Garcia Slips Past Herrera in Puerto Rico
- Updated: March 15, 2014
Fighting within his ancestral homeland of Puerto Rico, Philadelphia’s Danny “Swift” Garcia (28-0, 16 KO) escaped with a close majority decision victory over Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs) to retain his WBA and WBC junior welterweight titles. The victory will do Garcia no favors in removing his fairly-large group of detractors, but he does remain perfect and continues on to bigger fights down the road.
The Puerto Rico fight was considered a personal milestone for Garcia, who has long craved the adoration of the Puerto Rican fans that have largely been lukewarm, thus far, in embracing him. This is despite his near-perfect victory over Amir Khan that launched him into stardom and his then-upset over Argentine banger Lucas Matthysse during the Mayweather-Canelo PPV undercard. However, those impressive performances were nowhere to be found on Showtime Championship Boxing’s main event. Herrera managed to bloody Garcia and made for a very difficult and gritty opponent.
“I wanted to knock him out in front of my fans but he was tough. I know nothing is going to be easy from this point on for the rest of my career. I thought I won the fight. The Puerto Rican fans here support me. I love them,” said Garcia following the decision.
Herrera routinely befuddled Garcia with consistent movement and sound bodywork. It was recipe that prevented Garcia from gaining much of a momentum early on and his trademark left hook was nowhere to be seen. However, that didn’t stop the judges, who thanks to open scoring that is allowed in Puerto Rico, from scoring the rounds for Garcia despite some obvious flaws in his game plan.
“I thought I was fine-tuned,” Herrera would say later. “I came perfectly prepared for this fight. I was trying to push the fight. I came to box but he wasn’t making a fight so I am the one that had to make the fight. I was the one putting the pressure on to make the fight. I feel like I won the fight. I thought I finished strong at the end too. I thought I won the fight.”
Garcia, to his credit, began to make headway in the middle rounds and landed several strong left hooks, but Herrera was routinely there to blunt any momentum with close body work. However, the scores kept on coming and kept on showing that Garcia was going to walk out of the stadium with a victory if the fight went to points. Ultimately, it did. Garcia was awarded the victory on the scores of 116-112 (2x) and 114-114. Many ringside observers and commentators on social media had given the fight to Herrera, but, perhaps, the edge of the Puerto Rican crowd and officiating crew were too much to overcome. Ultimately, Herrera proved that he’s a legitimate contender and Garcia remains unscathed.
“I think making 140 pounds might have affected my performance a little bit. I need to sit with my camp and see if I should go up to 147 and start a new journey,” added Garcia. “It’s been getting a little hard so maybe I need to think about moving up.”
Wilder Crushes Scott
2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist – and some would say best American heavyweight prospect – Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) breezed through Philadelphia’s Malik Scott (36-2-1, 13 KOs) to notch a first round knockout of the former contender. The victory is easily Wilder’s biggest to date and was supposed to erase some of the criticism of Wilder that he had been brought along too softly. However, the nature of the victory will, unfortunately, allow many of those doubts to linger. Initially, it appeared that Wilder had landed a major left hook, straight right combination that put Scott on Queer Street and had him out. However, upon reviewing instant replay, it appeared that Scott was touched briefly with the left hook and it was unclear whether the right hand actually landed. Many within the Puerto Rican crowd soundly booed the replay of the fight, but it appears there isn’t much evidence to indicate that there was a fix – as some social media commentators claim – and whether Scott could have continued. Alas, Deontay Wilder rolls along and positions himself closer to a world title shot.