By Tyson Bruce
This Saturday, live from the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, we will see the return of one of boxing’s most accomplished young champions, Danny “Swift” Garcia, against one of its most seasoned challengers in Lamont Peterson. The matchup has been one of the most anticipated bouts in the division for over a year.
The fight we’ve been waiting for doesn’t come without its misgivings. Bizarrely, no titles are at stake and its being fought at a catch weight of 143 pounds, at the request of Garcia’s camp. Still, the bout looms as a fascinating styles matchup between two consistently entertaining boxers.
Lamont Peterson is a beautiful fighter to watch when he gets into his groove. He has the kind of all-around skill set and nifty moves that you just don’t see many fighters employ into today’s boxing landscape. Peterson can deftly box from the outside, but is also a capable craftsman on the inside. It’s the reason why he’s survived so long at the top of the talented-rich 140 pound weight class.
Despite his boxing acumen, Peterson has never been able to make the transition from a very good fighter into a great fighter, because he lacks the “x-factor” requisite of the very elite prizefighters. Peterson doesn’t have blinding speed or sudden fight ending power, and often slugs more than his fragile chin often allows for.
In the biggest fights of his career, Lamont has almost always come up a little short. Tim Bradley out-worked Peterson. Ortiz’s power caused Peterson to hit the deck twice, likely robbing him of the win. In the biggest win of his career, it is felt by many that he was the benefactor of home cooked refereeing and judging, despite his superb effort.
In the last major fight of his career, Peterson was torn apart in just three rounds by the awesome power of Lucas Matthysse.
At 31 years of age, the stakes are dangerously high for Peterson against Garcia, as it might represent his final opportunity to convince the sporting public that he’s of boxing’s elite. Based on his previous track record, this might seem like a long shot, but a boxing match can often boil down to how one fighter’s style computes against another.
Peterson addressed this point at a recent media workout:
“People talk about him beating Matthysse and Matthysse beating me, but anyone who knows about boxing knows that doesn’t mean anything. Come Saturday night I will prove to everyone that I’m a better fighter than Danny Garcia.”
In order for Peterson to pull off the upset, he must come into the ring with a more disciplined and consistent fight plan than he has often shown in the past. The fighters who give Garcia problems are crafty boxers that switch up their rhythms. The herky-jerky, in and out movement of Mauricio Herrera gave Garcia nightmares because he could never time the big counterpunch.
Garcia can fall into the trap of looking for the knockout and can be out-boxed and outworked during these stretches. Even a decrepit Erik Morales was able to give Garcia fits during their first bout. For Peterson, the key to the fight will be switching angles, creating distance and using the jab to off set Garcia—who needs to be set to punch. Feinting Garcia to throw the big left hook—which he often throws very widely—would also set counterpunching opportunities for Peterson, who is an excellent combination puncher.
Danny Garcia’s career stands in stark contrast to that of Lamont Peterson. Despite not possessing the obvious technical skills of Peterson, Garcia has always proved to be more than the sum of his parts in his biggest fights. Garcia has played the role of perennial underdog throughout his career and has thrived in the face of his doubters. No matter how many times he proves to us that he is a born winner, the vast majority continues to doubt him.
Garcia has been so successful because he does have an “X-factor,” which is his ability to end any bout with just one punch. Garcia has also shown the ability to process well in high-pressure situations. In the face of danger, Garcia remains stoic and poised. He’s showcased these two dynamic faculties in various fashions in some of his biggest fights.
Despite giving up a massive speed and talent advantage to Amir Khan, Garcia was able to withstand Khan’s early assault and think his way to victory. Garcia was clever enough to understand that if he was able to time the speed of Khan’s assaults and punch with him, then he could lure him into a false sense of security and time him with the left hook. He did just that in the third round and Khan was never able to recover.
Against Lucas Matthysse, where he was the massive underdog, Garcia showed incredible poise in the face of tremendous offensive force. A nip and tuck fight was broke open in the midway stage when Garcia was able to pull away with superior counterpunching and ring generalship. He also showed a great chin when he had to—often an essential attribute of a great champion.
