By Dan Ambrose: WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift’ Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) is talking tough for his title defense against recent Errol Spence Jr. victim Samuel Vargas ( 25-2-1, 13 KOs) for their fight this Saturday night on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
To listen to the 28-year-old Garcia talk, you would think that he’s facing a highly talented fighter instead of just a tune-up opponent selected for a showcase fight to make him look good and to give him a sure thing win on Saturday.
(Photo credit: Darryl Cobb/King’s Promotions/Premier Boxing Champions)
The 27-year-old Vargas was knocked out by Spence in the 4th round last year in April. Vargas has also been beaten by journeyman Pablo Munguia (21-11, 12 KOs) in 2013, and he never avenged that loss.
In the minds of a lot of boxing fans, Vargas is another Rod Salka for Danny Garcia to look good against. That’s unfortunate, because Garcia’s career was moving along so well in 2013 after his win over Lucas Matthysse. But instead of continuing to fight the highly respected fighters, Garcia has backed away completely from facing the best and instead has been getting arguably little more than spoon-fed opposition ever since in the last two years.
Garcia’s last five fights have come against these guys: Robert Guerrero, Paulie Malignaggi, Lamont Peterson, Rod Salka, and Mauricio Herrera. The positive news for boxing fans is that Garcia will finally be facing a good opponent in WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman on March 4th next year in a unification fight if he gets past Vargas on Saturday.
What’s not to know is whether Garcia will continue to face better opposition or not win or lose. If Garcia loses to Thurman, then it doesn’t matter if he chooses to continue to fight the Rod Salka’s of the boxing world, because he’ll no longer be a world champion.
If Garcia wants to let his career continue to implode by facing weak opposition, then it won’t matter, because he’ll no longer be the champion. Premier Boxing Champions will obviously continue to televise his fights, but it won’t have as much meaning if he’s not a champion.
Garcia said this about his mismatch against Samuel Vargas on Saturday night on Spike:
“I am just going in the ring and be myself. Seek and destroy,” said Garcia. “I am taking this one round at a time. I’m looking to be smart and break him down. When the opportunity comes, I’m taking it and putting on a show. I am not looking past this fight. I have tunnel vision and have never looked past anyone. I know he is coming to win, but I am ready mentally and physically to get the job done.”
Thurman will be working the Garcia-Vargas fight as a commentator for PBC. It should be interesting to hear his thoughts on the fight. Thurman didn’t look that great in his last fight against former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter last June. Thurman won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but the fight was very close. Thurman won by the scores 115-113, 115-113 and 115-113.
Porter could have won the fight if he had done better on the inside. He wasn’t able to generate a lot of power when in close. When there was distance between the fighters, Thurman landed the better shots.