Danny Garcia Back In The Mix

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

Photo: Amanda Westcott/ Showtime

 Danny Garcia hopes to be fighting more this year and the Two-division world champion scored a dominant unanimous decision over Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A top three welterweight, Garcia needed to make a statement.

And it was that statement  of needing the win to be next in line for eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao or Eroll Spence Jr. 

You see, those names were the target before Saturday night. However, Spence, on the comeback trail, after sustaining numerous injuries back in September in a single car accident that nearly took his life, was the lucrative opportunity.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, was not on his fight schedule with those responsibilities as the Senator from the Philippines.

So, Garcia took this fight and was fully aware of the implications. He was successful in his eighth appearance at Barclays, the cost for a fighter has highling as the main event in Brooklyn. 

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was sharp from the outset, finding a place for his right hand against the aggressive southpaw Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs). Garcia kept Redkach weary of his offense by punctuating his combinations with his signature left hook.

Will it be Spence or Pacquiao after this win?

“Either or ,” said Garcia. “Either of those fights I would like to have. My style looks great against both fighters.”

That style is fighting a southpaw and one of the reasons why Garcia chose Redkach.  It got him prepared for that next step to reclaim a major title at 147.

Spence is the unified champion and Pacquiao holds rights to the WBA title. Terence Crawford, holds the WBO title and could be the best pound-for pound in boxing.

But a potential fight with Crawford, promoted by Top Rank and ESPN, would be more difficult to arrange with Garcia under the PBC banner. But this is boxing and a fight like that could be done. 

Anything is possible down the line because in the end promoters need to provide the best fights for fans with the various streaming networks and money that is dominating the sport. 

With that, and a Danny Garcia win, the welterweight division does become more compelling and there are any number of scenarios that await the boxing fan,

This is a welterweight division that reminds you of an era with Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran. That was an era when boxing was highlighted with mega events in Las Vegas and the beginnings of HBO and Pay-Per-View events. 

And Danny Garcia, now a seasoned veteran, is still in that mix among the best fighters at 147.

“I’m not going to lie, I felt good, but I didn’t feel my best,” Garcia said. “I did lose a lot of weight for this fight, so maybe that played a factor. From a long layoff, and just losing so much weight. I lost about 25 pounds in eight weeks.”

After 12 rounds of action, the judges were in agreement, giving Garcia the edge by final scores of 118-110 and 117-111 twice. At ringside this observer scored it 117-111 for Garcia.

Perhaps, not the best win for Danny Garcia, but he did what had to be done. 

So, Danny Garcia is on this mission again to be the best welterweight. He has that persona and many believe the Philadelphia product is far from done and that first step was accomplished in Brooklyn Saturday night…

Co-Main Goes To Hurd: The co-main event featured former unified champion Jarrett Hurd returning to the ring for the first time since losing his titles to score a unanimous decision over Francisco “Chia” Santana in their 10-round super welterweight contest.

“We’ve moved on from the Julian Williams fight,” said Hurd. “We came out here, we had a long layoff and we got the job done.”

This was Hurd’s first fight with his new head trainer Kay Koroma, who he trained with in Colorado, taking him away from his home in Accokeek, Maryland for the first time leading up to a fight. Hurd looked to show off improved defense and use his height and reach advantage to dominate with his jab.

“There was definitely no frustration in there,” said Hurd. “We didn’t want to go toe to toe and we didn’t want to make this a risky fight.”

Hurd was able to control much of the fight from the outside, landing 80 jabs throughout the fight, connecting on 22%. He also proved elusive in the ring, allowing Santana to only land five jabs throughout the fight. 

Santana was able to impose his style at different points though, closing the distance on Hurd and peppering him with combinations punctuated by straight right hands.

Santana’s style however left him vulnerable to Hurd’s counters, which he took advantage of most clearly in the fifth round, countering with numerous straight right hands that rocked Santana consistently. Santana’s 737 punches thrown out paced Hurd’s 684, but Hurd’s 34% connect rate was superior to Santana’s 13%.

Hurd continued to use his feet and evade the charging Santana, before he eventually punctuated his performance by dropping Santana in the closing moments of the fight, first hurting him with a left hook and then putting him on the mat with an uppercut.

“In the last round I wanted to come forward and close it hard, but I got a little bit careless for a second,” said Santana. “In boxing you have to stay focused for every second of every round. He caught me with a good shot.”

Santana was able to make it to his feet and see the final bell, but Hurd was the victor on all three cards, by scores of 97-92 and 99-90 twice.

“We want the belts,” said Hurd. “We want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but we want the belts.”

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