Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Garcia has been one of Golden Boy Promotions’ top young attractions for the past several years, and he finally became a member of the belted class when he outpointed veteran Erik Morales for the WBC title in March 2012, four days after turning 25.
He cemented his place among the star set for the remainder of the year, stringing together an upset KO of popular Englishman Amir Khan and a whistling left hook that effectively ended Morales’ career in the fourth round of a rematch in October.
One fight since has yielded another defeat of another respected veteran, this time a unanimous 12-round nod over Zab Judah in a fight that Garcia dominated early and survived late. Also a permanent part of the Garcia experience is the chatter created by his outspoken father, Angel.
Matthysse, meanwhile, is a commodity the mainstream boxing public got to know about later, but now its collective passion for him runs at a fever pitch. He’s a throwback among the 140-pounders and has tapped into the fans’ desire to see a guy who makes no bones about going in seeking knockouts—and then goes ahead and does it.
Only two of 34 foes he’s defeated have seen the final bell, and the two men who’ve beaten him, current and former world champions Devon Alexander and Judah, only did so by narrow—and controversial—split decisions after having to climb off the canvas themselves.
Garcia was ringside for the Matthysse fight with Peterson, and when cameras isolated him after the fight was waved off in the third round, the consensus was that he looked a tad intimated by what he’d just seen. By Saturday night, he’ll have to shake free of whatever tension the dominant display caused and execute a plan to handle the Argentine slugger firsthand.