By: William Holmes
Danny Garcia is a Philadelphia native who had no problems getting fan support from his hometown, but he has not received the expected support from Puerto Rico despite his Puerto Rican heritage. That will likely change on Saturday night when Garcia defends his WBC and WBA Junior Welterweight title against Mauricio Herrera in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. This will be the first time that Garcia has ever fought in Puerto Rico as a professional, and he will be looking to expand his fan base and improve his resume for big name fights with a victory on Saturday.
Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime
Golden Boy Promotions’ undercard should also please fight fans, as Deontay Wilder will take on the slick Malik Scott in a heavyweight bout while Juan Manuel Lopez and Daniel Ponce De Leon clash in the junior lightweight division.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3) vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-5); Junior Lightweights
The opening bout of the night is an intriguing bout in that both boxers are good, but are no longer elite, and both have large fan bases. That means that if either are able to pull off the victory they will have a good chance at receiving another title shot.
They last met in June of 2008 in Atlantic City. Lopez stopped De Leon in the first round of that bout. That was the second loss of De Leon’s career. Since then De Leon and Lopez have both lost three bouts and are in danger of fading from title contention.
Lopez, by far, is the more powerful fighter. He has thirty stoppages on his record including his past five victories while De Leon has thirty five stoppages on his record but only three of his last five victories resulted in a stoppage. Lopez is also three years younger with faster hands. Both boxers are about the same height and have the same reach.
De Leon and Lopez have both competed in the Olympics; De Leon competed in the 2000 Olympics while Lopez competed in the 2004 Olympics. Both fighters have questionable chins, De Leon was stopped three times while Lopez was also stopped three times.
De Leon has defeated the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Eduardo Lazcano, Orlando Cruz, Rey Bautista, and Gerry Penalosa. De Leon has lost to Lopez, Mares, Gamboa, Broner, and Caballero.
Lopez has been struggling recently, and has lost to Orlando Salido (twice) and Mikey Garcia. He has also defeated Mike Oliver, Rafael Marquez, Bernabe Concepcion, and Steve Luevano.
This should be a very good opening bout, but Lopez’s prior victory over De Leon was a whitewash, and that should give him some extra confidence as he walks into the ring. He’ll also be fighting in front of his countrymen so he will have way more support than De Leon. Lopez should win on Saturday, but if De Leon takes him into the later rounds he will have a chance at an upset.
Deontay Wilder (30-0) vs. Malik Scott (36-1-1); WBC Heavyweight Eliminator
Deontay Wilder is a physical specimen and has been touted by many as the next great American heavyweight. All thirty of his victories have come by way of knockout or TKO and nobody has ever taken him past the fourth round.
Wilder will be five years younger than Scott, as well as three inches taller and he will have the reach advantage. Wilder also has a deeper amateur background than Scott since he won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games.
What Wilder does not have, however, is a battle tested resume. He has yet to face a credible opponent and has been given gift wrapped opponents in nearly all of his fights. Even though he’s been fighting on television recently has not changed the fact he has been dominating inferior opponents. His most notable, but not impressive, victories have come against Liakhovich, Harrison, Price, and Beck.
He powerful and exciting, but it’s hard to gauge his true value as a heavyweight contender until he steps into the ring with a real opponent.
Malik Scott is by far Wilder’s best opponent of his career, but even Scott’s record is a little inflated. Scott has only stopped thirteen fighters, and only two of his past five wins have come by stoppage. He’s gone 1-1-1 in his last three fights and he had over a three year break in his career from 2008 to 2012.
He drew with Glazkov in February of 2012, and he lost to Dereck Chisora by TKO in July of 2013. He has defeated the likes of…..Bowie Tupou. The rest of his victories have come against sub-par competition, even worse than the opponents Wilder has defeated.
Scott’s best chances at winning will be if he stays defensive and avoids the crushing power of Wilder. But his chances at winning are slim, and Wilder will be on his way to a legitimate title shot when his bout on Saturday is over.
Danny Garcia (27-0) vs. Mauricio Herrera (20-3); WBC/WBA Junior Welterweight Title
Garcia is a heavy favorite in Saturday night and he should be. Herrera has gone 2-2 in his past four fights and he does not possess the amateur or professional experience of Garcia, despite the fact he is eight years older than Garcia.
Danny Garcia has the edge in nearly every notable category. He’s younger, stronger, quicker, and better defensively than Herrera. Garcia will also be fighting in front of a rabid and supportive fan base. Garcia has sixteen wins by stoppage while Herrera only has seven. However, Garcia has only stopped two of his past opponents.
Garcia, by far, has the more impressive resume. He’s never been defeated and has been stepping up his level of competition recently. He has defeated Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Erik Morale (twice), Amir Khan, Kendall Holt, and Nate Campbell.
Herrera has lost to Karim Mayfield, Mike Alvarado, and Mike Anchondo. He has defeated Ji-Hoon Kim, Mike Dallas Jr., and most impressively Ruslan Provodnikov.
This is a tune up fight for Garcia, and a fight designed to attract more fans. Golden Boy did not give Garcia a risky matchup for his first fight in Puerto Rico and it should be an easy night for him.