LAS VEGAS - In what is being called its own main event, the Unified Super Lightweight World Championship mega-fight between Danny "Swift" Garcia and Lucas "The Machine" Matthysse has boxing fans and media scratching their heads. The task of choosing between Matthysse's power and Garcia's boxing IQ has proven to be a difficult one, even for the most knowledgeable boxing enthusiasts. While Matthysse has a slight edge amongst the sweet science experts listed below, this potential 'Fight of the Year' candidate could certainly go either way.
One thing is for sure, when these two warriors step into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Saturdaynight live on SHOWTIME PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), they are going to get the crowd out of their seats and ready for the Mayweather vs. Canelo main event super fight.
How the media and the boxers see Garcia vs. Matthysse:
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press, (Garcia): "Danny Garcia doesn't get enough credit for his ring skills, but maybe now he will. I think he boxes circles around Matthysse and gives him a beating in the late rounds. This will be a coming out party on a big stage for Garcia.''
Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review-Journal, (Garcia): "In a tough call, I'm picking Garcia by split decision. This could be the 'Fight of the Year'; two great warriors who don't know the meaning of the word quit. But in the end, Garcia will do just enough to hold off Matthysse and get the decision.''
Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times, (Matthysse): "Matthysse has done more in his recent fights to impress than Garcia, who has caught Amir Khan with a punch, and then beaten faded veterans Erik Morales and Zab Judah. Garcia is not a good enough boxer to escape the power punching of Matthysse, and I'd expect a stoppage by the Argentine in the middle rounds.''
Kevin Iole, Yahoo, (Garcia): "The hype behind Matthysse is massive, and understandable given his punching power. Garcia is a good boxer who hits hard, too. He's a better boxer and I think that makes the difference in an excellent fight. Garcia wins a 12-round decision.''
Bob Velin, USA TODAY, (Garcia): "Matthysse is not unbeatable, as many think. Garcia is the better boxer, and is very good at adjusting in the ring. If Matthysse is able to connect with one of his power shots, he could put Garcia away. I see Garcia fighting on the outside, avoiding the big hit and just barely outworking Matthysse to win a split decision.''
Gordon Marino, Wall Street Journal, (Matthysse): "Matthysse in a 6th round knockout. Danny is going to trade with him, but Lucas just hits too hard.''
Matt Breen, The Philadelphia Inquirer, (Garcia): "It's Garcia's chance to take his career to another level and he won't let it slip. His speed will keep Matthysse off balance and eventually open him up for that big left hook. If the Judah fight taught him anything, it was that he has to defend. Garcia by KO in 10.''
Lyle Fitzsimmons, CBSSports.com, (Garcia): "When Matthysse hammered Peterson as Danny sat ringside, I was sure that moment that the same fate awaited Garcia. But the more time that's passed, the more I'm thinking Garcia has the skill set -- or at the very least the toughness -- to withstand an early storm and perhaps ask a few questions of Lucas that no one has. Garcia wins a unanimous 12-round decision.''
George Willis, New York Post, (Garcia): "This is a big moment for Garcia to validate his title and make his mark as one of best pound-for-pound [fighters]. Yes, he has to avoid the big punch. But I think he has the skills to do so and the power to finish late in the fight. I like Garcia by eleventh-round TKO.''
Ron Lewis, The Times Of London, (Matthysse): "Garcia's chance lies in being able to survive the early onslaught by Matthysse. He showed when he fought Amir Khan that he can take a bit of stick and come back. However, Matthysse's power seems to be at a different level and I can see him winning by stoppage before halfway.''
Mark Whicker, Orange County Register, (Garcia): "Garcia takes a decision because he's skilled enough to avoid taking the big shot.''
Robert Morales, Los Angeles News Group, (Matthysse): "Matthysse by TKO, somewhere after the sixth round of what I believe will be a brutal fight. Garcia is very tough, but I don't think he's been hit the way Matthysse is going to hit him.''
Doug Fischer, The RING Magazine, (Matthysse): "Danny Garcia is a worthy 140-pound champ, but I think he's met his match in Lucas Matthysse. Matthysse is not only the harder hitter, but also the more composed and technically sound of the two boxer-punchers. I think they'll go at it on even terms and give the fans a show in the early rounds of the fight, but by the fifth or sixth rounds, Garcia's face will be hammered and bloody by a series of right hands. I think his father will keep him on his stool before the fight goes too deep. Matthysse wins by mid-to-late TKO.''
