Danny Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) aims to extend his unbeaten record and silence his critics when he faces fellow compatriot Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs), in a 12 round, 143-pound catch weight bout this Saturday evening at the Barclays Center, New York.
The fight, which will be televised on NBC’s Premier Boxing Champions, is a chance for Garcia to showcase his talents to a mainstream audience, and put what was considered by many to be a dismal 2014 for the champion behind him.
Bursting onto the world scene with a supreme stoppage over Amir Khan in 2012, big things were expected of the Philadelphian man, and even though he parades the WBA and WBC super lightweight belts, there is a consensus that Garcia still has something left to prove. He has served as the underdog in many of his fights, triumphing over good company such as Zab Judah and ferocious puncher Lucas Matthysse.
But this is a much needed competitive bout for Garcia, who was involved in a controversial majority-decision win over Mauricio Herrera, and a two-round demolition of the under matched Rod Salka with critics feeling he is coasting under the ownership of two world championship belts.
Garcia is a very likeable character. He appears humble in his rise to the top and is supported by his enigmatic father and trainer, Angel Garcia, who’s facetious antics promote his son who takes it all in good spirit.
It suggests a settled camp, with the father son combination often slated by many who feel it does more harm than good. You only have to look towards former great Chris Eubank, who has been heavily criticized for the way he trains his son, super middleweight prospect Chris Eubank Jr., to see that an illustrious fight career doesn’t necessarily transcend to the training game.
But many hardcore fans will feel disheartened at the two fighters for making the bout at catch weight, were subsequently no titles, neither Garcia’s or Peterson’s, will be on the line. Yes, it has the makings of a great battle, both are supremely talented, but it takes a little edge off what could have been a make or break fight, only adding to the intrigue and excitement for the fans.
It’s also something that Peterson had done in previous matchups, most noticeably against Matthysse, who blasted him away in three rounds just shy of two years ago. It proved a sensible move, as the results suggests, but it implies that fighters aren’t willing to go for broke, and certainly himself nor Garcia will receive any plaudits for the decision to keep their titles on the mantle.
It’s also something that boxing boards are starting to toe the line on, with the IBF revealing that if Peterson loses he will be stripped of his belt.
Garcia is competent in all departments, and this strangely enough may be his downfall in not getting the acclaim he feels he deserves. He is technically adept, and can jab and outbox on the back foot as well as plant one of those mean left, sharp, short hooks onto his unsuspecting opponent.
He doesn’t have the blurring hand speed of Khan, the staunch defense of Floyd Mayweather, or the phenomenal punch power of Matthysse, but yet the two of these that he has faced and beaten convincingly still remain better known names in the division. Peterson too, doesn’t have any distinctive attributes that should trouble Garcia and the unbeaten fighter is capable of outmatching him whether it’s in a close chess match, or a war of attrition.
But how much will a victory over the high caliber Peterson on terrestrial television revitalize Garcia’s stock?
If he convincingly blows Peterson away it will certainly go a long way in regaining those fans who feel disillusioned by his two previous fights, but a close decision victory may not silence the critics.
Nevertheless, another win could set up a wealth of mouthwatering bouts with names across the super lightweight and welterweight division that fight fans can eagerly anticipate.