The truth about the expectations for Danny Garcia heading into his August 1st fight with Paulie Malignaggi is that he only really needs to control the fight and earn the decision in a decisive manner. That is not to say the Garcia camp is limiting their own prospects to a decision because I’m sure they have a stoppage on their mind.
However, we must realize that Malignaggi is a tough fight for anyone. You can dominate Malignaggi, and yet no one would make the mistake of taking that fight lightly, nor would any fighter accuse Malignaggi of having an easy style to match. Of course, with PBC’s primary goal to have its fights and fighters appeal to the commercial demographic of boxing you could argue that anything less than an impressive KO will fall short of its objective.
But real boxing fans recognize the difficulty Malignaggi presents to any top fighter in any division, and we can’t forget that this is Garcia’s first true step up to 147 lbs. Now, some fans might want to trivialize Danny’s first welterweight fight by pointing out his catch weights in recent fights, but that is not fair.
A fighter’s first fight in a weight class should be characterized by the opponent’s ability to make 147 lbs. For example, we consider Manny Pacquiao a welterweight even though he has failed to make the weight limit in previous welterweight bouts. Furthermore, Garcia is fighting a fighter that has proven himself at the weight class. Malignaggi may not be the strongest or biggest welterweight, but he is definitely a capable one, but more importantly he is not diminished at the weight class. Malignaggi was never a big puncher, so he isn’t losing power at welterweight, and he certainly doesn’t struggle to make the weight, either.
There is something to be said for Garcia being able to allow his body to make the full weight in this bout.
Dan Ambrose of Boxing News 24 wrote that he “doubt[s] that Garcia will be dramatically improved just because he’s coming into the weigh-in a little heavier than previously,” and he may be right – he certainly has a point.
However, Danny’s trainer/father Angel Garcia spoke to Tha Boxing Voice’s Nestor Gibbs during their media workout, and he mentioned that ability had nothing to do with the comfort of 147 lbs.
“[Danny] had two battles. He was battling the scales, and he was battling the opponent. He made the weight, though; he never came over. That’s one thing about him; he was faithful to his weight. He’s a great athlete,” Angel Garcia said in a video published on Thaboxingvoice’s YouTube channel.
Angel spoke about Danny’s “faithfulness” to his weight, which some may debate with catch weight candor, but his point was that Danny was true to the agreed upon weight in every fight signed, even if he struggled to get there. Danny deserves credit for that, sadly, because in this era, and especially with Haymon fighters recently, these athletes aren’t always particularly worried about shedding those last few pounds.
So, when we consider the improvement Danny could make in this, his first official fight at 147 lbs., we can logically believe that a less drained version of Danny will be better through 12. If you think about it, Danny’s biggest issue is fading as the fight proceeds, which could be a direct result of his weight cut.
The other thing to consider is something that Angel mentioned in the interview about the time dedicated to cutting weight in camp. If Danny can prepare for a fight for longer without having to deplete himself, then he can fine-tune his skillset as it relates to his specific matchup.
“We [focused on cutting weight] the last three weeks of camp. We would start sacrificing on the 3rd week. He was sparring, too. Then, you would get guys in here that were hydrated. Guys that were coming in here at 154lbs, 155lbs eating lovely, and [Danny] was already weak dropping weight and he was still showing what he was made of.”
Will Danny be stronger? Will he have the better stamina? Will his fight plan be more precise? These are all questions that will be answered on August 1st. But all of these questions have been answered with one solution in the past, and if history is any indicator, then a less depleted fighter is an all-around better fighter.