Mike Rosenthal, Ring Online, (Matthysse): "I hate to pick against Garcia, who punches hard and finds ways to win fights. I've been burned by him before. However, Matthysse punches at least as hard as Garcia and is probably a better boxer. Also, the fact Garcia struggled late in his fight with Zab Judah shows some vulnerability. I see Matthysse getting the better of spirited exchanges until the Argentine finally scores a late knockout. Matthysse wins by KO 10.''
Keith Idec, The Record, New Jersey/BoxingScene.com, (Matthysse): "It'll be interesting to see how Matthysse takes Garcia's trademark left hook in what could be a more competitive fight than some anticipate. Ultimately, though, Garcia's courage and tendency to get caught clean in exchanges will cost him against such a huge puncher. Matthysse by TKO 9."
Matthew Aguilar, El Paso Times, (Garcia): "As usual, Matthysse will storm out of his corner and try and land his bombs early. The sheer intensity of his attack will be enough to keep Garcia on the defensive through the early rounds. But he'll stay away from the corners and the ropes, calmly using his jab and boxing skills. By round six, Matthysse will be tired, having expected to end it by then. Garcia will then go on the attack and hurt Matthysse down the stretch. Garcia will hang on for a split decision victory.''
Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register, (Matthysse): "I expect both fighters' chins to get tested in this fight. The biggest question is can Garcia do enough to slow Matthysse down? I don't think so. Matthysse's power and his relentless attack will wear down Garcia in the later rounds for the stoppage victory.''
Leighton Ginn, Palm Springs, Calif., Desert Sun (Matthysse): "Lucas Matthysse is a beast and he sought out the best in training when he sparred with Timothy Bradley. Garcia is a great fighter with a lot of smarts, but Matthysse is a better defender and smarter fighter than people give him credit for. And with that power? Lights out. Matthysse by eighth round KO.''
Lem Satterfield, Ring Online, (Garcia): "Danny Garcia has enough of a chin and enough youth and power to make Lucas Matthysse respect him. He also has enough boxing foundation to fight from a distance when required in order to eke out a split-decision.''
Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN.com, (Matthysse): "This is no disrespect to Garcia, but styles make fights, and Garcia comes to fight. That will be his undoing, as he will be there to be hit, and will ultimately prove unable to hold off the relentless Argentine. But he'll land some telling blows of his own in the fight of the night Matthysse by fifth round KO.''
Norm Frauenheim, The Ring/15rounds.com, (Matthysse): "Lucas Matthysse by KO. Only the knockout is a lock. Danny Garcia's power, smarts and tenacity surprised Amir Khan, but he can be hit and it'll only take one from Matthysse.''
Grant Gordon, Glendale News-Press/Los Angeles Times Community News, (Garcia): "Garcia and Matthysse won't be the biggest fight of the night, but they'll put on the best. Matthysse will have his spots, landing the biggest shots, but Garcia will ultimately take the bout via tight decision, showcasing a sturdy chin and a more active and accurate attack."
Jake Donovan, Boxing Scene, (Garcia): "I think people are severely understimating Garcia's chances, and overestimating Matthysse as some sort of gloved terrorist. Garcia doesn't do anything great but does everything well. I see him surviving Matthysse's most vicious moments to take a clear decision win.''
Anson Wainwright, Ring Online/MaxBoxing, (Matthysse): "This fight could headline in its right. Matthysse comes back after an absolute monster performance over Lamont Peterson -- nobody does that to Peterson. While Garcia looked good early before struggling late against Zab Judah. Garcia has had his struggles in the first Morales fight, early in the Khan fight and then late against Judah, but he finds a way to win. That said, if he's in harm's way against "The Machine," he's in big trouble. Matthysse is a one of boxing's biggest punchers. I think Garcia is good enough to stay away from Matthysse for the early going and wouldn't be surprised to see Garcia walk Matthysse onto a left hook to end matters. However I think Matthysse's form of late is scintillating and he'll be the one who ends up victorious, catching up to the Philadelphia native in the mid-rounds.''
Alan Massengale, RingTV.COM columnist, (Matthysse): "[This fight is] one of the most explosive and intriguing matchups in quite a while. Both fighters are at the peak of their careers. Don't be surprised if both hit the canvas at some point. Flip a coin. I did -- Matthyssee in late round KO."
