Danny Garcia vs. Samuel Vargas Preview

By Robert Ecksel on November 11, 2016
Danny Garcia vs. Samuel Vargas Preview
“People are excited about the Thurman fight. I'm going to be pumped up for that one too.”

Sometimes the underdog defies the odds, achieves the impossible, and goes from underdog to top dog in one night…

Three or four years ago Danny Garcia was, if not a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, viewed favorably by boxing’s cognoscenti. He had a fourth round stoppage over Amir Khan in 2012 and decisioned hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse a year later. But before and after those signature wins, Garcia defeated shopworn Erik Morales twice in 2012; won a questionable majority decision over Mauricio Herrera and destroyed Rod Salka in 2014; defeated former champions Lamont Peterson and Paulie Malignaggi in 2015; and decisioned Robert Guerrero in his last fight to win the WBC World welterweight title.

“The best performance of my career, I believe, was against Lucas Matthysse,” said Garcia. “I was the unified world champion, I was a 3-to-1 underdog, he was knocking everybody out. I don’t think one person in the world thought I’d win that fight, but I knew deep in my heart I was the better fighter.”

There has been little to complain about Garcia’s performances. With his undefeated record (32-0, 18 KOs), he continues to do everything well. He can box and he can punch, but most of his fights have not been against the best of the best, which will presumably change if and when he fights Keith Thurman, who called Garcia a “cherry picker,” in March of 2017.

Twenty-eight-year-old Garcia has not fought in seven months and was rumored to have signed to fight Andre Berto, another former champion past his prime, a match which failed to materialize, to the disappointment if no one, except perhaps Berto.

“Everybody knows how [Garcia] gets down—you know what I mean,” Berto told Ben Thompson of FightHype.com. “I ain’t knocking his style of trying to fight less for the most money. Man, that’s all good, but don’t try to throw me in like I’m outpricing myself or I’m ducking you.”

In lieu of fighting Berto, what has materialized appears to satisfy no one, with the exception of the brass at Premier Boxing Champions, who have taken a liking to Garcia and is giving him another in a long line of soft touches.

Garcia’s opponent, 27-year-old Samuel Vargas, currently holds the WBA-NABA welterweight title. That belt will not be on the line. In fact no belt will be on the line as he and Garcia meet in a 10-round tune-up on Saturday, November 12, at Temple University’s Liacouris Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philly is Garcia’s hometown, so he’ll be fighting in front of his adoring hometown fans. But Vargas, who has a respectable 25-2-1 (13 KOs) record, will never be mistaken for an elite fighter. With the exception of a 2015 TKO loss to Errol Spence Jr., another fighter who it appears Garcia is ducking, Vargas has not fought a world-class fighter until now, assuming Garcia can still legitimately be considered a world-class fighter.

In his defense, Garcia told Fight Hype, “If Andre Ward and Kovalev can have a tune up fight why can’t I? I don’t consider this as a tune up fight because these fights are probably harder than the promoted fights. These are the fights you’ve really got to be careful about. He’s has nothing to lose. He’s lost to a good fighter already. He wants to try to prove himself. He’s coming off five wins.”

Vargas rebounded since losing to Spence and is coming off five wins, but those wins were against Cesar Chavez, Ulises Jimenez and Robson Assis in 2015, and Edgar Ortega and Juan Armando Garcia this year. Their combined records are 93-32-2.

But, numbers aside, Vargas won’t easily be deterred.

“Things happen when you work hard and I’m so excited about this opportunity,” he said. “Garcia is a great fighter and he cleaned out the 140-pound division and now he is champion at 147. A win would change my life and everyone around me. This is my time. I can’t fail. This is going to be a Rocky story in Rocky’s town.”

The “Rocky story” has motivated many, soldier and civilian alike. Sometimes the underdog defies the odds, achieves the impossible, and goes from underdog to top dog in a one night. But more often than not it’s just a dream, especially when a better fighter with heavier hands and everything to lose is in the opposite corner.

“I am just going in the ring and be myself,” said Garcia. “Seek and destroy. I am taking this one round at a time. I’m looking to be smart and break him down. When the opportunity comes, I’m taking it and putting on a show.

“I am not looking past this fight.  I have tunnel vision and have never looked past anyone.  I know he is coming to win, but I am ready mentally and physically to get the job done.

“I know people are excited about the Thurman fight. I understand that and I’m going to be pumped up for that one too. But I’m not looking past anybody. I’m fully focused on putting on a show at home and doing what I have to do to beat Vargas.

“There’s not too much to say but I’m really excited to fight. I hope all the fans come out and see what they’ve been missing in Philly. I’m going for the knockout.”

Garcia vs. Vargas will be televised live Saturday night on Spike beginning at 9 PM/ET.

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  1. Lucas McCain 03:24pm, 11/11/2016

    Sorry, wrong column!  The danger of writing with your distance glasses on.

  2. Lucas McCain 03:23pm, 11/11/2016

    Quite right.  Anyone’s O could go.  Marciano was lucky Floyd beat Ingo in the rematch.  He planned to come back to meet Ingo but he figured Floyd was too fast for him at that point in his life.  A prime Rock would have taken either of them, but in 1960, Ingo’s right might have been lights out, even more the Brockton Blockbuster.

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