Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados on April 20 on FOX
By Dan Ambrose: Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) will be fighting on April 20 against Adrian Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs) on FOX, and Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) faces Avni Yildirim on FS1 on February 23.
This is a must win situation for Garcia. He’s got to win, look good and show that he still belongs with the elite in the welterweight division. On paper, Garcia wins this fight 10 out of 10 times, but you can’t dismiss Granados’ chances of winning due to his strong will to win. Granados gave Shawn Porter all he could handle last year in November in losing a 12 round decision. Porter got the win by the scores 117-111, 117-111 and 117-111, but he knew he’d been in a fight.
Garcia, 30, has lost two out of his last three fights since last year in defeats at the hands of Shawn Porter and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Garcia’s losses were close ones, but he still came up short in both of the matches. At this point in Garcia’s career, he needs a clear win over a credible opponent. Granados, 29, isn’t viewed as an elite welterweight, but he’s someone that is good enough to give Garcia a good test to show off his boxing skills. Garcia needs to show that he’s a level above the fringe level fighters like Granados in the welterweight division
Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados
Garcia, will be fighting a tough opponent in Granados at a still to be determined venue. The fight card starts at 8pm ET on FOX. Garcia lost his last fight to Shawn Porter by a 12 round unanimous decision in a battle for the vacant WBC welterweight title last September. Garcia tried his best, but Porter was relentless with his pressure. In the end, Garcia couldn’t keep up with the fast pace of the fight, and he ended up taking his second loss.
In the last four years, Granados has lost four times in defeats against Adrien Broner, Brad Solomon, Felix Diaz and Shawn Porter. Grandos gave all four of those fighters all kinds of problems. Those were all close decision losses for Granados. He deserved the victory over Broner last year, but came up empty in fighting in Adrien’s hometown of Cincinnati.
Anthony Dirrell vs. Avni Yildirim
Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) will be fighting Yildirim (21-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Council World Super Middleweight Title on February 23 on FS1 at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dirrell-Yildirim card starts at 10 pm ET.
Dirrell, 34, and Yildirim will be fighting for the WBC 168 lb title recently stripped from champion David Benavidez following his positive test for cocaine on September 17.
This is a fight that is Dirrell’s to win. He’s facing a guy that is well below his talent level in 27-year-old Yildirim. It’s not that Yildirim isn’t a good fighter. It’s more of a case of him lacking the hand speed and athleticism to get the job done. Yildirim does hit hard, but he’s easy to hit and he hasn’t shown the type of ability that would make one believe that he’s capable of beating a fighter in Dirrell’s class. This will be Dirrell’s chance to become a 2-time WBC super middleweight champion. He previously held the WBC 168 lb belt from 2014 to 2015. Dirrell lost the belt to Badou Jack in 2015 in getting beaten by a 12 round majority decision. Jack’s pressure, body punching and power was a little much for Dirrell in that fight. If Dirrell had been able to stand his ground, he would have had a better chance of getting the victory, but he was backing up the entire night.
Yildirim was stopped in the 3rd round by IBO 168 lb champion Chris Eubank Jr. last year in October 2017 in the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament in Stuttgart, Germany. Eubank Jr. made it look so easy in beating Yildirim. It wasn’t competitive at all. Dirrell is capable of doing the same thing to Yildirim if he goes after him early with combinations. Yildirim has won his last five fights since his loss to Eubank Jr. Yildirim’s most impressive win in the last year was a 12 round decision win over Lolenga Mock.
Shawn Porter vs. Yordenis Ugas
Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) defends against Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) in a potentially tough voluntary defense on March 9 on Fox at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The start time is at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. This is a tough fight for Porter to be taking for a voluntary defense, a Ugas is highly skilled fighter from a great amateur background in Cuba. This is no sure thing fight for Porter. He’s going to need to bring his A-game if he wants to beat Ugas and hold onto his WBC title for the bigger fights in the division. Porter wants fights against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Keith Thurman. Those are all make-able fights for Porter as long as he keeps winning.
Ugas had the chance to fight Spence as his IBF mandatory, but he decided to go in another direction for a quicker title shot against Porter. It’s also a fight that Ugas at least has a chance to win. If he fought Spence, he would be at the mercy of his size, punching power and immense talent. Ugas is a good fighter, but he’s not shown the type of ability that would enable him to beat a fighter in Spence’s class. Ugas suffered several losses earlier in his career before he made adjustments to his game. Ugas,29, has improved steadily in the last four years, and he now looks like a guy that is almost unstoppable. He’s clearly a top five guy right now, and he’s got the power and the ability to pull off an upset on March 9 if Porter isn’t at his best. Porter knows better than to let his foot off the gas at this stage in his career.
Porter has won five out of his last seven fights since 2014. He lost to Kell Brook by a 12 round majority decision in 2014 in a fight that he should have won if the referee and judges had given him a break. Brook used the punch and grab style to spoil his way to a win, and the referee turned a blind eye to all the holding he was doing in the fight.