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Danny Garcia: Is He an Elite Welterweight?

Image: Danny Garcia: Is He an Elite Welterweight?By Matthew J. Hunter: Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 Ko’s) won an unanimous decision against veteran Robert Guerrero in Staples Center, Los Angeles. The former unified light welterweight champion has now become a two-weight division champion, and instantly the question of who is the next heir to Mayweather heated up across the boxing community.

His accolades and resume at 140lbs. does play a factor into this question, but not as much as most fans like to believe. Coming up a weight division does change a boxer, and it’s almost impossible to objectively judge opponents on a resume across divisions. However with wins against Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, and Amir Khan, it is now possible to start discussing Garcia with the likes of more established welterweights.

Most fans place Garcia in the top 5-10 at welterweight, and a nice new shiny WBC strap helps that argument. The other welterweights who deserve mention alongside Garcia are Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook, Shawn Porter, and Kahn. ranks all of those boxers ahead of Garcia respectively.

Pacquiao and Bradley are in a peculiar situation as they are both veterans with deeper resumes then any other welterweight. However they are both scheduled to fight each other, and are across the promotional divide from the other top 7 welterweights. The likelihood of fans knowing how those two match up with Garcia, Thurman, and Porter etc. is highly improbable.

Even with Garcia’s wins over credible opponents Lucas Matthysee, Mauricio Herrera, and Lamont Peterson, it’s hard to place Garcia over any of those aforementioned welterweights above due to those boxers not being welterweights. Garcia’s role at light welterweight was more solidified due to beating opponents in the rankings. Garcia beat two opponents in the top 15 according to Thaboxingvoice, Khan and Guerrero.

The Khan win, while perhaps a career defining emphatic win, was almost 4 years ago. Khan is 5-0 since that fight after switching trainers to Virgil Hunter. The question of his chin is always there, but as stated earlier, Garcia may not be the same boxer since moving up. While he did finish Malignaggi via TKO and land numerous hard shots on Guerrero, they both never seemed to be hurt significantly. Guerrero was hit hard but never shaken. Garcia does have power in his punches, but the seemingly KO power he had at light welterweight doesn’t seem to have translated to welterweight.

Both Thurman and Garcia are seen as undefeated young boxers who have tons of potential to be a superstar and now they both beat a name opponent, Guerrero. Garcia and Thurman struggled at times versus Guerrero. If either won more convincingly it would be easier to determine which is the better between the two.

Is Garcia an elite welterweight? Yes without a doubt. However, Garcia still has technical flaws and issues with boxing IQ that make him beatable against higher ranked opponents. He is naturally a counter-boxer, but he can be so inactive at times that opponents can steal rounds from him. That’s why Guerrero, Peterson, and Herrera were able to win in some fans and pundits opinions. When he is pressured he stops moving his head, and often has his lead hand down by his waist. Both lead to him being hittable if an opponent is able to pressure and throw volume against Garcia. Accurate punchers like Thurman, Brook, Bradley, and Khan, will find a stationary target in long lulls during a potential fight. High volume and pressure boxers such as Pacquiao and Porter may overwhelm the cautious Garcia. Garcia is an elite welterweight; the win against Guerrero proves that, but the jury is still out on whether he can be the heir to Mayweather.

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