After months of speculation, a welterweight showdown between Danny “Swift” Garcia (31-0, 18KOs) and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-3-1, 18KOs) has been made official. The announcement came from Garcia’s Instagram account in a post that clarified both the date and venue.
The Haymon managed fighters will meet on January 23 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California in the main event of the first-ever PBC card televised on the FOX network. For the past few months, PBC has produced a weekly card on Fox Sports 1 called Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays, effectively bringing boxing back to Tuesdays and offering up some interesting cards in the process.
It was rumored last month after media speculation began to spill over that PBC would start airing fights on a third national television network – FOX. FOX has had a successful run with the UFC and it was willing to do the same time-buy deal Haymon has brokered with other networks.
There was speculation that a welterweight matchup between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter would headline the first PBConFOX card, but negotiations for that fight have proved difficult.
However, with Garcia-Guerrero it is obvious that FOX will host some of the bigger PBC cards to be made.
Garcia made his official welterweight debut back in August against Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In that fight, Garcia scored a TKO victory over Malignaggi in the 9th. It was that night during a post-fight interview that Guerrero’s name came up, although it was never a guarantee because names like Porter and Amir Khan were also brought up.
Garcia is excited to be getting back into the ring so soon.
“I’m excited to be fighting in Primetime on FOX and to get back in the ring in such a big way,” said Garcia. “I know people are going to say this is a Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup, but I fight for all Latinos and I have the fan-friendly style to back it up. Guerrero comes to fight and he’s faced the best in the sport. This is a huge opportunity for me to show why I’m a star there’s no better place to do that than in Los Angeles, where stars are born.”
But it made sense that Garcia go with Guerrero because the Philadelphia-born fighter is still new to the division and Guerrero while remaining a significant name in the division since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, has had plenty of struggles in the weight class as well.
In his last fight, Guerrero went life and death with Aaron Martinez in a fight that saw Guerrero touch the canvas in the 4th round. Many observers thought Guerrero was done after that knockdown, but he continued to fight. Guerrero won a controversial split-decision over Martinez, but Martinez won the respect of the fans.
The only other outings between Martinez and Mayweather haven’t fared any better for the Gilroy, California resident. After losing to Floyd, Guerrero returned to action a year later and struggled more than he should have in a “comeback strong” fight with Yoshihiro Kamegai although he earned the 12round unanimous decision.
After that fight, Guerrero waited 9 months before returning to action when he faced Thurman. The only real compliment that could be given to Guerrero is that he didn’t quit at any point in the 12round decision loss, but he did take a one-sided beating for the most part.
This is really the best matchup at the best time. If Garcia were to continue fighting soft opposition leading up to Guerrero then it wouldn’t seem like enough, but fighting Guerrero now is a solid test and presumably means he will only go up from here.
For Guerrero, he isn’t being forced in the ring with one of the sharks in the division, although that was also the case in the Martinez fight, and he can get in the ring with Danny right now while he’s still adjusting to the weight and perhaps a bit more vulnerable than he’ll be in a year from now.
This will be Garcia’s first fight on the West Coast since his 2011 split decision win against Kendall Holt, also at the Staples Center. More importantly, it will be his first fight in California since emerging a star in 2012-2013. Oddly enough, Garcia’s road to his current boxing stardom started with his first win over aging Erik Morales, a fight that took place right after his fight with Holt.