“DARK HORSE” FIGHTER OF YEAR: DANNY GARCIA
GARCIA MAKES HIMSELF RELEVANT IN 2012
Los Angeles, CA- Before 2011, current World 140 lb. champ Danny “Swift” Garcia, an American of Puerto Rican decent based out of Philadelphia, PA was a relatively unknown prospect. In October of last year on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ WBC light heavyweight (175 lbs.) defense against Chad Dawson in Los Angeles, Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) won a split decision over former WBO titleholder Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KOs). In March of this year the 24 year old fought tooth and nail with a well past his prime Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) for 12 rounds.
PUERTO RICAN FROM PHILLY TALENTED
Bloodied and facing adversity, Garcia dropped the Mexican with his signature left hook in round 11. He won the WBC belt by earning a unanimous verdict. While that win didn’t appear all that impressive at the time, his next bout helped to put him in the upper echelon of prizefighters as we enter 2013.
ANOTHER LEFT HOOK & SIGNATURE WIN
Three months later Garcia was thought to be a sacrificial lamb for rebounding British star and former Olympic Silver Medalist Amir Khan (27-3, 19 KOs). Khan was coming back from a close decision loss to Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) in December, losing his WBA crown in the process. Amir was given back the title when Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone (steroids)
for their rematch which was to take place that spring. Peterson revealed that he had taken the (allegedly prescribed) medicine before their fight at the end of 2011 for a testosterone deficiency. While the loss was not overturned, the WBA “waved it’s magic wand” and reinstated Amir as champion. Khan headed into the fight against Garcia as a heavy favorite and the odds makers appeared to be on the mark for most of the first three rounds. However the Philadelphia native remained resilient throughout Khan’s outpouring of quick combination punching.
DOWN GOES KHAN, DOWN GOES KHAN!
The Brit got overzealous and underestimated the counterpunching ability of Garcia deep into the third round when a well timed left hook dropped Khan hard. He made it out of the round, but Garcia battered Amir around the ring for most of round four, scoring two more knockdowns which prompted referee Kenny Bayless to halt matters later in the round. It was a big upset as most pundits didn’t regard the kid from Philly as talent of the elite level.
GARCIA FINISHES LEGEND WITH ANOTHER LEFT HOOK
It’s clear that if you fight Garcia you must watch out for his left hand. Mexican legend Erik Morales who had a rematch clause from their first fight was starched in the rematch in the fourth round with one picture perfect left hook. The sight of Morales almost careening through the ropes was a sight to behold. While there are many contenders for fighter of 2012, Danny Garcia deserves consideration. Last year he was on the outside looking in. Now he’s the man that possesses the hardware in a division that has some depth. Clearly the man at 140, Danny defends his WBA/WBC titles against former 140 and 147 lb. kingpin Zab Judah (42-7, 29 KOs) in Brooklyn, NY on February 9th.