By Hamza Ahmed
Yesterday, to quote the legendary rapper Ice Cube, was a good day because it was confirmed that Danny Garcia has agreed to fight Lucas Matthysse on September 14th on the undercard of The One: Mayweather V Canelo. After weeks of to and fro-ing, speculation and torrents of rumours stemming from one source to another, Golden Boy head honcho Richard Schaefer formally announced the fight in a conference call and insisted that fight was “the most expensive undercard fight ever put together.”
Big money to be made now, eh Richard? No need to worry – the inclusion of the light welterweight all but guarantees PPV records to be snapped like a Twix bar. To add to the already soothing icing on a indelible cake, there have also been industry rumblings of a third big fight – a welterweight crossroads bout between Victor Ortiz vs Robert Guerrero or more likely (and listed on Boxrec before being removed) Austin Trout vs Erislandy Lara.
But let’s just believe for a second that this card somehow happens (I believe) in September and Schaefer’s just ironing out the small issues with Al Haymon and the Showtime network. Believe that for a second. Mayweather VS Canelo. Lucas Matthysse VS Danny Garcia. Austin Trout VS Erislandy Lara. Only one word can describe this possibility: “Wow.”
Leading the way in the main event is the highly anticipated megafight between undefeated superstar Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. On the line is The Ring Magazine 154lb title, the WBC and WBA 154 pound titles and millions upon millions of dollars. As the old saying goes, “somebody’s 0 must go,” and ever since the next Pacquiao rematch with Marquez dissipated, it made all the sense in the world for this fight to come into fruition.
The demand for this fight grew greater after Alvarez beat highly rated Austin Trout followed by Floyd Mayweather outclassing and extinguishing Robert Guerrero, and props to both parties for actually delivering. Many things have already been said about this fight and there’s a helluva lot more to be said until September. Both fighters embarked on a lengthy 11-city tour across two countries to promote the fight, which concluded with 10,000 fans pouring out in Los Angeles to see the final leg. It’s a fight Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions are expecting to smash PPV records worldwide. It’s a highly intriguing affair which will finally crown the true king of the 154 pound division.
The divide between good guy and bad guy hasn’t been this clear in quite a while, especially since Mayweather has reverted himself back to the money-throwing, arrogant, dominant villain while Alvarez has the hero support of thousands of fans and is being cast as an underdog.
Lucas Matthysse versus Danny Garcia could easily Fight of the Night and may even lurk into Fight of the Year, KO of the Year and Performances of the Year territories, depending on the duration of the fight. Both men have been on a collision course for over a year, with Matthysse’s insatiable appetite for Garcia’s 140 pound WBC and Ring Magazine titles being the only meal capable of restoring his hunger and a P4P spot.
Garcia has successfully defended his title twice after besting Amir Khan for the crown, but this is by far and away, the most cerebral challenge in his young career. Garcia’s a predominant counter boxer-puncher who relies on timing and distance to operate, but he is susceptible to being drawn into a flat-out fight as seen against Khan and Zab Judah, whereas Matthysse brings an army of pressure to battle along with his relentless power plus an animalist tendency to brutally finish a wounded opponent. This has seen him become an instant hit with fans and arguably the most exciting fighter in the division. It’s Garcia’s left hook VS Matthysse’s straight right. It’s a classic tale of boxer versus puncher, with the boxer capable of being drawn into a slugfest. It’s a fascinating fight which had to happen in order to establish a champion in the talent-laden 140 pound pool, and now that it’s confirmed, there can be no question marks left over either man’s fortitude. They both want it. They’ll both bring it. And we’ll sit back and marvel at a Jr. Welterweight spectacle.
Austin Trout versus Erislandy Lara may not be the most visually pleasing fight on the card. In fact, their styles mesh so awkwardly that it could turn viewers off. Or it could bring out the best in each other and produce a highly tactical, chess-like affair with the winner easily in line to fight the main event winner. Both are southpaws who prefer to box from a distance, and both had to soul-search in their previous bouts after hitting the deck for the first time in their careers before rising and losing and winning respectively.
Lara has the edge in experience after having been in the ring the likes of Carlos Molina, Paul Williams, veteran Freddy Hernandez, Vanes Martirosyan and Alfredo Angulo, but Trout has the better win – a clear decision win over Puerto Rican superstar, former 154 pound WBA champ Miguel Cotto. With the 154 pound division loaded with talent and after some erosion of several fighters from the title picture (James Kirkland, for example), it’s down to the final four to provide some clarity. With two of those four in the main event, the fight between three and four needs to be made, and hey, even if you don’t like them or their styles, there’ll be a high level of boxing science on display.
There’s everything for everybody on display here. All three fights have major implications across the 140, 147, and 154 pound divisions, with potentially new champions and contenders being crowned. Underappreciated or rather unknown fighters such as Matthysse get some much need national exposure by having a slot under the best fighter on the planet. There’s a potential Fight of the Year on tap, as well as a KO of the Year and Performance of the Year eligible for whoever delivers. There’s a sprinkle of what the sweet science means literally and a spoonful of brutality and violence. There are new stars to be made to succeed elder, waning stars and carry the sport of boxing for the next couple of years.
The hefty $65 PPV price tag is easily justified thanks to three terrific fights, all with implications in their respective divisions. There are so many questions which need answering. Will the 152 pound catchweight make a difference? Will Canelo’s relative lack of experience cost him? Can Garcia withstand the Matthysse onslaught? Can Garcia detonate his infamous left hook? Can Lara out-slick Trout, or will Trout bounce back?
So many questions, but not enough answers. Let’s collectively join together and pray that this card happens and we see six uber-talented fighters on the same night. Even it that doesn’t happen, we should still be satisfied at the highly anticpated main event and co-main event.
Until then, see you at the fights.