The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of April 12
Another week has come and gone.
The boxing calendar has really heated up in recent weeks, and it all leads to the big one on May 2, which you once again won't be reading about here!
Instead we take a look at Danny Garcia's somewhat controversial win over Lamont Peterson on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.
Did Swift benefit from another generous decision?
We break down the need for an Andy Lee vs. Peter Quillin rematch after the two middleweights—or slightly larger in Kid Chocolate's case—put on an entertainingly tactical affair at the Barclays Center.
Next we shift the focus to the coming week's action.
Hold on to your butts, ladies and gentlemen.
Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov are set for a surefire Fight of the Year contender, and they'll be joined by the talented Terence Crawford on a split-site doubleheader on HBO. We look at both of those fights.
Finally, we close with the inevitable question: Is this Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s last bite at the apple?
These are the hottest boxing storylines for the week of April 12.
Did Danny Garcia Steal One?
It's a tricky question whenever you have a fight as difficult to score as this one was. The word "robbery" gets thrown around way too much, and Garcia's win over Peterson was certainly close, perhaps controversial, but it was no robbery.
This wasn't Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley or Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez.
It was a hard fight to score. This Bleacher Report scorecard favored Peterson from ringside by a 115-113 margin, and that seemed in line with many others around the ring. But favoring Garcia by a round or even scoring a draw isn't criminal.
The early rounds are where the controversy lies.
It's a "pick your poison" type of situation.
Peterson's lateral movement dominated the first six rounds. He frustrated the heck out of Garcia by not lingering in one place for any prolonged stretch and using his quick jab to disrupt his rhythm.
Garcia was the aggressor, for sure, but aggression usually needs to be effective in order to be scored, and the Philadelphian's effectiveness was at best questionable and at worst nonexistent. There were times that he looked frustrated and clueless as to how to plan his next move.
That said, many judges favor the guy coming forward, and it didn't hurt to have such a large pro-Garcia crowd possibly swaying them with his every limited burst of action.
Garcia's margin was made up by winning five of the first six rounds on two of the official scorecards and all six on the third. That seems to give Peterson no credit for his impressive boxing display in the early going, but that's how it goes sometimes.
There really wasn't any question over the second half of the fight.
Peterson became the aggressor, and he was physically stronger and manhandling Garcia down the stretch. If you turned this one on for only the final six rounds, you would have likely thought you were watching Garcia go down in flames.
Peterson was just that good when he got in his groove and pressured.
Does he have a right to feel wronged? Sure, but not all close fights are robberies.
Will we see this again? Please don't hold your breath.
The welterweight division definitely awaits Garcia, and after this performance, you can safely bet that there aren't a ton of guys shaking in their boots because of his impending arrival.
Do We Need a Lee-Quillin Rematch?
Yes we do.
There was a subtle brilliance to this fight. It had the type of tension that can only be generated by matching two fighters who can crack and know it.
Quillin, of course, dropped this one down a peg by failing to make weight on Friday and shifting us from a significant affair for a middleweight belt into a non-title and slightly less meaningful battle for who could get the loudest cheers at the Barclays Center.
The answer to that latter question, by the way, was Lee.
Lee and Quillin got off to a fast start with Kid Chocolate dropping Irish Andy in the opening frame. He had his man in significant trouble near the end of the round but failed to capitalize in the following round.
Quillin dropped his man again in the third, though replay indicated this probably shouldn't have counted because he was also stepping on Lee's foot. Lee returned the favor in Round 7, as Quill hit the canvas for the first time in his career.
Heading into that seventh round, Lee was in a huge hole on the official cards (down 58-54, 58-55 and 58-54) before rallying to put it on a clearly fading Quillin over the second half.
It was a great tactical fight.
It was not great as in all-time great, but it was fun to watch, particular if you were in the arena.
Was there a ton of posturing and many lulls in the action?
Yes, but that was because both guys knew that the other could knock him out and had to be judicious with letting the fists fly too freely. One big shot could end the night. The tension was measurable in the arena every time someone let a big one fly.
By the end of the fight it seemed that Lee was the stronger of the two. After all, that's just how he fights, and Quillin's conditioning was a real issue.
Do we need a rematch?
We could do a lot worse than settling this one.
Will Provodnikov vs. Matthysse Be the War of the Year?
Hide the children and anyone faint of heart.
