Danny "Swift" Garcia (28-0) got a gift on Saturday night. It wasn’t the biggest robbery in boxing history, but the right man didn’t win in Puerto Rico. Garcia, the WBA and WBC light welterweight champion, defeated Mauricio Herrera via majority decision in one of his worst performances.
The official judges scored the fight as followed, per ESPN’s Dan Rafael:
I had it scored 115-114 for Herrera.
Open scoring was in effect for the fight, so anyone paying attention to the Showtime broadcast shouldn’t have been shocked by the result. It was clear Herrera wasn’t getting credit for his work.
Rafael posted these curious scorecards after the eighth round:
Steve Kim of Max Boxing gave this honest and accurate assessment once the fight was done:
114-114, 116-112 twice for.... Danny Garcia.... yeah, Mauricio Herrera never really had a chance in this fight. Lets be honest #boxing— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) March 16, 2014
After the fight was over, Garcia said he expected a tough fight, per Showtime Sports:
He certainly got one.
Herrera predictably said he thought he won the fight:
Fighters always say that, but in this case, Herrera was right.
Garcia is of Puerto Rican decent and he benefited from some favorable scorecards in front of a crowd screaming for anything he did.
Despite the crowd's energy, much of the fight’s tempo and pace was controlled by Herrera’s awkward style and fast hands. The champion was far too dependent on the left hook throughout the fight.
That's the punch that initially hurt Amir Khan and knocked out Erik Morales in their rematch. It looked as if Garcia was loading up for the big shot in every round.
Perhaps he was trying to score an exciting KO for his fans, but it was a poor strategy and lazy performance. Throughout the middle rounds, Danny’s outspoken father, Angel Garcia, urged his son to pick up the pace, bend his knees and to throw his right hand.
He showed some flashes in the 10th and 11th round, but seemed to coast in the final round.
If the fight was scored properly, that decision could have cost him.
Even with Garcia officially winning the bout, he lost a lot in the way of momentum and status in the boxing community. Boxing Enthusiast King J suggests Garcia should give Herrera a rematch to redeem himself:
Fat chance of that happening.
Herrera is a tricky and difficult opponent that Garcia doesn’t stand to gain much from beating. Garcia will most likely stay as far away from Herrera as humanly possible.
While Garcia didn’t see his stock rise after this bout, Herrera’s did. El Maestro drew admiration from many on Twitter. Welterweight contender Andre Berto was one of them. He said this of Herrera during the late rounds:
This dude Herrera doesn't care about none of the Garica hype he's coming to fight— Andre Berto (@AndreBerto) March 16, 2014
Garcia had ideas of challenging Floyd Mayweather Jr., but after struggling with Herrera, not many people would give him a serious chance of beating the pound-for-pound champion.
Styles make fights, but Herrera’s hand speed on the inside seemed to be the biggest issue for Garcia.
If he can’t handle Herrera’s hand speed, what would he do against Mayweather, one of the fastest fighters in the history of the sport?
As for Herrera, he should have an opportunity to get a nice opponent over the next 6-to-10 months, but he may not have a lot of big-name suitors.
Champions don’t like to risk their titles and records against fighters with tough chins and awkward styles. That’s exactly what Herrera brings to the table.
This is just another chapter in the sordid history of boxing judging. Why do we love this sport so much?
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