Ralph Gonzalez, The Sweet Science, (Matthysse): "Danny Garcia gets hit too much and Lucas Matthysse is a great puncher with impeccable timing. Although we can't discount Garcia's punching power and heart, I think the Argentina native wins by TKO in a great fight.''
Eduard Cauich, HOY Los Angeles, (Matthysse): "This is a very unpredictable fight. Danny Garcia will show his skills, but he is going to get caught by Matthysse. Garcia will go down and the Argentine will finish the fight between rounds 6-8.''
Michael Marley, Examiner.com, (Garcia): "What makes Argentinians such strong men? Do they swallow rocks and boulders when they are tiny tots or what? Garcia and Matthysse will exchange knockdowns, but when the war has ended, more gifted Danny Boy is the unanimous decision victor.''
Mike Coppinger, USA Today, (Matthysse):"I what should be a 'Fight of the Year' candidate, I see Matthysse coming out on top in a firefight. Both guys are heavy-handed, but Matthysse is the bigger puncher and should get the better of Garcia in exchanges.''
Geno McGahee, RingsideReport.com, (Matthysse): "Garcia will be courageous but defensive flaws will hurt him immensely against Matthysse. It should be fun for a couple of rounds, but Garcia doesn't have the style to overcome Matthysse. Garcia has been hurt by Judah and Morales. If and when Matthysse lands, it will most likely be over. Matthysse wins by KO in the third round.''
John DiSanto, PhillyBoxingHistory.com, (Garcia): "Poised to steal the big show, Garcia and Matthysse should go to war shortly after the first bell rings. Matthysse seems to be the general pick, but I believe that Garcia will defend his crown with an upset stoppage, proving he's tougher and better than anyone expected.''
Ramon Aranda, 3MoreRounds.com, (Matthysse): "This is one of the few must-see fights of 2013, and will be a treat for fans. Garcia has more technique, but is willing to get hit and has engaged in toe-to-toe action with recent opponents. That, however, will play into Matthysse's style. Matthysse is one of the hardest hitters in the game and will struggle in the early going as he attempts to get Garcia to trade with him. Once he closes in, a series of well-timed hooks may finally get to Garcia in a late KO for Matthysse.''
Giancarlo Oquendo, Puerto Rico Sports News, (Garcia): "I think Matthysse's power is out of this world, but many people are underestimating Garcia's power. Garcia also has boxing and strength, which will be a factor. If Garcia manages to play good defense, he can win after the first half of the fight.''
Jerry Hoffman, ESPN Radio Central Coast, (Matthysse): "Lucas Matthysse punches too hard for Danny Garcia. He's been underappreciated throughout his career and will now get the stage to shine. I see a Matthysse KO victory, probably late in the fight.''
Benny Henderson Jr., Boxingtalk.com, (Garcia): "This has entertaining throw down written all over it. Two guys who can slug it out, and undoubtedly will. Matthysse will have to use his power and body work to slow down Garcia. If not, I believe the left hand will be the key punch for Danny. Look for a late stoppage. Garcia by ninth round TKO.''
William Trillo, Pound4Pound.com, (Matthysse): "The chances of Garcia throwing a monkey wrench into "The Machine" are slim and none. Once Garcia gets a taste of Matthysse's power he will be looking for a quick way out. Lucas will be glad to help him out by sending him to the canvas early and often. Matthysse by KO in five or less.
Chris Arreola, Heavyweight Contender (Garcia): "Garcia has too good of boxing skills. His amateur career was crazy good. Matthysse has the power to catch him, but Danny's not going to stand in front of him and just be there to be hit.''
Gary Russell, Jr., Undefeated World-Ranked Featherweight (Matthysse): "I feel like Matthysse is the stronger and more talented fighter. I think Danny is under-gunned in this fight. ''
Rau'shee Warren, Three-time U.S. Olympian and Bantamweight Prospect, (Garcia): "I'm going with Danny because we are friends from the amateurs. We traveled together and Danny's a great fighter. It's going to be a hell of a fight; that's the fight right there. Matthysse is a very strong fighter; we've seen that in all of his recent fights. People always talk about his power, but Danny has power too. Whoever is able to take the better punch will win the fight.''
Marcus Browne, 2012 U.S. Olympian and Light Heavyweight Prospect, (Garcia): "I want Garcia to win because he's the type of person you root for. Although a lot of people are leaning towards Matthysse because of his punching power, I'm going with Danny.''