It was supposed to be a celebration, a homecoming of sorts for Puerto Rican-American Danny Garcia. Garcia, (28-0, 16 KOs), is one of the most accomplished young fighters in the sport, and was set to defend the light welterweight championship of the world for the fourth time. In Garcia’s previous bout, Garcia dispatched the boogeyman of the division, Lucas Matthysse. It had been the third or so time in Garcia’s career he had upended the odds, so Garcia’s people seemingly believed it was time for Garcia to have a softer touch. They chose the experienced, though thought to be overmatched Mauricio Herrera, (20-4, 7 KOs). The 33-year old Herrera would turn out to be far from a sacrificial lamb.
From round one it was apparent that Danny Garica was the much bigger man, and soon after that the much bigger puncher. The problem for Garcia was, he was being out landed and could not find a home for his big left hook. From the outset, Herrera used the jab superbly, timing it perfectly at times and working it to the stomach of Garcia often. After the first three stanzas, which largely consisted of Herrera out working and frustrating the slow to start champion, Garcia sensed the challenged.
Garcia would come out in round four with a sense of urgency, forcing Herrera into a few exchanges. In those exchanges, Garcia often was not able to connect cleanly, but his punches could be heard during the television broadcast. Giving Garcia an edge when the two fighters landed around the same number of punches. In the middle rounds Garcia would work himself into the fight, and halfway through the fight was about even. With Herrera possibly having the edge.
In the second half of the fight, Herrera would continue to successfully work and time his jab, and was now landing his right hand. The fight had changed and Danny Garcia was now the man moving on his feet away from Herrera. Herrera early on had boxed the bigger Garcia, but as the open scoring in Puerto Rico was announced with Garcia as the leader on the judges’ scorecards, Herrera had no problem taking the initiative. Garcia would battle like the champion he is, throwing combinations and trying different adjustments to take over the fight, but he could not get himself out of a dog fight.
The fight remained near even headed into the championship rounds. Herrera would have a good 9th round, landing his right hand cleanly in the exchanges. Garcia would return the favor and win the tenth. Garcia’s nose leaked blood headed into the final two rounds, and on objective scorecards, Garcia may have needed the final two rounds to secure his light welterweight supremacy. The final two stanzas were a completion of the rest of the fight, they were probably scored 1-1. The 11th to Garcia, and the 12th to Herrera.
After thirty six, tightly contested minutes the judges awarded (of course) Danny Garcia. No surprise there, the champion getting the decision in a close fight where he is the beloved star is not new, and unfortunately for some, is not going anywhere. That tends to make the objective crowd lean towards the underdog who may not have gotten his just due. After the decision was announced, many fans on the internet immediately voiced their opinions that Herrera had been robbed and that Danny Garcia was fortunate to have fought in Puerto Rico, as they believed it influenced the decision.
Fans will deservedly debate the scoring of the fight, but the truth is claiming either fighter won without a shadow of a doubt is taking the argument for either fighter too far. It was a very close affair, and a tough fight to score. Upon viewing it seemed like a draw would have been the fairest verdict, with multiple rounds being almost dead even. It depends upon whether you opted for Herrera’s intelligent tactics, superior jab and well landed shots. Or Garcia’s thudding power punching. One thing is for sure, fans’ perception of Mauricio Herrera has risen. Danny Garcia along with the boxing world now know Herrera is a formidable, crafty fighter.
Danny Garcia’s stock had risen as much as any fighter’s in the past year or so. After being bloodied and at times blunted by Herrera, it will have taken a drop. A slight drop to some, and a significant one to others. It is hard to gauge why it is Garcia struggled so mightily with Herrera. Is it just a case of Garcia having limitations? Or did Garcia take Herrera lightly after enjoying himself in Puerto Rico? Perhaps after making 140 pounds his entire career, Danny Garcia is ready to take the move up to welterweight. His frame never looked bigger, and after the fight Garcia claimed he indeed struggled to make-weight. It looks like it’s time for Garcia to ditch his light welterweight crown and move up to boxing’s glamour division, welterweight. Where Garcia stacks up at 147 entirely depends on his development. We will soon see how he stacks up.