The Questionable Career Path of Danny Garcia
The Questionable Career Path of Danny Garcia
By: William Holmes
On September 14th, 2014 Danny Garcia scored one of the biggest wins of his career when he defeated the hard hitting Argentinean Lucas Matthysse by decision to retain his WBA and WBC Super Lightweight World Championship.
Garcia’s biggest win prior to this fight was a stunning knockout over a two loss Amir Khan. The sky was the limit for the Philadelphia prize fighter and many considered him to be the best boxer in the junior welterweight division and Philadelphia’s best world champion since Bernard Hopkins. His other big victories were over faded veterans such as Erik Morales and Zab Judah, but those types of fights were to be expected for a rising boxing superstar trying to establish a name for himself.
However, Garcia’s path to stardom has sputtered since that fight and the opportunities to grow his fan base have largely been ignored or have failed.
Garcia’s first fight after his win against Matthysse took place in Puerto Rico against Mauricio Herrera, an opponent with three losses that many felt Garcia should beat easily. It was thought that Garcia, a Philadelphia native with Puerto Rican decent, would gain more fans by fighting in Puerto Rico and winning impressively. Unfortunately for Garcia and his handlers, he looked lackluster in this bout and squeaked out a decision in a fight that many felt he lost. Herrera threw more punches, landed more punches, and landed them at a higher percentage than Garcia, but somehow still lost the decision.
Garcia failed to capitalize on the momentum from his major victory over Lucas Matthysse.
Five months after that bout Danny Garcia knocked out Rod Salka, a blown up lightweight that was one win removed from a loss against the unheralded Ricardo Alvarez, and who had two other losses to an aged Dorin Spivey and another unknown Guillermo Sanchez. Even though the knockout of Salka was highlight reel material, Garcia and his handlers are still mocked for selling that terrible mismatch to the public.
His next bout was against the always exciting Lamont Peterson in Brooklyn, New York. This was one of Garcia’s most exciting fights, but it was another fight that many felt he lost. Peterson came on strong at the end and looked like the fresher fighter, while Garcia’s face was badly bruised and swollen.
Garcia’s handlers had him fight in Brooklyn several times in order to build up his popularity with the Puerto Rican fan base that resided there, and he was beginning to develop a large following in Brooklyn. But Garcia heard a sound that was foreign to him in Brooklyn when the scorecards were read in his favor after his bout with Peterson…
Danny Garcia heard boos from the Brooklyn crowd.
Garcia had a plethora of good fights that could have been made in the junior welterweight division after his questionable win over Peterson. Adrien Broner also fought for Premier Boxing Champions and would have been a good choice as an opponent. Cross promotional foes such as Terence Crawford or even Timothy Bradley would have made fight fans salivate at thoughts of that matchup.
Even the legendary Manny Pacquiao was brought up by many in boxing circles as a possible future foe for Danny Garcia.
Instead, Garcia chose to fight a six loss Paulie Malignaggi, an excellent talker and great boxing commentator, but he was coming off of a devastating TKO loss to Shawn Porter. Garcia won that bout, but it did nothing to elevate his career.
Even though good options remained for Danny Garcia at the junior welterweight division, he bumped up in weight and took on Robert Guerrero, a man that previously held a featherweight title and had only won two of his previous four fights. One of those wins included a split decision victory over the unheralded Aaron Martinez in a bout that many thought he lost.
Garcia won the fight with Guerrero, but Guerrero went on to lose his next bout to David Peralta, a boxer who’s full time job was that of a cab driver in Argentina.
But despite all of these missteps and uninspiring victories by Danny Garcia, his biggest misstep was announced this week.
Danny Garcia, despite being a WBC Welterweight World Champion, will take part in a tune up fight against Samuel Vargas.
Who’s Samuel Vargas? That’s a good question, because he’s not well known. He played the role of punching bag to Errol Spence Jr. in April of 2015. The same Errol Spence that Danny Garcia said wasn’t ready for him, because Errol Spence had to prove himself to get big names in the ring.
Samuel Vargas’ other loss was to Pablo Munguia. Pablo Munguia has lost six of his past seven bouts, and has been stopped in over half of his eleven losses.
Samuel Vargas has done nothing to prove he belongs in the ring with Danny Garcia.
What’s even more outrageous about this fight is its timing. Boxing is struggling to find and grow new fans, and this is evident in the noticeable decrease in number of boxing gyms nationwide and the lack of boxing on US television in the month of October.
Danny Garcia is a Philadelphia fighter, and Philadelphia is a major player in the sport of boxing. Garcia has not fought in Philadelphia since 2010, and at first glance one would think that letting Garcia fight in front of his home town is a good idea.
