Danny Garcia gutted out a unanimous decision win over Zab Judah Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., retaining his WBA and WBC light welterweight titles against a game challenger in front of his hometown fans.
Prior to the fight, the winner of Saturday night's clash was set to face the winner of the Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse bout scheduled for May 18.
Perhaps that was wishful thinking, or maybe Garcia actually believes the gutsy fighter from Washington, D.C. will pull out the win.
In either case, the Peterson-Matthysse matchup should be exciting. Both fighters are usually entertaining and would present different challenges for Garcia.
Matthysse's Power Strikes Fear in the Hearts of Men
Matthysse is one of the sport's best punchers. He's 33-2 with an impressive 31 knockouts to his credit, and has the look of a fighter that no champion would be thrilled to face.
He isn't a household name, so the payday may not be great, but the risk is high because he's a quality fighter with one-hitter quitter power.
Garcia has a great chin. That was on display against Judah on Saturday night. But Matthysse's power is still intimidating.
Coincidentally, Judah handed Matthysse one of his two defeats. But it was a close and mildly-controversial split decision in 2010. Matthysse has improved since then and is fighting with more confidence.
Take a listen to Judah comparing the punching power of Matthysse and Garcia in this post-fight press conference.
I respect Garcia's cerebral approach, his toughness and the power in his left hand, but he isn't the most mobile fighter.
And the fighters that give Matthysse the most issues are movers. Devon Alexander scored the only other win over Matthysse, and he's an elusive boxer.
Garcia's flat-footed style is not a good match for Matthysse's powerful punches; I'd pick the 30-year-old Argentine in that fight.
Peterson's Pressure and Resolve
A bout with Peterson won't be a cakewalk for Garcia, but he does match up better with him than he does Matthysse.
With a record of 30-1-1 and 16 KO, Peterson's resume is impressive. He has good but not great power. His best attributes are his heart and the constant pressure he puts on his opponents, and he rarely takes a step backwards.
The 29-year-old goes to the body well and his style can drain an opponent. While Garcia would have his difficulty solving him, he is abundantly more skilled.
Peterson's best wins came over Kendall Holt and Amir Khan, two fighters with questionable chins. He stopped Holt in the eighth round.
Though he won a controversial split decision over Khan, the latter didn't know how to handle Peterson's pressure.
Garcia has the chin to absorb the shots that may slip through, and Peterson doesn't possess the natural athleticism or refinement to expose Garcia's weaknesses.
It would be an exciting and close fight, but Garcia should be the favorite.
Beyond Fighting the Peterson-Matthysse Winner
There are so many solid 140-pound fighters in the world. Taking on Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Terence Crawford, Khabib Allakhverdiev or fighting a rematch with Amir Khan or Zab Judah would be bouts that carry intrigue.
Garcia should have no problem finding opponents for the next two or three years.
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