Despite boasting some of the best wins of any top ranked fighter, Garcia has been shunned from most of the “pound for pound” lists and is widely derided as being one of the biggest heels in boxing. Just check out the various online boxing chat rooms if you doubt this.
Why exactly is this?
The reason is hard to put your finger on what makes him so dislikable to so many. Is it his absolutely loathsome father/trainer Angel Garcia, who also moonlights as Garcia’s mouthpiece during fight week?
Is it his awful understanding of sartorial protocol? That certainly isn’t helping his case.
The answer maybe much more simple: Garcia didn’t give the fans the fights they wanted last year. Fighting Lamont Peterson is a step in the right direction and a chance for Garcia to see how he functions with a little extra weight on his body. On paper, it doesn’t appear to be an easy style match-up for Garcia, as Peterson represents the most gifted technical boxer he’s faced as a pro.
In order to offset Peterson, who will likely box more than trade, Garcia must produce a more consistent offensive effort like he did in the Matthysse fight. If Garcia waits to counterpunch, he might discover that Peterson is too quick and skilled to fall into a trap like so many others have.
During Tuesday’s media workout, Garcia seemed to have the right mindset: “I’m going to try to dictate the pace, be smart, move my head, use my feet and land good punches,” said the fighter. “I can’t try to chase him down.”
He was also quick to add, “I’ve faced a lot of skillful boxers in my career and I’m still undefeated. That should tell the fans around the world who has more skill. Come April 11 when [Peterson] is feeling these two bombs on his face, he’s going to forget about his skill.”
Garcia has the kind of brash confidence that only an undefeated fighter can possess. The comment was also a dig at Peterson’s inability to box when a fighter who can punch begins to tag him. Many experts share in this opinion, and it’s the reason why Garcia must be favored in the fight.
The preliminary bout of the evening is a fascinating matchup between former titlist Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, (31-0-0 22 KOs), and perennial contender/recently converted titlist Andy Lee, (34-2-0, 24 KOs).
Quillin’s reputation, much like Garcia’s, suffered massive damage during a mostly wasted 2014 campaign. He fought just once in an uninspired effort against club fighter Lukas Konecny and was convinced by a certain mysterious figure to give up his belt (and turn down a career high pay-day) in a highly winnable fight against mandatory challenger Matt Korobov.
Instead it was Andy Lee who stepped in and scored a miraculous, come from behind stoppage and at last fulfill the prophecy of his late trainer and mentor, Emanuel Steward. It was a stunning and emotional scene watching Lee achieve what many assumed he would never achieve as he also snagged Quillin’s old strap.
Despite being out of the ring for what seems like an eternity, Quillin will go into the fight as a solid favorite, because he has been more dominant against a similar quality of opposition. Quillin is also the more dynamically athletic fighter and appears to be much closer to his prime than Lee, who has a lot of wear and tear from big fights.
Perhaps because he won a title, many seem to have forgotten that after the Julio Cear Chavez Jr. fight, Lee looked to be on the downside of his career. In his subsequent fights, including his title winning effort, Lee has shown very little other than a devastating right hook.
That might not be enough against a confident and hungry fighter like Quillin.
By Ivan G. Goldman
When it comes to scoring a knockout, Floyd Mayweather is a longer shot at the sports books than Manny Pacquiao.
At the Bovada offshore betting site, a bet on Mayweather winning before the bell rings to end the 12th round at is set at +550 in their May 2 mega-match in Las Vegas. An early Pacquiao victory is +400. That means $100 will win you $550 on Mayweather but only $400 on Pacquiao.
Yet Mayweather remains the overall favorite. Odds have settled in at +170 Pacquiao, -210 Mayweather, a fight that will almost certainly attract record action before it’s over.
