance and speed and displayed improved defense, picking off many of Judah’s punches. Despite having a four inch reach disadvantage, Garcia was able to keep Judah within his optimum punching range and effectively negated the offensive output from Judah for most of the fight.
He remained calm and poised, even while playing the role of villain, fighting in the hometown of the crowd favorite Judah. He even survived a late rally from the Brooklynite.
With this victory, it’s pretty safe to say Garcia is on top of the junior welterweight mountain. He’s defeated the premier stars of yester-year with Judah and Erik Morales, defeated savvy veterans and former champions with Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell, and he’s defeated who was considered by many as the top guy of the division in Amir Khan, via TKO.
Speaking of Khan, he struggled against Julio Diaz this past weekend and it looks as though his time at the top may be over.
The only guys left who may be considered an immediate threat for Garcia are Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios.
Peterson and Matthysse will battle it out May 18th at a catch-weight of 141 pounds while Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado who will probably take an extended break after their two wars, will probably conclude their trilogy later this year.
When everything is said and done, hopefully as fans we get to see Garcia against any of these four world class fighters.
Out of the four fighters mentioned, stylistically Matthysse may pose the biggest threat because of his relentless pressure, punching power and underrated boxing ability.
When Judah was able to slide inside and sneak his straight left hand in during the later rounds, he was able to do significant damage. Whatever opening Judah saw, Garcia will probably make the adjustments to avoid that problem going forward.
As the unified champion, Garcia should be favored against any potential opponent in the junior welterweight division going forward.
Having successfully climbed the junior welterweight mountain, the question remains can he remain on top?
Can he thwart off challenges from Rios, Peterson, Alvarado and others?
Golden Boy Promotions surely has plans for one of their premier fighters. Perhaps in a year or so we may see a path planned for Garcia to climb the welterweight mountain and potentially face guys like Floyd Mayweather, Robert Guerrero or Adrien Broner