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Jackie Kallen: Mismatches in Boxing – Garcia/Peterson’s Easy Wins

By Jackie Kallen

I have received a few emails regarding the weekend fights from the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. Fans are questioning why both Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia were given such relatively easy competition. Fortunately this was not a PPV card, so nobody had to pay to see it. But boxing purists seem to feel that a potential fight between Garcia and Peterson is around the corner and no one wanted to jeopardize it.

Photo: Rich Kane – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

30 year-old Peterson romped through a lackluster fight with Edgar Santana that was a virtual shut-out before it ended with a TKO in round 10. Peterson, the IBF Junior Welterweight champ, has been in with the likes of Amir Khan, Lucas Martin Matthysse and Timothy Bradley. He is at the peak of his game.

Santana, on the other hand, is 36 years-old, has never fought at the same level as Peterson and was in above his head from the get-go. He was a game warrior, though, and apparently did as well as he could with the skills he possesses. But the champ was never in trouble and was mostly just sparring as he waltzed through the rounds.

The fact that upsets occur is always a factor when watching a fight like this. Will the challenger get in a lucky punch? Will the champ get careless and walk into something? But in the majority of cases, the fight goes as expected and the results are no surprise.

The same was certainly true of Danny Garcia’s easy fight against Rod Salka. Most viewers were probably wondering who the heck this 31 year-old guy from Pennsylvania was. His 19-4 record was a hardly comparable to Garcia’s 28-0 unblemished resume. With only three knockouts in 19 wins, Salka was not known for his dazzling punching power.

I think we can say that both challengers got very nice paydays as well as international exposure. It’s true that their performances probably didn’t rise their stock much, but they were seen by millions of people and they got nice checks to deposit into their accounts.

Today’s boxers are starting to see the economical, strategic side of the game. During his post-fight interview, Garcia summed it up perfectly. He said, “Boxing is a business.”

While being interviewed during the broadcast, outspoken Adrien Broner voiced the same exact sentiments. “This is a business,” he explained.

Fighters accept fights for various reasons. Money, of course, is always a huge factor. Exposure is another. A chance to rise in the ratings is motivation. Even a “good” loss to an A fighter is better than a sloppy win over a club fighter.

The politics of boxing has always been to showcase two top boxers on the same card, against separate opposition. The ultimate goal: The two top boxers ultimately face each other. It has worked in the past and it still works. Of course, neither fighter can lose before their showdown. Thus easy fights before their date with destiny.

Knowing that boxing works this way, many fans accept it as the road to super fights. Other fans feel somehow cheated that a top fighter gets an opponent who is the equivalent of a sparring partner.

Just curious. How do you feel about this?

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