By Gilbert Manzano
CARSON, Calif. — Danny Garcia made a statement on Saturday by doing something 28 boxers couldn’t do against the brawling Adrian Granados.
Garcia regained the welterweight spotlight by stopping Granados in seven rounds during the main event of the PBC on FOX card at Dignity Health Sports Park. It was Granados’ first knockout defeat.
The fighter known as “Swift” turned back the clock in the second round when he dropped Granados with a devastating left hook that was reminiscent of his knockout punch against Amir Khan in 2012. Garcia dropped Granados a second time in the round with a booming right hand, similar to the one he delivered versus Brandon Rios last year. A third knockdown came in the fifth round.
Referee Thomas Taylor stopped the one-sided affair at the 1:33 mark of the seventh round.
In the first round, Garcia landed a thunderous left hook to draw a reaction from the crowd. Garcia got tagged a few times in the opening round, but he set the tone early with his power shot.
"I’ve said it before, when Danny Garcia is at his best, nobody can beat him,” said Garcia, who improved his record to 35-2 with 21 knockouts. “I had gotten a little comfortable in the past, but I put my 110 percent into this fight, and when I do, I beat everyone.”
Garcia became agitated earlier this month when Granados called him just another opponent. The former two-division champion proved that he was a lot more with the dominant win.
Now, Garcia wants to return to fighting the best at welterweight. He called out future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao, who’s in need of an opponent.
"I hope I didn’t scare Manny Pacquiao away,” Garcia said. “I’d love a rematch with Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman, or a fight with Errol Spence Jr. I'm back."
Garcia made a name for himself at junior welterweight with signature wins against Erik Morales, Khan, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, an impressive resume that put Garcia on many pundits’ top 10 pound-for-pound lists. But at welterweight, the Philadelphia native has had his struggles since moving up in 2015.
In his biggest fights at welterweight, Garcia fell to Thurman and Porter. With Saturday’s victory, Garcia shouldn’t be far off from receiving another title shot.
"We worked harder and worked smarter in training camp,” Garcia said earlier this week. “My body is bigger and stronger now. I've grown into a true welterweight. I feel great.”
Garcia, who fought in Southern California for the first time since capturing the vacant WBC welterweight title over Robert Guerrero in 2016, said this week he would consider a fight with Terence Crawford, a non-PBC fighter residing with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.
The bout would be difficult to make, but with Garcia potentially being left out of the PBC welterweight mix, his adviser Al Haymon might be open to it if the money is right. There are reports of Thurman meeting Pacquiao in July and Porter facing Spence in September.
The 147-pound division is arguably the most competitive in boxing right now. With Garcia’s dominant performance on Saturday, he’ll have plenty of options for his next bout.
As for Granados, this might have been his final opportunity at proving he’s more than a gatekeeper. The Chicago native now has notable losses to Garcia, Porter and Adrien Broner.
"I had to make a statement and knock him out,” Garcia said. “I had to be the first man who stops him and I got it done.”