One of the best fights in 2016 is only a couple weeks away when former junior welterweight kingpin Danny Garcia steps in the ring, for the second time at the welterweight limit, against former welterweight title challenger Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on January 23rd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The 12 round welterweight contest will headline a PBC on FOX card, in fact, it will be PBC’s debut on FOX as the boxing series plans to make the network a home for its more marquee matchups.
What makes this matchup so interesting is the clash in styles, but it is also taking place at a significant time in both fighters’ careers. For Garcia, he is still growing into the welterweight division and is vulnerable to any full-fledged welterweight regardless of skillset. Basically, at this point for Garcia, he could find himself in trouble against a fighter that he’s better than depending on the size disadvantage he faces on fight night.
Guerrero, on the other hand, is in a desperate situation. He is 2-2 in his last four outings, but since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, Guerrero has competed just three times. In his last outing, Guerrero went life and death with Aaron Martinez, who was considered nothing more than a club fighter at the time. Despite winning the split decision, Guerrero went down in the fourth and lost plenty of reputation points along the way, whereas Martinez gained momentum from that fight and earned plenty of cred points from fans even in a losing effort.
Both fighters still have plenty to prove but are headed towards different realms. Garcia needs to prove his validity as a welterweight as he hopes to reach the same stratosphere as he did as a junior welterweight. By making that correlation, Garcia will enjoy more financial gains and notoriety from the rich welterweight division.
Guerrero is fighting for his career. He needs to prove he is still worthy of calling himself a prize fighter and a loss to Garcia could send him so far down the ranks that only the biggest of wins could propel him even remotely close to the stages he once graced.
Still, there has been criticism from fans and media that believe Guerrero is already too far gone and that Danny is taking another “soft touch,” which is not the case at all, but the perception is understandable.
Team Garcia is not taking the fight lightly one bit, and in a joint interview with Danny and his father/trainer Angel Garcia, the duo guaranteed they were taking this fight very seriously.
“We not taking it lightly,” Angel Garcia said in an interview with TBV’s Josh Grayfer. “Guerrero, he is coming to fight. Danny’s undefeated; if a person like Danny loses then his life is changed totally. I know [Guerrero] is going to come to land shots and we going to land shots with him. He ain’t beating Danny. It’s going to be a great fight, don’t get me wrong.”
The point Angel is making sheds light on one of the biggest pieces of the many storylines surrounding this fight. When you think of underdogs getting a shot in boxing, you think of the movie Rocky, who was fictionally from the Philadelphia streets that Danny is from in real life.
But in this fight, it is the Philadelphia fighter that is the favorite giving an opportunity to the perceived underdog in Guerrero. Angel recognizes that and the fact that Danny has much more to lose in this fight.
Angel is not concerned with the style matchup, however, and he is optimistic about Danny’s chances against the same Guerrero we’ve come to know in the ring. “That’s a good fight for Danny, though. That’s the kind of style we need,” Angel admitted.
After throwing a subliminal at boxing’s last big Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry matchup in Cotto-Canelo, Angel spoke about the possibilities of an even better fight in Danny (Puerto Rico) and Robert’s (Mexico) rivalry.
However, Angel isn’t convinced that Guerrero will initiate the same style and come-forward game plan that he has in the past. In fact, Angel was almost superstitious when it came to not wanting to give Guerrero any ideas other than what he’s been known for throughout his career.
When talking about the expectations for the fight and the likelihood of Guerrero coming forward in an aggressive manner, Angel said, “I’m not going to say that because he gonna turn around and start running around like Peterson did, and then turn around and say he won the fight. Let’s not say that because [Guerrero] might want to run that night. I want Guerrero to come. We gonna hit and not get hit, picking him apart.”
Garcia mentioned the Lamont Peterson fight, which Danny won by majority decision even though many experts scored the fight for Lamont. In that matchup, Lamont fought smart in spots, which Angel referred to as “running.”
Another fight Angel referenced was Guerrero’s Mayweather earning bout in 2012 against Andre Berto. It was a grueling fight and Guerrero utilized what he does best, even if some of his tactics weren’t entirely ethical. And yet, they were the kind of strategies you’d expect of a seasoned vet. Angel used the Berto fight as an example because it is something Danny will try to prevent from happening in his bout with Guerrero.
On the topic of those veteran tactics, Angel said, “It’s not a concern, but I hope the ref does his job because, at the end of the day, we can’t stop that.
“It’s the ref’s job [to stop that]. I’m not worried about it, I’m just saying I hope he don’t come like that because we got a game plan for that, too.”