The line reflects everything that’s known about these two fighters, and it’s no secret that Mayweather has been more likely to settle for a points victory while Pacquiao more likely to take risks in order to put his opponent on the canvas.
Yet on the over-under, a distance fight is still favored by -300 to +230 over a stoppage by either fighter. That’s to be expected when you have two welters who’ve scored only three stoppages in their last 20 outings.
Talk to ten people in the know and you’ll get ten answers on where the odds will end up, but Mayweather was a 3-1 favorite before the fight was actually signed, and the number slimmed down in reported heavy action.
Looking for a close fight and can’t decide who will pull out the victory? You’re not alone. Well, you could look for a draw. It pays 16-1.
In other interesting situations that pop up on the Bovada offshore site, look at light heavyweights Adonis Stevenson versus Sakio Bika Saturday in Quebec City. Not surprisingly, it’s -1600 Stevenson and +800 Bika. But a stoppage by Stevenson, the hometown favorite, is favored at -150. A Stevenson win by decision actually pays a premium at +140. That’s how certain bettors are that Bika, 32-6-3 (21 KOs), won’t make it to the final bell against a knockout artist who’s 25-1 (21 KOs).
But over on 5Dimes, another offshore site, you can get +150 betting the bout won’t make it past 7 and 1/2 rounds. I find that an intriguing bet. The over is -170.
On April 11, gamblers give Irish southpaw Andy Lee only a puncher’s chance against Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in Brooklyn, -325 Quillin, to +250 Lee.
Lots of bettors can’t make up their minds on what promises to be an action-filled tussle April 18 between junior welter powerhouses Lucas Matthyse, -140, and Ruslan Provodnkiov, +110 in Verona, New York.
Look at Vasyl Lomachenko, a staggering -2500 versus Gamalier Rodriguez, +1000 on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. At 5dimes it’s +1900, -3800. When the spread is that wide it indicates the house doesn’t really want the action but will grudgingly book your bet. Within those odds is one of the looniest bets on the board. Would you really be willing to risk $3,800 just to win $100 on Lomachenko? But if you do want to bet Rodriguez, clearly 5dimes is the place to do it.
Finally we come to the 5dimes view of Willie Monroe versus crushing middleweight phenom Gennady Golovkin May 16 in Inglewood, California. It’s +2500 Monroe versus -7500 Golovkin. Now there’s a site that doesn’t want to bet against Triple G. A crazier wager you can’t find. Yes, Triple G is a lock, but you’ve still got to be nuts to risk $7,500 to win a mere $100.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available in April from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.
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By Hans Olson
Hot off his unanimous decision win over Marco Antonio Rubio in February, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is set to return to action on June 16 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX.
Challenging the “Son of a Legend” for the WBC middleweight title will be Ireland’s Andy Lee.
HBO will televise.
Whoever comes out victorious will likely face the division’s lineal champion, Sergio Martinez, this autumn.
“I want to make sure we get everything solidified so that Sergio gets his big shot at the winner,” said Lee’s promoter Lou DiBella to the USA Today’s Bob Velin.
DiBella, who also promotes Martinez, feels that the fans will be the ultimate winners.
“It’s not often the fans win,” continued DiBella. “Often, our biggest fights aren’t made. Here’s a matchup between two young guys that fans want to see, and here’s finally the writing on the wall that the great older middleweight champion [Martinez], and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and one of the best fighters, in my mind, of the last generation, is going to get a shot at the top young guy in the fall.”
“If the pieces fall the way they’re supposed to, boxing’s the winner and the fans are winners.”
Andy Lee, who moved from his native Ireland to work with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward in Detroit, has had a run of successful fights since his lone career loss to Brian Vera in March of 2008—a loss he avenged on HBO’s air on the undercard of Sergio Martinez vs. Darren Barker last fall. A few months prior, he thrilled in a come-from-behind knockout win over the previously undefeated Craig McEwan.
Lee recently had a stay-busy fight, easily getting rid of the overmatched Saul Duran with a 2nd round TKO.