Danny Garcia Gets Gift in Puerto Rico

By Robert Ecksel on March 15, 2014
Danny Garcia Gets Gift in Puerto Rico
Danny Garcia is money in the bank and Mauricio Herrera is not. (Tom Casino/Showtime)

Saturday’s fight at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, between Danny Garcia and Mauricio Herrera was supposed to be a homecoming…

Saturday’s fight at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, between reigning and defending WBC/WBA light welterweight champion Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) and Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs) was supposed to be a homecoming. Garcia, a Philly fighter and pound-for-pound claimant of Puerto Rican descent, was returning to his roots to establish his bona fides as a fighter in the great Puerto Rican tradition. Even though he was awarded a majority decision after 12 rounds by scores of 114-114 and 116-112 twice, he no more won the hearts and minds of Puerto Rican fight fans than he won the fight.

Fighting out of the blue corner in red trunks with black trim, Garcia was matched in an easy showcase bout. Wins over Amir Khan and Erik Morales in 2012, and Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse in 2013, made Garcia appear invincible. But that invincibility is under scrutiny after a lackluster showing against someone he was destined to defeat and defeat easily.

Unfortunately for Garcia, Herrera, fighting out of the red corner in red trunks trimmed in white, had a different sort of destiny in mind. He trained hard. He had a game plan. He had no intention of rolling over. Herrera had fought and decisioned Ruslan Provodnikov in 2011, so there was nothing Garcia could bring that could possibly faze Herrera, who took control of the fight early and refused to let go.

Garcia looked good in round one. He appeared as sharp and focused as usual. Walking Herrera down, keeping the challenger at a safe distance, he was landing right hands against a pesky opponent firing jabs at his midsection. The fight looked as it was supposed to look, with Garcia outclassing the veteran Herrera.

Things began unraveling in the second. Herrera had closed the gap. He was busier than Garcia. His jab was working beautifully. He was landing upstairs and downstairs. His work rate prevented Garcia from getting off. And whenever the fighters clinched, Herrera got the better of it, as Garcia appears to have no inside game. When the bell rang to end the round, the champ was bleeding from the mouth.

Garcia had not fought in 182 days and perhaps the long layoff had a negative impact. But as Herrera showed in rounds three and four, he knew exactly what was required to neutralize Garcia. Moving in and out, landing punches and moving out of range, what he lacked in power he more than made up for in volume. The times that Garcia let his hands go, he usually missed the moving target, and threw the second of two low blows in frustration to try to slow Herrera down.

Because a WBC title was at stake, dreaded open scoring was a part of the proceedings. Another misguided attempt, in my humble opinion, to bring some order to our disorderly sport, the scorecards naturally showed Garcia ahead on points. I didn’t agree with the judges, and neither did Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer. Between rounds four and five he was furious. Most of what he said was unintelligible, but “What the fuck is wrong with you?” was not.

Herrera appeared to be gaining ground as the rounds progressed. In rounds five and six he was outthinking, outpunching, and outmaneuvering the champ in the fourth defense of his title. Garcia the counterpuncher wasn’t counterpunching and he rarely got off first. He landed a nice three-punch combination in round five and a good-looking counter left hook in the sixth, but aside from those moments of activity, he wasn’t doing nearly enough to possibly win rounds two through six.

Garcia snapped out of it in round seven. He and Herrera were trading jabs. He made the most of the few opportunities he had to counter. Herrera was able to smother most of Danny’s output, but at least he was busier than he had been in the first half of the fighter.

Angel Garcia was the mouth that roared in the corner. Intense on the edge of unbearable, he told his son, “You’re the champ. You’ve got to knock him out.”

Gracia drew blood from a cut under Herrera’s left eye in round eight, a round which could have gone either way. But judges or no judges, Herrera was winning the fight. He was worried about the cut during the one-minute rest period, but his cornerman calmly assured him, “It’s just a little baby cut. No big deal.” In the opposite corner, Angel Garcia told Danny, “You gotta bend your knees. You gotta control in the clinch. Put your head on his chest.”

