"I am not coming here to lose my title,” said Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) via press release. “I am going to come and defend like always. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a tough fight, but I have prepared like I always prepare. I am ready to defend my title and win.”
Ah, the showmanship!
Garcia will most certainly come in prepared and ready to defend his lineal junior welterweight championship, but nothing on paper indicates his 12-round bout against Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KOs) Saturday night will be anything but absurdly easy.
In fact, the entire promotion for Garcia-Herrera has little or nothing to do with the fight itself. Heck, poor Herrera’s name was a good half-size smaller than Garcia’s on several screen graphics Showtime used to promote the bout during last weekend’s telecast of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo pay-per-view.
And the press releases for the bout are centered around the event’s location rather than anything that might actually unfold between the ropes on fight night. Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel, was born in Puerto Rico, and the motif we've been given for Saturday’s fight is the Garcia family’s homecoming.
"I love being in Puerto Rico,” said Garcia via the same release. “I am so excited that they embrace me, and I feel that I am giving back to my fans. I want to give them a good show.”
Apparently, Garcia’s idea of giving back to his fans is by defending his hard-earned championship against a tomato can. Seriously, nothing about Saturday’s fight indicates it will be a good show save for the undercard scrap between heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Malik Scott.
But the main event is bunk.
Herrera has lost two out of his last four bouts. He’s a rangy boxer with little-to-no power, who at age 33 appears to be on the slide as a world class fighter.
That’s if he ever was one in the first place. Yes, Herrera has a win over Ruslan Provodnikov, but it was way back in 2011. Since then, he’s defeated a host of nobodies and never-weres.
In fact, his two bouts against upper echelon contenders Mike Alvarado and Karim Mayfield were complete exercises in futility. He lost both by unanimous 10-round decision.
Maybe it is really homecoming for the Garcias. Like your alma mater, the home crowd at the football game likes to see a win. So instead of scheduling real competition, by all means, let’s schedule the Little Sisters of the Poor instead.
Garcia said he expects to be in tip-top shape, and that’s bad news for Herrera.
“You can expect to see that same fast, powerful Danny. All excitement and they are going to leave knowing that they got their money's worth."
It’s true. Garcia is the type of fighter who consistently comes into fights looking fit and trim. In this area, he’s the consummate professional. He’s never out of shape or sloppy.
But to say fans are getting their money’s worth is another thing altogether. In the age of multiple alphabet titles, mismatches and showcase fights, minimally boxing could do with less predetermined outcomes in fights for lineal championships.
No, this fight isn't fixed. Herrera will come in and do his best. He’ll work hard and perform to the best of his ability.
The problem isn't that he won’t try. It’s that he simply doesn't have the ability to compete with a fighter like Garcia.
And if he does, he certainly hasn't proved it to be the case. He’s not won any significant fights in the past few years, and he’s done absolutely nothing to warrant a shot at the division’s best.
For all the hubbub around the pending mismatch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, in that case, the challenger has actually done something to warrant the opportunity. Maidana upset the previously undefeated Adrien Broner last year to get his chance at Mayweather.
But that’s not the case with Garcia-Herrera. Instead, Garcia will hope to look good enough inside the ring and talk loud enough about Puerto Rico outside the ring for fans not to notice he’s taking a gimme fight when better ones are available.
Or if he feels he’s done all he can do at 140, shouldn’t he move up to 147 now?
Maybe Garcia feels like he deserves an easy fight. He’s faced good competition in his run up the ladder. His win over Lucas Matthysse last year was a legacy-defining moment. It solidified him as the best in the division.
But he’s put himself in a no-win situation against Herrera. If he wins and looks good, who cares? That’s what he’s supposed to do. But if he performs poorly or get’s hit by a lucky punch, he’ll take a giant step back in his quest to become a top-level draw.
Regardless, fans deserve better from their champions.