Garcia, Peterson Wins Show 140-Pound Division's Promise If Boxing Cold War Ends

Lyle FitzsimmonsFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2014

BROOKLYN, NY - AUGUST 9: Danny Garcia (Brown/Gold trunks) lands a left hook to the head of Rod Salka (Black/Gold trunks) during their fight at the Barclays Center on August 9, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)
Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Saturday night was boxing’s version of an investment prospectus.

While neither Lamont Peterson’s 10th-round TKO of rugged Edgar Santana nor Danny Garcia’s early vanquish of Pittsburgh stylist Rod Salka was a needle-mover in its own right, the combined effect of the two provided a glimpse at why the 140-pounders remain the sport’s hottest collective stock.

And if the positivity that indicates an imminent end to a prolonged promotional Cold War is prescient, the dividend to a recently suffering fanbase could be a cable TV schedule flush with big fights.

First on that agenda—based both on Barclays Center proximity and post-fight call-outs—could be Golden Boy roster-mates Peterson and Garcia together in a match that would unify the three divisional title belts (Peterson, IBF; Garcia, WBA and WBC) that the two of them combine to hold at 140.

Though neither was expected to encounter much more in Brooklyn than mild inconvenience, both still managed to impress while doing exactly what big favorites are supposed to do against underdogs: Win convincingly and look good doing it.

BROOKLYN, NY - AUGUST 9: Lamont Peterson (White w/Purple trunks) lands a body shot to Edgar Santana (Silver w/Red trunks) during their IBF junior welterweight championship fight at the Barclays Center on August 9, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Ed
Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

“I was able to show a lot of dimensions of my game,” Peterson told Showtime’s Jim Gray, after winning for the 33rd time and defending his crown for the third time. “Overall, I give myself a good, OK grade.”

The Washington, D.C. native showed particular prowess when punishing his Puerto Rican foe’s body, which he did for much of nine rounds before head shots prompted a doctor’s intervention in Round 10.

And when Gray popped the “who’s next?” question moments later, the answer was just as precise, even if the zeal was somewhat tempered by the reality that numbers will still have to add up correctly.

“Danny Garcia,” Peterson said. “I hope so. Both sides have got to agree, and it’s got to make sense. I’m willing to do it, but this is a business, and it’s got to make sense.”

Garcia’s performance after a masked, rap-augmented ring entrance did nothing to tamp the flames.

Following a nondescript first round, the Philadelphian stomped hard on the gas in the second, dropping his outgunned foe initially with an overhand right, then with a clubbing right and finally with a whistling left hook whose impact sent Salka tumbling to the mat en route to a frightening head thud.

“I came here and did what I was supposed to do,” Garcia told Gray, eschewing the idea that he’d get no credit. “I took this fight like any other fight, and I came prepared. Nobody is easy in boxing unless you do the hard work. And when Danny Garcia is at his best, he can beat anybody. I’ve already proved that.”

When Peterson’s name came up, he leaned on the same business principles.

“I’m all about fighting the best fights. I’ll leave that to Al Haymon,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me; I show up on fight night. But if (Peterson) wants it, he can get it, too.”

And even if he doesn’t, chances are awfully good that someone else will.

Because Oscar De La Hoya’s reach at 140 goes beyond Peterson and Garcia to Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse and Mauricio Herrera, the imminent dance cards for both champions will be filled with proven foils.

If the thaw with Bob Arum ultimately goes into full effect, those ranks could quickly be supplemented by Top Rank clients Jesse Vargas, Mike Alvarado and Terence Crawford, too, as well as another big name who has appeared on several recent co-promoted Arum cards, Ruslan Provodnikov.

No matter how the promotional die is cast, the numbers make fans winners.

And though they didn’t mention the full slate of possible foes, a pair of analysts threw their support behind Peterson and Garcia’s specific futures from behind Showtime’s post-fight studio desk—perhaps signaling what we could all be in store for if the business side mirrors the competitive side.

“Peterson has earned his way back to the top of the division,” said host Brian Kenny, who was followed by analyst Paulie Malignaggi’s suggestion that Garcia was “very sharp, and because of that anyone in the ring with him tonight would have had a hard time.”

Separate or together, their Saturday stocks pave their way to a 140-pound easy street.