Herrera had a big ninth round. He resumed exploiting Garcia’s offensive and defensive liabilities, his failure to adjust to Herrera’s awkward style, his lack of side-to-side movement, his inability to lead or counter. The formerly pro-Garcia crowd began to boo, to offer up catcalls at his performance. A terrific punch by Herrera straight down the pike caused Garcia’s nose to start gushing. He resembled a beaten man. At the bell his face was smeared with blood.

Garcia came out for the 10th looking much the worse for wear. Herrera had busted him up and continued to bust him up for the next three minutes. Danny was swinging and missing, while Herrera was swinging and landing. A big right by Herrera at the bell punctuated the round. Angel Garcia was almost restrained between rounds. He told Danny, “You gotta hit him with the right hand, son,” as though he hadn’t been trying. Herrera’s corner by contrast was optimistic: “Come in with everything now the last couple of rounds.”

Herrera took his foot off the gas and let Garcia pocket the 11th. Resting against the ropes, he was a stationary target for a fighter who needed a stationary target to make contact. It was good to see the champion on the offensive, but replays revealed that most of the punches didn’t land clean or were blocked.

In the 12th and final round, Herrera, his strength restored, finished in style. When he wasn’t stalking Garcia, he was hitting Garcia with combinations. At the bell to end the fight, Garcia was still missing and Herrera was still landing.

Except for the “baby cut” under his left eye, Herrera’s face was unmarked. Garcia, by contrast, looked a mess, and there was no way in hell he won the fight.

But everyone knew the decision was his. It wasn’t just open scoring that kneecapped suspense. It’s that Danny Garcia is bankable while Mauricio Herrera is not, and the bottom line, as usual, seems to be all that matters.

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Danny Garcia vs Mauricio Herrera full fight 15.03.2014

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  1. Ken Hissner 09:17am, 03/22/2014

    This was a well written account of the Garcia-Herrera fight. In this fight Herrera time and again could “touch” the mid-section of Garcia almost at will with his jab. The speed difference was quite evident right from the start. Whether Garcia took the fight lightly or not doesn’t matter. Herrera won 8 out of 12 rounds on my scorecard. Garcia was most fortunate to come back to Philly with the title. Only a rematch can help Garcia avoid persecution in Philly. Not giving Amir Khan was one thing but giving Herrera a rematch is a must!

  2. Koolz 05:18pm, 03/17/2014

    I can see where you are coming from but I just watched the fight again yesterday on allthebestfights and all night Herrera was landing the jabs and Danny was missing with a lot of punches.  When Herrera was backing Danny up Herrera couldn’t miss with that jab.  I agree that in the eighth Danny had it but damn the score cards were insane compared to what actually happened in this fight.
    Angel was panicking and yelling at his soon to wake up.
    Well another fight is gone and I doubt Danny will fight Herrera again.  He will move up in weight and we can pray he fights Khan for a second time.

    Danny reminds me of Broner or Bradley.
    This fight wasn’t even as close as the Martinez vs Murray fight which I gave to Murray.

  3. Darrell 04:25pm, 03/17/2014

    Koolz…...last I looked I wasn’t a “fan” of Garcia’s, not in the, “he’s my homie, going to beat all-comers & fuck the world!!!”, type of fan like a certain Lucas Martin Matthysse fan that lurks on this site!  If anything I’m kind of lukewarm on Garcia but do believe he’s kind of unappreciated & seems to be third in the hate line behind Broner & FMJ…..not that I’m here to back him up at all.

    A couple of comments, Garcia clearly won this fight…..and he wasn’t overly impressive doing it.

