By Jake Donovan
Despite threats to the contrary, Danny Garcia left Brooklyn the same way he arrived – unbeaten and still a unified titlist. The 25-year old successfully turned back the challenge of former two-division champ Zab Judah with a unanimous decsion Saturday evening at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
A deliberate pace in the first few rounds of their Showtime-televised main event eventually gave way to a potent two-fisted attack from Garcia, who had Judah badly hurt in rounds five and six. Judah’s fighting heart continued to shine through, scoring with left hands even when he was hurt, but left himself open one too many times as he took a beating in the second half of the fight.
Garcia kept the fight in his favor, fending off a mid-rounds rally by scoring a knockdown with a right hand midway through the eighth round. Judah quickly recovered, but his left eye began to resemble ground beef, evidence of Garcia’s ability to repeatedly score upstairs.
Judah was slow to get off of his stool in round nine, but refused to wilt. Garcia continued with the onslaught, but was forced to work in every exchange.
A dramatic turn of events came in the 10th round, when Judah gained a second wind in a big way while Garcia appeared to tire. Judah scored with straight shots upstairs, most of which were met with a slow, delayed reaction from Garcia.
The rally revitalized Judah, who came with a bounce in his step for the championship rounds. Garcia fought cautiously, working his jab as he attempted to avoid any more punishment.
The strategy miserably backfired, even with the aid of an unintentional timeout caused by Judah’s shoelace coming untied. Garcia gained a breather, but it was Judah who controlled the action in the final moments of the round, scoring with a left hand followed by a combination upstairs that rocked Garcia. Adding insult to injury was a cut atop Garcia’s scalp, caused by an accidental headbutt.
Another clash of heads came early in the final round, leaving Garcia with a cut along his forehead. The sight of his own blood wasn’t particularly troublesome, as he appeared comfortable in his role as boxer. Judah scored with left hands, but was momentarily frozen by a right hand from the defending champion. Garcia, seemingly ahead, sought a knockout finish, connecting with overhand rights and left hooks in the closing seconds of the bout.
Scores of 115-112, 114-112 and 116-111 were well deserved for Garcia, who improves to 26-0 (16KO). The win was his second straight in the Barclays Center, scoring a fourth round knockout in his rematch with Erik Morales last October in the building’s first ever boxing card.
Judah offered a brave showing, but falls short in his latest title bid. The former two-division champ falls to 42-8 (29KO) with the loss, with every defeat coming in title fights.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox