By John J. Raspanti
I like this fight. Two former champions fighting for a vacant world title. It’s about pride, ego and, determination. They both want it bad. Their fight might come down to who wants it more.
Danny Garcia, nicknamed “Swift,” really isn’t. His moniker has always baffled me. Swift means speedy and rapid. Boxers like Gary Russell Jr., and Vasyl Lomachenko, are swift.
But Danny Garcia?
Garcia has his own rhythm for sure, but it’s not particularly fast. He’s more consistent, like the hum of a freeway. In other words, he’s more Toyota than Maserati.
But you know what? It’s worked out pretty good for him. He’s cagey, for sure. Garcia has lost once in 34 fights. He’s scored 20 knockouts. Not a big puncher, but his left hook is textbook. He did knock out a shopworn, but spirted, Brandon Rios in his last fight.
Garcia, a former WBC and WBA junior welterweight titleholder, has been a pro for 11 years. He’s faced the top guys in his division. He holds victories over an aged Erik Morales, knocked out Amir Khan, and Paulie Malignaggi, and impressively defeated “in his prime” Lucas Matthysse.
In 2014, he was gifted with a decision victory over Mauricio Hererra that most watching from ringside, and at home, disagreed with, yours truly included. Garcia captured the vacant WBC title two years ago by defeating a gutsy Robert Guerrero.
He lost it to the same man, who has defeated Porter, the oft-injured Keith Thurman. Garcia thought he won that fight, but honestly, he did just enough to lose. Thurman out-hustled him.
“Showtime” Shawn Porter brings his own intensity into the ring. He’s like fighting a furious storm at night. Porter stalks, mauls, and attacks. He’s won 28 of 30 fights, with 17 KOs. Porter won world championship honors in 2013 by defeating Devon Alexander. Kell Brook took his title a year later by close decision. A draw against Julio Diaz was cleared up a year later with a dominant victory.
Porter defeated childhood friend Adrien Broner-which, in turn, earned him a shot at then-welterweight champion Thurman. Porter has his moments, roughing Thurman up, and winning some rounds, but Thurman’s quickness was enough to edge Porter’s aggressiveness. Porter is desperate for a rematch with Thurman.
He’ll likely get it if he defeats Garcia, and Thurman is healthy enough to return to the ring. Porter rebounded after the Thurman defeat to beat the stuffing out of Andre Berto. He decisioned the always-tough Adrian Granados nine months ago.
Garcia knows what he needs to do to defeat Porter.
“I’ve gott’a go in there and fight my fight,” Garcia said in an article by Keith Idec of www.boxingscene.com. “I can’t go in there and basically get caught up in his fight. We’ve got some good sparring partners, short guys, about five-foot-six, who come forward. So me and my father have got the perfect game plan to get away from the head-butts. So yeah, we have some tricks up our sleeves.”
Porter was ringside to witness Garcia’s one-punch knockout of Rios. He wasn’t overly impressed and has a good idea what expect from Garcia.
“Danny’s counter-punching I think plays into my hands,” Porter told Scott Christ of www.badlefthook.com. “I’m a combination puncher. There’s more than one coming. If there is only one coming, you don’t know where it’s coming from. I think it’s going to take care of Danny’s strength, but I don’t take it lightly.”
Both fighters are solid. Garcia has a great chin. Porter was floored by Broner, but recovered quickly to notch the victory. Garcia has the edge in power while Porter is likely stronger. Garcia can look lackadaisical sometimes while Porter has been accused of being one-dimensional.
Garcia is a very patient fighter. He’s a counter-puncher at heart, and a good one. Porter has overwhelmed many an opponent with his aggressiveness. Garcia might be a better boxer, but Porter is the better athlete.
Yep, this is a 50-50 fight. The last couple of rounds will likely decide the victor. Expect some controversy