Danny Garcia: The Perception of Control


By Cliff Rold, photo by Premier Boxing Champions

To a certain segment of the fan base, the perception of control is everything.

This has been a regularly disappointing year in boxing. Several big fights have fallen through or been delayed (with no guarantee they ever happen). The Heavyweight Champion of the World couldn’t hold himself together long enough to make a single title defense. Fans have been reduced to cheering in almost surprise when the end of the year premium cable slate came up with some good fights as if they don’t pay a monthly stipend in large part for that very thing.

Blame is always easy to pass around. Who gets blamed varies.

In the case of Danny Garcia, the now WBC welterweight titlist, blame for his choice of opponents often falls on him. He’s been savaged in certain corners of the social media echo chamber because of the Rod Salka fight, a battle with a faded Paulie Malignaggi and for a tune-up tomorrow night Samuel Vargas.

Here’s the rub: since his career defining win over Lucas Matthysse, have Garcia’s opponents really been that bad? Mauricio Herrera, Lamont Peterson, and Robert Guerrero were all solid opponents. The first two of those three arguably beat him. Guerrero gave a good account of himself.

And if Garcia defeats Vargas Saturday (Spike TV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST) as he is expected to, it sets up a unification bout his next time out with undefeated Keith Thurman. Based on television rating produced under the PBC banner, it is the biggest fight that can be made on their side of the street.

With that fight looming, complaints about a tune up sound like so much wasteful air. One or both parties before a big, tough fight taking a softer touch one fight out is as old as boxing itself.

True, today it’s more acute. When Julio Cesar Chavez took a soft touch, it was part of a five or six fight yearly plate. When Harry Greb did it, it was just in lieu of camp before he grabbed a drink; his whirlwind schedule was commensurate to the style attributed to his legend.

That excuse doesn’t fly today. If a proven talent is only going to fight every six-to-nine months, soft touches feel like an insult to some fans.

danny-garcia (10)_4

The insult intensifies if control is perceived.

In the case of Garcia, his is a team that is perceived to be calling their shots. His father, amusing to some in a laugh at and not with him sort of way, making public statements validating the perception doesn’t help. It’s not to say here that perception isn’t reality.

However, there is something to be said for the strength of narratives that form and their ability to weather comparison. Garcia has managed at least one world-class, if not prime elite, opponent per year since Matthysse. That’s, sadly, pretty much par for the course for almost all star fighters right now.

What makes Garcia so much worse an offender than others?

In his case, it’s because for many it creates the appearance that this is exactly as hard as he wants it. For a segment of the fan base, Al Haymon has replaced Don King as the cancer that is holding boxing back, no matter the myriad other examples of people protecting their home court. Garcia is a big part of the Haymon. There is also the idea that his connections were the difference in decisions against Herrera and Peterson.

Maybe those scraps explain it best. Fans don’t like a pretender. Those two fights, after a Matthysse fight that elevated his respect among fight fans, showed how beatable he is. His soft touches then aren’t just about whom he’s fighting but that he’s avoiding a comeuppance.

If Garcia isn’t good enough to beat Thurman, well, we’ll find out shortly. If he is, then he’s just another guy in this era underachieving from what his real potential might be with an infrequent fight schedule and inconsistent opposition.

That’s not really a Garcia problem. It’s a boxing problem in the 21st century.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by PR ESQ. on 11-12-2016

21st. Century game indeed. Swift should fill vacuum after Thurman to resurrect his career and systematically take out the division with fire for match ups, we all win with dope fights.

Comment by ruedboy on 11-12-2016

Garcia's signature win was Mattysse. After that win, it was about protecting the O and trolling for the big one, Floyd Mayweather. We understand it, we can see how the game is played that way, but we don't have to…

Comment by AdonisCreed on 11-12-2016

I wanna see Danny Garcia vs Terrance Crawford all that trash talk got my attention lol If he beats Thurman and Crawford back to back that would be a career defining moment

Comment by Metho_4u on 11-12-2016

Absolutely he MOST pathetic champion possibly in history. I'll bet he ducks Thurman too...GayLoveKin is the next worst champ fighting WW's and cab drivers.

Comment by Lou Cipher on 11-12-2016

Lol Lou Cipher approves

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (22)
Top Headlines Jarrett Hurd Turns Back on Lara Rematch, Wants Kell Brook Next The Unfortunate Reality of Canelo-GGG Rematch Negotiations Luis Ortiz Waiting For WBC To Make Ruling on Whyte Fight Linares: I Did Not Quit With Lomachenko, I'd Like a Rematch Photos: Ramirez-Mendez, Nyambayar-Escandon - PBC Weigh-In Evens Pierre Knocks Francisco Contreras Out in Seventh De La Hoya Smiles at Golovkin: Good Luck With Derevyanchenko! Photos: Ancajas vs. Sultan, Yafai vs. Carmona - Ready For War Artur Szpilka Drops, Dominates Dominick Guinn Over Ten Rounds Miguel Cotto Helping Polish The Skills of Angel Acosta Izu Ugonoh Returns, Stops Fred Kassi in Three Rounds Photos: David Lemieux Looks Depleted at Weigh-In For Achour Mazion vs. Pauldo - Golden Boy on ESPN Co-Main Set, June 8 Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter Deal Reached For WBC Title Berchelt vs. Barros Finalized For Merida, To Be Carried By ESPN+ David Lemieux Fails To Make Weight, Move To 168 is Eyed Luis Nery: I'll Prove I'm The Best at 118, I Want My Title Back Joshua, Hearn Stand Firm: Wilder Fight Must Be in The UK News: Tyson Fury's Return, Bare Knuckle Boxing, James Beech Epic Sports CEO on Securing Whyte-Pulev, Signing Fighters, More Inoue Confirms He’ll Compete in WBSS Bantamweight Tournament Brendan Ingle, Dean Francis Pass Away: Boxing World Mourns Tony Bellew "100%" Interested In Fighting Oleksandr Usyk Inoue Blows Out McDonnell in 1st Round to Win Bantamweight Title Trout: I'm Going To Derail Charlo-Hurd, Get Rematch With Hurd! Shiro Knocks Out Lopez With Body Shot in 2nd Round of Rematch Warren: Tyson Fury Will Avoid Comeback Mistakes of Haye Kal Yafai is Keen To Make a Statement in American Debut Frank Bruno Backing Dan Azeez To Go Far in Boxing Haye: Joe Joyce Would Take Jarrell Miller and Dillian Whyte Apart Demecillo Knocks Out Moya, Wenceslao Destroys Tinampay Wilder: Trump is Huge Boxing Fan, Wants a KO in My Next Fight Warrington: I Was Doubted at Every Level, Now I'm Champion Regis Prograis: I Knew Jose Ramirez Wasn't Going to Fight Me Buboy Denies Chatter That Pacquiao is Burning Out in Camp Omar Chavez Targets Hector Camacho Jr. For August Clash De La Hoya: Golovkin is Afraid of Canelo - We're Moving On! Photos: Ancajas vs. Sultan, Yafai vs. Carmona - Final Presser Joseph Diaz Will Return Even Stronger, Says Manager Denis Shafikov vs. Hector Suarez Tops Hollywood Fight Nights

Latest Active Forum Threads