By Dan Ambrose: In a predictable fight, unbeaten #2 WBC, #4 WBA welterweight contender Danny Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs) will be matched up against the struggling light punching #6 WBC, #14 WBA Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) in a 12 round bout on January 23rd on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Deportes next year from the Staples Center in Los Angles, California.
A lot of boxing fans predicted this fight a long time ago, because both guys are with Al Haymon, and both of them are fighting in a division where they don’t really match-up well against the other fighters. It’s still a good watchable fight for fans. It’s just not quite as good a match-up as it could be if Garcia were put in with someone with punching power to hurt him.
Garcia, 27, hasn’t officially tasted defeat as of yet, but he’s arguably been beaten twice already in fights against Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson. Garcia doesn’t figure to have the talent to beat the better fighters at 147, which is probably why he’s being matched against Guerrero, who has lost 2 out of his last 4 fights.
Garcia is obviously being brought into this fight at the A-side in a similar type of fight as in his last bout against a past his best light hitting Paulie Malignaggi last August. You can exchange Malignaggi for Guerrero here and you have the same type of opponent for Garcia. He’s being spoon fed weaker punchers it would seem to keep his unbeaten record intact and in order for him to become a bigger star.
It’s unclear if Haymon is looking for one big cash out fight or if he believes that Garcia can make a career of being matched against this or that guy to keep him unbeaten. I think it’ll become impossible once Garcia picks up one of the welterweight titles. The only thing you can hope for then is if the sanctioning bodies rank weak opponents so that Guerrero can milk a title for two or three years like we recently saw with him at 140.
“This is a huge opportunity for me to show why I’m a star there’s no better place to do that than in Los Angeles, where stars are born,” Garcia said.
I’m not sure Garcia means by saying this is a huge opportunity for him. It looks more like a showcase fight for him rather than a competitive 50-50 fight where he would be in danger of losing. I think Garcia would lose to Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Marcos Maidana if he was still fighting, Tim Bradley, and Errol Spence. Those guys would seem to all have Garcia’s number. Amir Khan might as well if his chin could hold up from the occasional left hook that Garcia would bounce off of it.
Garcia is poised to fight for the WBC 147lb title against the likes of #1 WBC Amir Khan or #3 WBC Shawn Porter. Khan is the more beatable of the two fighters. However, I’m not sure that Khan will bother fighting for the title because that would be a risky thing for him and he’s got other options in perhaps fighting Manny Pacquiao next year or facing IBF champ Kell Brook. Porter could be facing WBA champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in early 2016.
With those two guys potentially off the table, it’ll put Garcia possibly in a rematch against #4 WBC Lamont Peterson, who Garcia struggled badly against last April in winning a very close fight.
Judging how poor the 33-year-old Guerrero has looked in his last four fights, he appears to be pretty much finished as a fighter as far as the 147lb division. He’s lost 2 out of his last 4 fights, and looked really poor in all of them in losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Keith Thurman. Guerrero beat Aaron Martinez by a controversial 10 round split decision last June after being knocked down in the 4th round of the contest. Last year, Guerrero had to go life and death to beat fringe contender Yoshihiro Kamegai by a 12 round decision. Guerrero said later that he could have made the fight easier if he had wanted to, but few boxing fans believed them.
Guerrero looked the exact same way in his subsequent fights against Thurman and Aaron Martinez. Guerrero really needs to move back down in weight to 140 or 135, because he doesn’t have the punching power at 147 to be a factor in the division. Lightweight would be Guerrero’s best shot at amounting to anything, but obviously the money isn’t as good for him as it would be if he stayed at welterweight and got fights like Danny Garcia. But at this point, Guerrero is turning into another Malignaggi in my view turns of him being pretty much done at this weight, and only capable of being the B-side opponent for bigger stars like Thurman, Mayweather and Garcia.
“If there ever was a fight that defined the word ‘war’, it’s this fight,” said Guerrero. “I guarantee this is going to be a historic fight. A Mexican-American vs. a Puerto Rican-American, it’s a bitter rivalry. Danny Garcia is a great champion and I know we’re going to put on a tremendous show.”
This probably won’t be a war unless Guerrero walks Garcia down and is ready to cut off the ring on him, and fight out of a clinch. If you look at how Garcia fought Lucas Matthysse in 2013, he threw a lot of low blows, held frequently and moved around the ring constantly. It was 12 rounds of spoiling tactics with a lot of fouls mixed in with Garcia’s low blows.
If Garcia goes back to that style of fighting, it won’t be a war. It’ll be an ugly and frustrating fight to watch for the boxing fans. Also, Garcia is now longer a world champion, so Guerrero needs to understand that. This is a welterweight contest, and the last time I checked, Garcia doesn’t hold a title in this weight class yet.
Garcia will obviously be winning this fight because he’s got the much better punching power, and he can always resort to clinching, moving and landing pot shots if things go badly for him. If Garcia doesn’t get a title shot off of a win over Guerrero, then look for him to fight Chris Algieri next. I can see that fight being made, because Algieri is in the same Malignaggi mold as Guerrero is at 147. In other words, no punching power to speak of, and not particularly fast of hand or foot.