With one well-timed left hook in an exchange, Danny Garcia—hungry, young, undefeated and cut above the right eye—set the entire boxing universe right.
From the time he dropped Amir Khan suddenly in the third round of their WBA/WBC junior welterweight unification bout until referee Kenny Bayless called it to a halt with 32 seconds left in the fourth, just about every boxing fan in North America had to have been on his feet, cheering on the 24-year-old Philadelphia fighter's victory over the heavily-favored Brit.
That's the way it goes in boxing. There's always another determined young fighter in the wings, with skill, grit and self-confidence in his game plan. One who is ready to take advantage of his big shot and insert his name into all the conversations.
For the first two rounds of their July 14 fight it did appear that Khan would be able to outclass Garcia by taking advantage of his superior reach and hand speed. But even when he was losing rounds early, Garcia was doggedly staying within range, confident in his ability to exchange and trade.
In the third, Garcia demonstrated how footwork and timing can trump hand speed and reach. As both fighters opened up to exchange, Garcia was ready with his lead hook, dropping Khan and rocking him badly. Khan hung on gamely for the remainder of the round, but his legs were clearly shot.
Khan never seemed to recover, though he deserves full credit for going out like an old school champ. He fought aggressively in the manner of a wounded animal for most of the round. But Garcia consistently landed punishing combinations, and while Khan still appeared to have some fight left in him, Bayless' stoppage was still entirely appropriate.
Because Danny Garcia—everybody's new favorite fighter in the summer of 2012—was only going to hurt him worse.
This was the kind of fight that makes boxing fans call up their buddies and tell them to catch the HBO re-broadcast the next day. It's the kind of performance that gets a young fighter's name on everybody's lips and that leads to articles like this one.