It’s rare for a co-main event to garner as much attention in the build-up stage as the main event of a pay-per-view, especially one headlined by Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. This feat was achieved however with the match-up of junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 knockouts) versus fan-favorite slugger, Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 knockouts).
Ever since his knockout victory over Amir Khan, Danny Garcia has had to deal with constant criticism in regards to his legitimacy as the junior welterweight champion of the world. This match-up with Matthysse however was just what the fans wanted, and exactly what Garcia needed to solidify his standing as one of the sport’s best.
With the howl of the crowd behind him, Matthysse in the early rounds looked like the killer puncher that Garcia’s detractors had built him up as. With his dictating of the pace, early body shots, and relentless hooks it was easy to identify Matthysse as the winner of these early rounds. Although many took this early deficit as signs of Garcia being overwhelmed it proved to instead be Garcia being tentative.
With rounds four and five, Garcia reminded everyone that the secret to beating a slugger is to out-box him, and that’s exactly what he attempted to do with Matthysse. Although Matthysse is no slouch when it comes to technique, it’s easy to see that his losses have come against opponents who have kept him at a distance, while not allowing him to set up his devastating shots. As Garcia jabbed and hooked his way to finally winning some rounds, the fight had finally become the competitive scrap that people had expected in the build-up.
After a pair of rounds that saw Garcia finally close the early lead, Matthysse managed to snatch back the reigns of momentum with a six round combination that saw him batter Garcia with a series of jabs and vicious body shots. Just as things were once again looking up for Matthysse, Garcia managed to land a right hand that badly damages the Argentinian’s eye. With the eye rapidly swelling and closing, panic began to set in amongst the Matthysse corner, and Garcia began focusing his attack on the badly swollen eye.
To Matthysse’s credit he never gave up in his attempts to dethrone Garcia as the best junior welterweight in the world, but it was obvious that the damaged eye was hampering his odds at victory. With his right hand being the more powerful of the two, Matthysse’s best weapon was rendered useless thanks to the poor vision. Garcia only grew more and more confident as the swelling continued, but the fight was far from over.
With Garcia now firmly in control of the fight, Matthysse was growing more desperate in his attack. He continued with a jab and body shot combination that seemed to be winning him the eleventh round, but Garcia managed to knock him down against the ropes and only increasing the champion’s points lead.
Knowing that a knockout it the only means of victory, Matthysse came out especially aggressive in the final round as he attempted to dethroned Garcia by any means necessary. The two became involved in a concussive exchange of blows, but there was a brief pause in action thanks to a blatant low blow by Garcia. Even with the eventual point deduction by the referee, Garcia had already built up enough of a lead to not be affected.
Just as many had expected during the final moments of the bout, Garcia was awarded the unanimous decision victory on scores of (115-114), (114-112), and (114-112). It may not have been the violent finish that so many had expected in the lead-up to the bout, but it was a clear indicator that Garcia is one of the best and brightest young champions in the game today.