Matt Rourke/Associated Press
Unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia may have been born in Philadelphia, but his roots lie on the boxing-crazed island of Puerto Rico. And the WBC/WBA 140-pound champion will make his—what he hopes will be successful—debut on the island this Saturday night, facing Mauricio Herrera at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon.
Garcia, who knocked off Lucas Matthysse in a minor upset on the Mayweather vs. Canelo undercard last September, is seeking to develop a genuine connection with the fans in Puerto Rico, and a spectacular performance on March 15 would go a long way.
Herrera is a solid opponent, but his best days are probably behind him. He's nearing his 34th birthday—in May—and has only posted a 2-2 mark in his last four fights. Both Mike Alvarado and Karim Mayfield outboxed him with relative ease during that stretch, and his two wins came against nondescript opposition.
His biggest claim to fame is probably his January 2011 unanimous-decision win over the now surging WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov. But that was over three years ago, and it's been downhill since.
Still, can you really fault Garcia for taking this fight?
Herrera is not a soft touch, but he's not nearly as menacing as Matthysse was, and few are going to give him much of a shot to win this fight. But he’s not a bad opponent, and for a showcase, you could do much worse.
Garcia, it would seem, is destined for bigger and better things. One potentially bigger thing is a shot at pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, should both men continue their winning ways into 2015.
The 25-year-old junior welterweight champion says he's not actively chasing that fight, in fact he’s not pursuing anyone, telling Matt Breen of Philly.com:
"I never call anyone out. I stay in my own lane. I work hard. And whoever they put in front of me, I guess that's who gets beat up that day."
It's a nice sentiment, and there's no doubt that Garcia means it, but soon the chorus will grow and the money and fame will become too great to avoid.
But first, he needs to stay focused, not get lost in the moment and take care of business against Herrera on Saturday night.
If not, the conversation ends.