Matthysse vs. Provodnikov was one of those bouts that seemed to top the list of every fan or media member who took the time to compile a ranking of fantasy fights that would never happen.
Because at the time it seemed that the ongoing Cold War in boxing would prevent this match, given Matthysse's ties to Golden Boy Promotions—and Showtime at that point—and Provodnikov's seeming preference for HBO's brand of vodka.
De La Hoya's move back to HBO with his two remaining superstars—Matthysse and Canelo Alvarez—opened the door for this match, and it got done in short order.
What we have here are two men who absolutely don't have the capacity to know when they should back up and stop throwing punches. They are two terminators who will likely produce hand-to-hand combat not seen since the days of the gladiators in Rome.
Maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but you get what I'm putting down here.
Matthysse is a straight-up bomber.
The Machine throws every punch with mean intentions. He knocks people down, has been knocked down and has rallied to win a bloody slugfest. Seriously, his fight with John Molina isn't for the squeamish.
Provodnikov? There's something on another level about this guy's will to fight.
Maybe it's where he was forged, in the harsh winters of Siberia, or maybe it's something hardwired into his head that most of us will never understand.
Provo loves every second of every minute that he gets to throw and eat leather.
Will this be the Fight of the Year? Maybe.
But you can probably safely bet that it will be the war of the year.
Can Terence Crawford Continue to Impress?
Crawford earned Fighter of the Year honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America and ESPN.com for a 2014 that saw him go to Scotland and lift Ricky Burns' title and then successfully defend against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran.
That's impressive stuff from the 27-year-old who also brought big-time boxing back to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since the late, great Joe Frazier contested his heavyweight title there in 1972.
Crawford makes up the second part of a dual-site doubleheader on HBO Saturday night.
He faces the sneaky dangerous Thomas Dulorme for the WBO Junior Welterweight Championship, which was stripped from Chris Algieri when he jumped to welterweight to face Manny Pacquiao last November.
Crawford, of course, vacated the WBO's version of the 135-pound title in order to move up in weight, and he has a chance to ensure his championship drought isn't a long one.
"Bud" is lightning-fast and knows how to control the distance of the fight with the best of them. He jabs well and uses that shot to set up his combinations, which he fires before his opponent has time to react. Most observers consider him a future—if not soon/current—entrant into the pound-for-pound ranks.
Dulorme has only one blemish on his record, a 2012 stoppage loss at the hands of hard-hitting Argentine Luis Carlos Abregu.
You might remember Abregu from his downright lethargic thrashing at the hands of Sadam Ali on the Sergey Kovalev-Bernard Hopkins undercard. But that's a digression.
Dulorme has rebounded from that defeat with a pair of impressive wins against Karim Mayfield and Hank Lundy to earn this opportunity.
Crawford is the overwhelming favorite here, and he should continue his rise with a win, but Dulorme is something of a wild card.
And that makes this a more interesting fight than it may seem at first glance.
Is This the Last Chance for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.?
Here we are again with Chavez Jr.
The 29-year-old has an iconic last name, a championship pedigree and—you'd be forgiven for not realizing it in recent fights—an impressive in-ring skill set.
And that's what makes him one of the most maddening fighters in the game today.
For Chavez Jr. it's never been a question of if he can be a big star in the world of boxing. He looked on the way when he dominated Marco Antonio Rubio and came from behind to paste Lee in 2012. That set up a showdown with legitimate middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez.
And then it fell apart.
Martinez embarrassed him for everything but the final 90 seconds of the bout, and then Chavez Jr. got a ludicrously bad decision win over Bryan Vera, a "win" Chavez impressively vindicated in a rematch.
We've all heard the stories by now of Chavez's lax training methods, his inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent commitment to doing the things necessary to excel at boxing and his seeming willingness to live off his father's accomplishments rather than his own.
Well, it's quite possible that the train of opportunity could be pulling into its last station.
Chavez Jr. moves up to light heavyweight Saturday night when he faces the underrated Andrzej Fonfara in the main event of a Showtime card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Fonfara made his biggest splash by knocking down and giving lineal 175-pound champion Adonis Stevenson quite a scare in his Showtime debut in 2014.
Maybe it's just something about this guy and debuting fighters on Showtime?
Regardless, Chavez Jr. is in deep here. This is anything but a gimme fight, and he'll need to be highly motivated because you know Fonfara will be.
Anything else and this train ride might just come to an end.