    Also, the report is mindbogglingly inaccurate.  A couple of instances-

    “....in round eight, a round which could have gone either way.”.  Excuse me!  If there was a round where anyone got pounded it was this round, Garcia fair clobbered Herrera, the crowd were on their feet reasonably expecting Herrera to possibly go down…..a dominant round for Garcia.
    “Herrera took his foot off the gas and let Garcia pocket the 11th.”.  Herrera was simply fucked especially from the hard digs to his stomach that Garcia had given to him from round eight on…..he never took his foot off anything.
    “In the 12th and final round, Herrera, his strength restored, finished in style.”  Well, I"ll be…..Herrera was going for a KO, the fight was gone early on.  He won the last round on activity & aggression but still got tagged throughout.

    Personally, Garcia disappointed me a little by not going to the body earlier in the fight, even though he shaded Herrera in just about all the early rounds, rounds 5 & 6 possibly excepted.  If he had pounded Herrera’s body earlier, as he had from about round 7 onwards, he would’ve been a chance of stopping him late.

  4. Koolz 01:38pm, 03/17/2014

    Darrell when we love a boxer we are often blinded by how bad they perform.
    Danny Got his But Kicked!  His Dad in his corner knew it the crowd knew it.
    and you what?

  5. Darrell 12:57am, 03/17/2014

    Was this a joke report or what?

    I don’t see any controversy in the result whatsoever, in fact I had Garcia well ahead after the first few rounds…...always uphill for Herrera after that.  Herrera’s was a try-hard kind of fight especially in the first half, he was going as well as he absolutely could but was always shaded.  Herrera tried pushing it in the late rounds and had some success but was on the end of good short punches all too frequently.

    A fairly decent performance by Swift, although he hardly managed to get out of 3rd gear, certainly not a gift at all.  He fought well off the back foot, limiting any real offense by Herrera.

    If anything, the even scorecard is a bit of a joke…..this fight wasn’t close one bit.

  6. Mike Schmidt 06:00pm, 03/16/2014

    Might I add, wow, what a breath of fresh air is Paulie Mag. Love his comment when the “power punch” compubox numbers where given while the Showtime team was debating the scores…Paulie on compubox- well those numbers are also as to how the guy hitting the button interprets the punch!!! ie don’t take those numbers as set in stone!!! Good Lord Garcia was missing some punches in huge swing in the air fashion- not a good night for the kid- can’t even imagine what a guy like Mayweather would have done to him- yikes!!!!!

  7. Mike Schmidt 05:44pm, 03/16/2014

    “...as Garcia appears to have no inside game.” BINGO ROBERT AND RIGHT ON. Garcia was fighting a smaller guy with no power yet every time they got in close Garcia would tie up and look at the ref. What has happened to inside fighting- where are the Frazier and Duran inside bangera- more often than often all we see now is guys grabbing each other and looking for the ref to break-giving Mike Silver another reason to rightfully bark!!!!! for a kid with such an extensive amateur background and closing in on 30 fights it was stunning to see his inability to even attempt to stay mano to mano, in the pocket and fight inside-He ended up back pedal to try and get some mid range and Herrera was superbly pre-fight strategy to jump right back inside with a popping jab ( and hell wasn’t it nice to see a guy that clearly knows what a great weapon a jab can be) Papa Garcia was imploring Jr. to bend his knees and get his head on Herrera’s chest- great advice except Sonny clearly had no clue about doing that. Afterwards we of course heard the post fight horseshit about weight, moving up to 147, and off night, etc etc,—He moves up to 147 fighting with these type of woeful holes in his arsenal and a guy that will punch inside and out, Thurman, will knock him cold. A fine report Sir Robert and thank you.

  8. Angela 05:20pm, 03/16/2014

    Garcia is a piss poor excuse for a boxer but keeps on winning. Herrera clearly whooped Garcia but apparently he is the chosen one. Can’t wait till his cocky ass is looking up from the canvas!

  9. Koolz 02:49pm, 03/16/2014

    Once again boxing is so Corrupt!  Man I can’t stand paper champion Garcia.
    This time is lost so bad and yet still walked away from the belts.  The guy needs to fight Khan again and get KO’d for good.
    Someone needs to sign Herrera to a rematch if the Khan fight isn’t going to happen.

