I was disappointed at Danny Garcia’s performance in beating Robert Guerrero to win the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight title over the weekend.
In my past columns, I touted the still undefeated Garcia as being part of the “young guns” in the welterweight to middleweight divisions who has the potential to succeed Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. as one of the sport’s next superstars. Also forming part of that group are Canelo Alvarez, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford and Kell Brook.
So far, only Alvarez can claim to be the legitimate successor to Pacquiao or Mayweather, given his recently beating a rejuvenated Miguel Cotto in November last year for the WBC middleweight title and earning a whopping $15 million from the fight.
As for Garcia, he was dismal in his showing against Guerrero, who was actually decisioned by Thurman in March 2015. I am not denigrating Guerrero but his being ranked No. 6 in the WBC welterweight list and his losing two of his last four bouts prior to facing Garcia show he wasn’t supposed to give Garcia a hard time.
But Guerrero, now 32 years old, had Garcia backpedaling for much of the fight and had a good showing in the first five rounds. Like many fight fans, I was expecting Garcia to stop Guerrero in the later rounds or completely shut out the former two-time champion the way Thurman did. Thurman even came close to stopping Guerrero.
Perhaps the observation that Garcia is avoiding top-level opposition is turning out to be true. So far, the only worthy opponents Garcia has faced were Amir Khan (stopped in July 2012) and Lucas Mathysse (by decision in September 2013).
Studying closely the Garcia-Guerrero fight, Garcia clearly lacked what made Pacquiao and Mayweather great fighters.
Pacquiao, when he was Garcia’s age or 27 years old, had one-punch knockout or knockdown power from his left hand and fists that flew from different angles. And the Filipino boxing icon was willing to take a punch to land his haymakers. Pacquiao also never goes on backpedaling mode for an extended duration.
As for Mayweather, his right cross was one of the most accurate in the sport and utilized the other three punches—jab, hook and cross—in a masterful manner to unsettle or disturb the rhythm or balance of his opponents. Boxers who did not respect Mayweather’s cross, jab, hook and uppercut always paid the price. And there is no doubt about his being the best counterpuncher in the sport before he retired.
Pacquiao and Mayweather also never let their opponents win two rounds against them.
Although Garcia clearly won against Guerrero, the way he fought won’t make Thurman, Brook, Crawford and Alvarez think twice of avoiding him. Thurman might even be thinking now he can easily beat Garcia.
I may sound too harsh to Garcia but the reality is Pacquiao and Mayweather preceded him, so there are boxing fans and analysts expecting him to be one of the sport’s next superstars.
Even the “supporting cast” of the Pacquiao-Mayweather era is a formidable lot: Juan Manuel Marquez; Miguel Cotto; Antonio Margarito; and Shane Mosley, among others.
Garcia and the rest of the young guns are actually lucky Pacquiao and Mayweather made the middle divisions in boxing hog the limelight literally at the expense of the heavyweights. So it’s up to the young guns in the middle divisions to cash in on the opportunity or not, literally.
Pacquiao and Mayweather’s only fight together may not have produced the thunder some fight fans were expecting. But in their prime, or two, three or even ten years ago, they never fought the way Garcia battled Guerrero over the weekend.