Boxing

Was Narrow Win over Mauricio Herrera a Setback for Danny Garcia?

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 14:  Danny Garcia celebrates after the 12th round against Lucas Matthysse in their WBC/WBA super lightweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Lyle FitzsimmonsFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

As homecomings go, it was far less marvelous than meh.

And while Showtime’s pre-fight package was heavy on Danny Garcia sentiment and light on Mauricio Herrera participation, the match that the two 140-pounders proceeded to make surely surprised those who’d been expecting a champion’s walkover in his prelude to a rise to welterweight.

This Bleacher Report scorecard mirrored the eight rounds to four provided for Garcia by the prevailing judges, who were squarely in the post-fight verbal sights of network analysts Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi—each of whom saw Herrera as a winner in seven of 12 rounds with one even.

Still, whether you viewed the fight’s majority decision result as clear-cut, close or criminal, the effect that it’s likely to have on the grand Garcia game plan going forward pales in comparison to the sky-is-falling cries of “robbery” and “fix” that littered social media in its Saturday night wake.

Though estranged bedfellows at Golden Boy Promotions would certainly have preferred a result that the incumbent’s dual-belt status seemed to promise going in, the predictable contrarian spew does little to change the legitimate momentum “Swift” will carry with him to 147 pounds.

Like it or not, all the plusses he had going for him as the weekend began, he still had when it ended, regardless of how good or bad he might have looked in the Puerto Rican return trip.

He’s still unbeaten as a pro. He’s convincingly cleaned out a deep division’s top shelf. And he’s got both the backstory and back-room connections that present immediate cred-boosting opportunities in his new weight surroundings. And when those fights arrive, bad scorecard tastes will quickly fade.

Need evidence? Simply think back to some so-called high-profile robberies of recent vintage.

One fight removed from lifting Manny Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight Title in 2012, few seemed aghast that new champ Timothy Bradley was sharing a pay-per-view stage with Juan Manuel Marquez. Also from 2012, lightweight Brandon Rios went straight from grand theft against Richar Abril to a lucrative HBO doubleheader with Mike Alvarado and a share of new weight class supremacy in his grasp.

So when Garcia signs up for a new-division debut in three or four months, all will be forgiven as the emphasis shifts from crimes of the past to possibilities of the future. In fact, if anything did change around the unpopular winner thanks to Saturday, it’s perhaps the level of confidence that his potential adversaries will carry into the ring against he and his big-talking dad, Angel.

Because Herrera was so befuddling with a clever mix of aggression, retreat and self-assurance, the fight recording will be required viewing for any number of GBP clients at 147—a cast that includes names like Jesus Soto Karass, Adrien Broner, Marcos Maidana, Luis Collazo and Malignaggi himself, who’s got an IBF title date with Shawn Porter in April and has already chatted Garcia up as a foe to BoxingScene.com.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” he said. “So yeah, if the money is there. I'm not arguing with Danny and his father. Don't expect that. I have a lot of respect for them. It's an interesting fight at 147.”

And Saturday night’s misstep notwithstanding, Garcia’s stock shows no signs of losing that relevance.

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