  10. nicolas 12:20pm, 03/16/2014

    At one time, I think it was against some rules, or law, that the promoter of the fight would be aligned with a fighter. Of course, when Don King was at his height, his son Carl was often the manager of the fighters. first time I read about that was in the early 70’s, when it was pointed out I believe in Ring Magazine that a promoter in Japan was I think the manager of Masao Ohba, the former flyweight great who should be in the IBHOF, or even the WBHOF, but is not. While maybe it has meant some more money for some fighters, it has added another turn of the screw why some fighters don’t get the victories or defeats, that they deserve. More than ever before, I think that boxers are not fighters, but they are investments.

  11. PACMANUSA 11:23am, 03/16/2014

    He git a gift kinda like Bradley did in 2012 although Bradley’s was more like outright robbery .

  12. Rick 10:07am, 03/16/2014

    Galvar-I’m pretty sure they were facing away from the ring while they was texting Sulaiman The Second to let him know that everything was under control.

  13. Galvar 09:41am, 03/16/2014

    This is going to be a stupid question but do judges watch the fighters in the ring or do they have like a small TV that they watch?  I didn’t get to see this fight on Showtime, only on the video in this article and it looked like they were both missing shots.  I had at a draw but i’m probably waaaaay off since I can’t really tell from the video.  Maybe the judges were watching a little TV?  LOL.

  14. PeteThe Sneak 07:10am, 03/16/2014

    Joe, yes, it certainly does look and seem that way, doesn’t it…Peace

  15. Joe Bruno 06:53am, 03/16/2014

    Pete, the Puerto Rican Judge probably knew the fix was in with the other two judges, so he made it a draw on his card to mask the blame and the scheme. The other two judges will get paid by continued assigments in the future.

    It’s been that way in boxing since I can remember.

  16. aj 06:51am, 03/16/2014

    Danny knows that he lost you can see it on his face

  17. Joe Bruno 06:49am, 03/16/2014

    I had Herrera winning 7-5 in rounds, and it could have been 8-4 for Herrera just as easily.

    This is just another case of the house fighter (Gracia) being given a gift because of his importance to the promoters and to Showtime.

    What else is new?

  18. Pete The Sneak 06:29am, 03/16/2014

    KenM, good analogy on Herrera’s efforts against Alvarado and Mayfield and then against Provo and now Garcia…This particular style did indeed bother Danny to no end and he (Garcia) could not figure him out…I too had Mauricio winning a UD…Still, when I heard the open scoring (which sucks by the way) after the 8th round and saw Danny was actually ahead, I knew unless Herrera knocked Garcia out, he was not going to get that decision…Ironically enough, it was the Puerto Rican Judge who actually had it a draw at 114-114…Go figure…Peace.

  19. KenM 05:17am, 03/16/2014

    It seemed after the Provodnikov bout (that put Herrera in the limelight in the first place) he tried to play brawler against bigger guys like Alvarado & Mayfield in order to try & build a fan following - and he simply doesn’t have the size for it.

    This time out Herrera returned to the tactics that worked for him in the Provodnikov bout, consistently using angles & varying his attacks, both inside & out, which was really good to see.

    Garcia for his part looked lost quite frequently in the bout - much the same as he did late in the Judah bout when Judah finally started throwing punches.

    While Garcia is still young this is not a good sign, & it looks like a major weakness in Garcia’s game may been exposed. Other fighters around that can box will be looking to take advantage of this.

    Personally I had Herrera winning a solid decision, & felt the bout was more convincing than the win over the still slightly green Provodnikov.

  20. Pete The Sneak 08:47pm, 03/15/2014

    OK, I’m a Boricua hasta la muerte (Puerto Rican Till Death)...However, with that being said, and putting my Boricua Pom Pom’s aside, Herrera schooled Danny tonight. That was a shameful decision. To say that Garcia won that fight 8 rounds to 4 is utterly ridiculous. Danny did indeed receive a helluva a gift tonight and every Boricua fan there in Bayamon knew it…Peace.

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