Except for there’s another Philadelphia fighter fighting on November 12th, and he holds the UFC Lightweight Title. He’s also fighting the world’s most popular MMA fighter in Connor McGregor, for the first UFC card ever in the media capital of the world, New York City.
There’s no overlap of fans in boxing and MMA amongst the older generations, but you’d be foolish to think an overlap doesn’t exist in the coveted younger demographics. Fight fans under the age of thirty five that live in Philadelphia would pay attention to Danny Garcia fighting in their city on most nights, but not on a night that Eddie Alvarez is fighting McGregor.
You’d also be foolish to think the Philadelphia media won’t cover a local native like Eddie Alvarez taking on the biggest name in the UFC over a bout between Danny Garcia and an unknown in boxing like Samuel Vargas.
That fact alone, defeats the purpose of having Danny Garcia fight in his hometown.
I’m sure the promoters will stack the card with local fighters in an effort to get the local gyms to pack the Liacouras Center at Temple University to make it seem like it’s a triumphant homecoming for Danny Garcia.
But the majority of fight fans in Philadelphia will have their eyes on New York.
Win or lose, this fight for Danny Garcia is already a failure, and just another questionable decision in Danny Garcia’s career.
Respecting the Sport
Respecting the Sport
By: Matthew N. Becher
Boxing is a sport based on respect. It is something that you need to earn. Either by fighting the toughest opponents available, or simply by garnering it with your punching ability while in the ring. Without respect you will not get far in the sport. Opponents will walk you down, feeling no need to respect your power and fans will tear you apart for not fighting, who they deem, the best possible opponent.
Last week in Las Vegas, Amir Khan skipped two weight classes to take on the lineal Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The fight went as almost everyone expected. It may have lasted a few rounds longer, but in the end, Canelo demolished Khan. A thunderous shot that completely melted Khan into the canvas. Thankfully Khan was alright, and in the end, it seemed that in defeat he gained just as much respect as though he had won. This seemed a little off. Social media was a blaze in praising Khan for taking on the bigger opponent, or standing toe to toe with Canelo for as long as he did. Khan lost. The fact of the matter is he lost pretty badly. Khan was hit with such force that he was completely unconscious on his feet, before crashing to the canvas. Is this what earns respect? Did Khan take this fight, truly believing that he could beat a rehydrated Canelo? Or did Khan take this fight because he could walk away with an estimated $6-13 million dollar purse regardless of the outcome?
A lot of fighters take on opponents that they surely cannot beat, and they get relegated to “Bums” or “nobodies” by the fans and Media. A few weeks prior, Dominic Wade, an undefeated middleweight contender took on and lost to Unified Champion Gennady Golovkin. Wade was unheard of and unofficially deemed the “tomato can” that somehow got in the ring with GGG. Wade had no shot at winning, but he did have a one hundred percent guarantee to walk out of that ring with a check for half a million dollars. The largest purse that he has ever seen in his life. Nobody rained down respect when it came to Dominic Wade, or for Golovkin for that matter.
Khan is a good fighter with a chin that does not hold up to solid shots. He was knocked out two times prior to Saturday night, both by men that weighed 140-150 lbs. What did we all think would happen when a 25 year old, prime, middleweight champion connected? Should we even be respecting Canelo’s power? Wouldn’t have any top 10 middleweight have been able to put down a welterweight with one shot?
In 2014, a little know fighter from Pittsburgh named Rod Salka was positioned to fight Danny Garcia in the main event at the Barclays center. Salka was a career jr. lightweight, but for a six figure pay day he was more than willing to go up and face an undefeated World Champion at Jr. Welterweight. Salka was nearly decapitated by Garcia and has since been the butt of many a boxing joke. Same for Garcia who has been dubbed the “Cherry Picker” ever since. What’s the difference between these two fights?
Garcia and Canelo both did what everyone expected them to do as the superior, bigger men. Except Garcia is seen as a “ducker” and Canelo as a big puncher who is at the top of the sports revenue stream. Khan and Salka, were both guys that took more money than they have ever made before in stepping up in weight. Though Khans’ future looks very bright, with multiple options available.
Boxing has weight classes for a reason. This is the reason! Jr. Welterweight champions shouldn’t be looking to strictly jump up two weight classes and be expected to compete with top middleweights. It’s not about trying to get “respect” from the sport, it is a money grab. Khan made a lot of it on Saturday, he paid a price to get it, but he will be ok, and drop back down to 147 where he may be able to continue his career.
Let’s not get it confused. Anyone who steps in the ring and puts their lives on the line, because that is what every single professional boxer is doing, should deserve our respect for that. When you go in with no intentions or chance of actually winning, then don’t try and think that we do not see what you are doing. It’s disrespectful to all of us.